Protection  

Industry accused of misjudging mental health risk

But Andrew Wibberley, director at Alea Risk, said the industry had to be careful about using this 'Vitality-style' tracking of consumers when it came to mental health.

He said: "The last thing you want is for someone to go through a bad phase and end up with an increased premium, but I suppose there could be a way around that.

"But realistically, if you’re adding value-added services to your current consumer policies and it’s not affecting the way you underwrite, then I would question how much value those services are actually adding."

Alan Lakey, director of Highclere Financial, agreed and said moving to a world where clinically trained people managed risk would be "sensible".

Peter Chadborn, director at Plan Money who was also at the conference, said: "I don’t think the adviser should be asking the questions. 

"Our skill set is getting to know our client, being empathic and using objective settings and research to give recommendations — it should stop there.

"For example, I know very little about mental health and if someone started explaining their situation, I would not know what questions to ask or even understand the answer."

Mr Chadborn added that it would be nice to see a world where consumer interaction with value added services could help lower premiums but said it came with difficulties.

He said: "For instance, it’s not a renewable policy where prices vary year-on-year, it’s a ‘you take this for so many years for this amount of cover’ product. But it would be a good move and good step for the industry."

imogen.tew@ft.com

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