Ellipse has dropped its ‘actively at work' conditions in favour of a new set of terms that, it claims, will give employers, advisers and scheme members ‘greater certainty' of cover.
The digital group risk insurer said the move had been prompted by advisers "concerned" at the potential uninsured risks their clients were facing.
Actively at work conditions are used widely by insurers to protect them from taking on individuals who are absent from work due to sickness absence.
Such employees are seen as presenting a higher risk of becoming a claim than their colleagues who are working, and are not normally provided with cover until they return to work.
John Ritchie, chief executive of Ellipse said this can cause "serious problems" for employers and their advisers, particularly with clients who may be asking for cover on the basis of a quote obtained some time earlier or who are in the middle of switching from one insurer to another.
He said: There's no problem if they return to work soon afterwards but if their absence is due to a serious condition which turns out to be terminal, the gap in their cover only becomes apparent when a claim is submitted.
"The employer is not always aware of which employees are affected and, even if they are, their choices for preventing gaps in cover are very limited (often, their only option is to stick with their existing insurer, even if the terms are otherwise are ones they were trying to move away from)."
Ritchie continued: "What we will do instead is ask employers to tell us who has had a history of taking off significant chunks of time - at least four or more whole weeks, whether in one go or in weeks at a time - in the year prior to the cover starting.
"This is data they should have on file as absences in excess of whole weeks need to be supported by GP notes. By looking at what has happened in the recent past, rather than arriving at a cover date and suddenly being faced with a problem - or as often not even realising there's a problem - our new approach will give employers, and their advisers, far more certainty about who is or isn't covered."
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Compared to Q1 2020