Due to new methods of gathering data, it may be possible to predict future income protection claimants. Wilson Carswell explains.
Predicting who exactly will make an insurance claim in the next year is almost impossible, in any sector of the insurance industry. Finance officers and insurance executives would love to have this information, because they would then be able to make the appropriate financial plans.
Although one can make general assumptions about a group of insured persons, these assumptions invariably break down at the individual level.
This gloomy lack of individual predictability of who may become future claimants has been effectively challenged by a recent medical paper.
A study was funded by the Scottish government and carried out by a group of health professionals and health economists, headed by Will Whittaker a health economist and Jill Morrison a professor of general practice.
Their findings were published in the British Medical Journal under the title: ‘Whittaker, Will et al. Predicting which people with psychosocial distress are at risk of becoming dependent on state benefits: analysis of routinely available data’.
The researchers had access to the records of more than 18,000 patients on general medical practitioners’ lists in Scotland over 17 years. These patients had applied for incapacity benefit (IB) which is paid only to those who have been away from work for at least six months.
Of the entire group studied, 1,877 had claimed for IB at least once over the 17 years of the study. The researchers found two separate factors that offered some guidance on those who would subsequently make an IB claim.
The first of these used a self completed form, named a General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12 for short). This was developed by Goldberg and Williams in 1988. It is a measure of current mental health.