Axa has hit out at rival protection providers for concentrating on the volume of conditions covered by critical illness plans, rather than its relevance to customers.
Following the recent changes made by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to Critical Illness definitions, Iain Mallon, director of protection marketing at Axa, says the insurer has used the opportunity to reviews its CI offering.
However, he says while Axa has opted to add value by focusing on conditions which are more common and therefore likely to affect the most people, he says the firm has become aware of quite a lot of people going for volume of covers rather than relevance.
Mallon says: “With the current debate around non-disclosure the industry needs to have transparent products. We have 32 covers which don’t include some diseases which are incurable and so are paid out anyway.”
He points out including these types of diseases is not really helping the CI debate as it is double counting, and instead he says Axa has responded to customer needs by improving existing covers for illnesses such as breast cancer, which affected 44,000 people, including 300 men, in 2003.
Mallon adds: “I think we should be focusing on real covers, as this prolific listing only further confuses the CI market place.”
In addition, Mallon argues another important issue in the CI market is the problem of non-disclosure, although he claims improvements underwriting would improve the level of claims which are declined through customer non-disclosure.
He says: “It is important the industry is trying to be more innovative around underwriting, particularly tele-underwriting which we use, as this is the only way to win over customers and intermediaries.”
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