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Lifesearch and ABI in spat over stats

Lifesearch has criticised claims by Association of British Insurers head of protection Nick Kirwan that publishing critical-illness claim statistics may have done more harm than good to the industry.

In an email to the ABI, life offices and reinsurers, Lifesearch head of protection strategy Kevin Carr says: “The ABI recently stated that if it could turn back the clock so that the stats had never been published, it probably would. We are hugely disappointed by this stance.”

Lifesearch managing director Tom Baigrie hit out at the ABI at the Lifesearch awards last week when he said: “The ABI thinks we are wrong but it is wrong.”

Kirwan says his comments, made at an industry event, were taken out of context. He says he does not regret publishing claim statistics but believes the industry should honestly critique the impact it has had before releasing statistics for income protection.

He says the one-in-five ratio of declined claims did not get across the right message because it implied that 20 per cent of claims were declined unfairly when this figure included fraudulent claims. He says the ABI is looking to publish aggregate claims statistics in a bid togive a more accurate picture.

Kirwan says: “The indus-try needs to look back honestly because if we had planned it better, we might have been able to get the two steps forward without the one step back.”

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