Framework of core standards based on five key areas under development by industry body
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is working on a framework of measurable insurer standards to improve underwriting standards for those impacted by mental health issues.
The industry body is collaborating with charities, industry stakeholders and advisers to develop good practice and improve customer outcomes for customers across protection, health and travel insurance.
Based on five key areas, the standards will be measurable but adherence will allow tailoring to reflect the need to continue to support the different specific risk appetite of each insurer, the ABI told COVER.
The five core standards under development will focus on the following:
- Accessibility. The delivery of communications across multiple channels to give choice to consumers, who may be vulnerable, and the provision of basic mental health training for those dealing with customers.
- Appropriate questions. More specific and understanding underwriting methods based on the personal circumstances of individuals.
- Effective communication. The execution of empathetic verbal and written communication with customers, routes to relevant signposting and clearly worded terms and conditions.
- Signposting to support services. Online financial wellbeing guides and links to resources through collaboration with Mental Health UK.
- Improving customer outcomes. The testing of underwriting standards to ensure data and statistical credibility.
Roshani Hill, assistant director, head of protection at ABI, said: "The ABI continues to work with charities, member and advisers to improve outcomes and achieve greater access to insurance for customers, many of whom may be vulnerable or suffering from poor mental health. As an industry, we must be more sensitive to the needs of consumers and develop more understanding underwriting practices."
The ABI said the full announcement of its mental health standards are expected in April 2020.
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