ABI changes income protection claims reporting

ABI changes income protection claims reporting

Income protection claims statistics based on the Association of British Insurers' methodology will now be more 'meaningful' after the trade body changed the way in which the data is calculated and reported.

This came as the ABI released figures showing that approximately £13m a day was paid out to support people who have protection insurance products such as life insurance, critical illness or income protection.

While the figures, published in conjunction with Group Risk Development (Grid), suggested there has been a small fall in the reported percentage of income protection claims paid, this is largely due to a change in the methodology around how this figure is measured.

In a statement, the ABI said: "We have decided to change how we measure the percentage of claims paid for individual income protection products, so  this now reflects only new claims received during the year that were paid and declined.

"As stated in previous releases, the previous measure also took into account all claims in payment, and decisions made regarding these claims."

There are many ways in which the figure can be legitimately calculated. However, the statement said: "The ABI believes that the new claims measure is more meaningful for consumers in terms of helping them to gauge the claims performance of different products."

According to the data, the figures show virtually all protection insurance claims (97.3 per cent) were paid in 2016.

Further statistics published by the ABI and Grid revealed: 

  • Life insurance claims paid hit 36,814 in 2016.
  • More than 98% of life insurance claims paid out, at an average value of £75,000.
  • Critical illness claims hit 15,464.
  • Some 92.2 per cent of critical illness claims paid out, at an average value of almost £68,000. 

Andy Milburn, director of proposition and marketing for Holloway Friendly, called the changed basis for IP claims statistics "excellent news" and the "morally correct thing to do".

He said: "Will providers who used the now 'old' ABI basis republish their 2016 stats now or just adopt this approach from 2017 onwards?

"We would prefer that providers now republish their 2016 stats and I'm sure advisers would agree with us.

"The ABI and protection people involved in this decision have done a good job, but there is still much work to be done on our industries approach to claims and what we do for claimants.

"We'll all be using the Friendly society method now but we know there is an even better potential method."

As reported in FTAdviser earlier this year, Holloway Friendly joined a chorus of advisers and providers asking for more clarity over the methodologies by which claims paid statistics were calculated and reported.

The three methods - the ABI method, the friendly society method and the all claims paid method all produce slightly different results, based on whether they include claims still in payment from the year before, or whether they include more types of declined claims.

At the time, Andrew Ward, head of protection of advice for Roxburgh, said: "The anguish claimants can go through when trying to make a claim is clear, so anything providers can do to alleviate the stress of the process is important."