Scottish Widows reduced the number of critical illness (CI) claims declined due to non-disclosure by 41% between 2006 and 2007, the firm reveals today.
In 2006, the firm says it declined 8.4% of claims but this fell to 5% last year and Scottish Widows says the majority of those it does turn down are “avoidable”.
Of the claims received during the 12 months from October 2006 to October 2007, the firm says 9% were also unsuccessful because the reason for making the claim was not covered by the policy definition.
From January 2000 to October 2007, Scottish Widows paid out over £150m for over 4,540 CI claims.
Richard Jones, protection market director at Scottish Widows, says: “The vast majority of critical illness claims are paid and the difference this makes to someone’s life, at a very difficult time, can be immense.
“Unfortunately there are cases where the claim is declined, but the majority of these are avoidable. There are simple steps that can be taken to ensure you don’t fall into this category, such as completing the application form fully.
“Also, if you aren’t sure whether something is important then it’s better to include it than not and if you remember something at a later date, just let us know.”
Last year, Scottish Widows sparked fears it was effectively pulling out of the protection market when it stopped quoting on industry portals, but the company has continued to offer the products.
In a bid to improve non-disclosure rates, Scottish Widows introduced its independent Claims Panel in 2005, which has the ability to overturn initial recommendations on individual claims.
Jones says initiatives like the Panel help improve consumer confidence and claims results.
“To ensure our literature is clear and to minimise the opportunity for misunderstandings, Scottish Widows regularly reviews and gets feedback on our application forms and customer literature.
“The differences that this and other initiatives can make are clear when you see that last year we paid out more in claims than previous years and we’re paying out a higher percentage of claims.”
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