The inaugural meeting of the Access to Insurance Working Group at the Department for Work & Pensions was chaired by disability champion for insurance sector Johnny Timpson on 21 September.
The existence of the group was publicly announced by Timpson at the COVER Summit on 4 October and Professional Adviser's sisater brand has now revealed full details of the organisation.
Committed to improving access to insurance, and specifically protection, following work undertaken by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in relation to travel insurance for disabled consumers and those with chronic health conditions, the first meeting of the group brought together various trade bodies, key industry representatives and charities.
The Working Group has established work streams and set out four key aims: develop a signposting system for consumers, supported by charities and consumer groups; improve underwriting transparency and practices around chronic health conditions and disabilities; improve standards and create framework for those who distribute protection products, and develop a proposal for greater accessibility to insurance through the workplace.
In attendance alongside the FCA, were CII, BIBA, GRiD, ILAG, ABI, Society of Financial Mutuals, Protect Association, Protection Distributor's Group, Access to Protection Group, Building Resilient Households Group, Income Protection Task Force, Association of Professional Compliance Consultants, Money Advice Service, Alera Risk representing the Amus, Focus and Select Underwriting Groups, Financial Services Consumer Panel, Citizens Advice, Macmillan Cancer Support, Scope, Age UK, Alzheimer's Society, National Aids Trust and the Huntington's Disease Assocation.
"We know that disabled people can often face additional costs as a result of their disability, which is why I want disabled people to be able to access the right insurance products and services at the right price," said Sarah Newton, minister for disabled people, health and work.
"Our insurance champion is bringing together insurers, regulatory bodies and charities for the first time to show businesses in the insurance sector the importance of making disabled customers a priority."
‘Walking the talk'
"Walking the talk on diversity is essential for the insurance sector," said Timpson, who is also Scottish Widows' financial protection specialist. "I am committed to working with the industry to improve access to affordable insurance for disabled consumers, bringing key players to the table to agree on a clear set of actions for making the insurance industry more inclusive.
"This degree of collaboration is a first for the insurance sector and will enable us to make a real difference to the one in five people in the UK living with a disability or health condition, many of whom will have financial commitments, liabilities and protection needs."
Consultation closes on 30 October
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