Jeff Prestridge  

Protection’s public image

Jeff Prestridge

Jeff Prestridge

For 2019 data, insurers should provide the percentage of claims paid, split by product type – life, critical illness and income replacement. This should be supported by figures for the number of claims made and the amount paid out. Declined claims should be categorised according to reason (for example, non-disclosure of key medical facts). All data should be published no later than the end of March.

I would like to see a fifth point added – a duty on all providers to publish data, irrespective of whether they are still selling cover. This could come from the Association of British Insurers or the Financial Conduct Authority.

If this happened, comparative claims tables could then be published on the ABI or FCA websites, enabling advisers and consumers to get an idea of insurers’ claim-friendliness.

Grander plans are envisaged under stage two of the charter – although they are very much wishes and hopes rather than givens.

The groups believe the way forward is for financial protection insurers to be far more transparent in their dealings with customers.

So they would like to see data published on the average time it takes to pay a claim, as well the percentage of claimants who received more than money (for example counselling or access to a second medical opinion).

They would also like to see data brought to life with examples of real-life cases where claims were accepted, rejected or resulted in additional support.

They would also like to see data on the percentage of applicants insurers refuse to issue cover to – as well as the percentage of policies set up where the premiums are loaded.

This claims statistics charter is brave and bold. No doubt, some insurers and reinsurers will balk at it and throw their toys out of the pram.

But it is where the financial protection insurance market should be heading – and at a mighty fast rate of knots.

If it gets there, I am sure that the cover will become what it should be – a must-have piece of household financial furniture.

Jeff Prestridge is personal finance editor of the Mail on Sunday