Protection Review chief executive Kevin Carr looks at recent market events
Should we pay more claims?
According to The Syndicate 2018
research, the public have fairly low expectations that insurers will
pay claims. However, many people strongly believe that more claims should be paid, sometimes even in the event of non-disclosure.
Some 80 per cent of respondents felt accidental life insurance claims should be paid in full, even when someone who claimed to be a non-smoker was subsequently found to be a lifelong smoker. The proportion expecting the claim to be paid fell to 58 per cent if the death was caused by a heart attack, but even when the death was attributable to lung cancer, there was still an expectation among 40 per cent of respondents that claims should be settled.
Jo Miller of The Syndicate says: “This is the first time we have asked consumers directly for their views on whether claims should be paid in different situations and the results offer us a valuable insight in the way people regard their policy as a legal contract. For many respondents, the fact that premiums had been paid meant there was a sense of entitlement for claims to be settled, even if based on non-disclosure, which shows a clear expectation that insurers will investigate at the outset, rather than at claim stage.”
Aviva updates relevant life product
Following discussions with HMRC, Aviva has updated its Relevant Life product, dropping the existing critical illness cover option and replacing it with ‘employee significant illness cover’.
In addition to life cover, the new product includes cover for a range of illnesses including advanced cancer, kidney or liver failure, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke.
Aviva had originally surprised the market back in 2016 when it launched relevant life with critical illness cover and has now sought to remove any confusion in the market.
Cover is less comprehensive than before, although we understand existing policies will stay unaffected. It still comes with tax relief but lacks some of the typical areas associated with modern CI policies, such as partial payments.
Calls for tax rises to boost NHS
A group of MPs have urged the Government to impose tax rises to fund the UK’s health and social care system. The list of signatories who are calling for a parliamentary commission to consider the option include 21 select committee chairs.
In total, 98 signatories warned that the NHS, public health and social care systems are ‘overstretched, poorly integrated and no longer able to keep pace with rising demand and the cost pressures of new drugs and technologies’.
Also on the radar
- Aegon has published claims data that shows a total £120.6m worth of protection claims were paid to more than 1,400 families and businesses in 2017. The insurer paid 94 per cent of critical illness claims, with the average amount paid standing at £86,037.
- Neil McCarthy has joined the Income Protection Task Force Executive Committee. The sales and marketing director at Direct Life and Pension Services says: “Having attended and taken a keen interest in IPTF meetings for the past decade, it’s great to help take the group forward. The existing team have worked hard over the years to promote the value of income protection and I’m especially keen to look at ways we can work with intermediaries to give them better tools to promote IP.”
- Cancer Research UK has found that more than 2,500 cancer cases a week could be avoided in the UK through lifestyle changes. The findings, published in the British Journal of Cancer, show more than 135,000 cancer cases could be prevented each year by simple changes such as stopping smoking, maintaining a sensible weight, healthy eating and drinking less alcohol.