ProtectionMay 3 2013

Friends Life pledges to lobby for IP data consistency

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ByDaniel Liberto

After weathering criticism for being the only holdout provider when it came to publishing income protection claims figures, Friends Life has finally released its data but says it still has reservations about the ABI template.

While it gave in to demands to provide claims data for 2012, the insurer said it is not convinced by the current template and has warned consumers not to compare data being released by different providers.

“We will continue to lobby for consistency and a more established consensus, but in the meantime have also decided to use this opportunity to produce our annual data,” a Friends Life spokesperson said.

“However, what can be misleading is if you provide the data as like for like. We want consumers to know and be careful because there is not a consistent basis for this,” he said. “We are giving the data in their [the ABI’s] format in the best way that we can purely because we feel we have to give that information.”

Other providers published their IP claims data earlier in the year, with the majority also voicing concerns over the lack of consistency.

In response to criticism of its current process, last month Money Management reported that the ABI is currently working on improving the consistency of its template, which it plans to announce soon.

Friends Life has attributed its delay in providing claims data to its efforts to liaise with the ABI and said a resolution has yet to be met.

“As it stands there is still some work to do. It took longer because we were liaising with the ABI and weren’t happy with the inconsistent template,” said the spokesperson.“A resolution hasn’t been reached, but we are certainly trying to get there.”

Friends Life paid out 87 per cent of all new income protection claims in 2012, having received 497 claims. Of these, 45 (9 per cent) were declined because the medical definition was not met, while 18 (4 per cent) were declined due to non-disclosure.