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Disparity in underwriting brings HIV test confusion

HIV-testing requirements for protection insurance differ widely across the industry and are causing confusion, warns Compass Independent Financial Adviser director Chris Morgan.

Morgan, who is a member of the ABI focus group on HIV, says he has seen a shift in underwriting for gay men in recent months and believes there is “a lot of speculative underwriting going on”.

He says Scottish Widows wanted an HIV test for a gay male client applying for mortgage protection and says he was told by the firm it was because the client was born in Canada, seen as a high-risk HIV area.

Widows denies it has a residency policy and says it takes each case on individual merit.

Aegon requires HIV testing for all gay men seeking protection insurance. Abbey for Intermediaries asks for a test according to answers to key questions.

Morgan says: “There is obviously some confusion going on. There is disparity across the board, making it all the more important for advisers to investigate criteria. This is exactly the type of thing the working group will be looking at.”

Over the last 12 months, Morgan, who runs the website pink-finance.com, has contributed to the new best practice guidelines on HIV and insurance.

He says: “I have committed myself to the project for the next three years with the aim of helping the insurance industry to understand the changing sexual attitudes in society.”

Compass will shortly be leaving network Sesame to become directly regulated. Morgan says: “There are sizeable benefits to direct regulation. The FSA will help us to streamline our processes and help to focus on the necessary elements of business. We will continue our work as usual for the gay community.”

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As the Pensions Regulator starts to bare its teeth and the changes mentioned in the Budget and Queen’s Speech start to come into force, it is essential that you understand your scheme and the processes you need to undertake to ensure it remains compliant. Our second re-enrolment guide looks at how to audit the key areas of your auto-enrolment scheme.

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