Advisers have a great part to play in ensuring consumers answer underwriting questions truthfully, according to Matt Rann, group underwriting and claims manager at Aegon UK.
Speaking as a member of the provider forum for IFAonline.tv’s Great Protection Debate, Rann says guidelines from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) mean questions on application forms are now very clear and advisers have a “great part to play” in ensuring questions are answered truthfully.
He states: “It is not difficult, in my opinion, to answer the questions on proposal forms truthfully and to the best knowledge and belief of the individual.”
Nick Kirwan, protection market director at Scottish Widows, says advisers who are concerned about complaints to the ombudsman about disclosure information should ensure they have evidence which shows they did everything they could to allow the customer to give accurate information.
For example, he suggests advisers could write to customers the day after completing an application form asking them if they have remembered anything which could affect future claims and stressing the importance of answering questions carefully.
Paul Cowman, head of protection propositions and market strategy at Prudential, points out insurers cannot solve the issue of non-disclosure alone so advisers need to work with them to tackle the problem.
He believes teleunderwriting is a great advance in the marketplace but only if it used correctly. Prudential is not getting any clean lives through teleunderwriting because advisers prefer to complete clean cases online and pass adverse lives to the insurer.
Peter Hamilton, protection management director at Zurich, believes this is a good thing because if all cases went through teleunderwriting the industry would not be able to cope with the volume.
He states: “If we suggested teleunderwriting was the universal panacea and suited every case consumers would never get on risk because it does take time. I think inevitably the business will find its easiest route.”
Kirwan adds the Law Commission’s latest issues paper “significantly raises the bar” on the treatment of non-disclosure by switching the responsibility in law from the consumer to the insurer; introducing a ‘no gain no loss’ principle which puts the consumer in the position where they would have been; and suggesting a ‘non-contestability period’ of three years.
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Emily Perryman on 020 7968 4554 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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