Critical illness (CI) premiums are set to rise by 50 per cent if government plans for nationwide screening for prostate cancer go ahead.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) Working Party is considering responses to its consultation paper on the impact of screening on CI premiums. The ABI will then consider the need to change the model cancer definition.
The ABI Statement of Best Practice for CI Cover includes model definitions for 20 critical illnesses. The current model cancer definition means CI policies cover all forms of invasive prostate cancer, including the disease’s early stages.
Insurers take account of anticipated claims when determining the structure and price of cover. If there is a significant increase in detected cases, the ABI expects “a corresponding effect” on CI claims for prostate cancer resulting “in a significant increase in premiums both for existing policies on male lives and for future policies”.
ABI CI working party chairman Nick Kirwan said: “More claims will push up the premiums. Do we allow premiums to rise at the risk of making them unaffordable or do we reduce the cover to keep the premiums down?”
Independent financial adviser Penny O’Nions, the principal of The Onion Group, said: “Most men avoid going to the doctor and, with the introduction of screening, CI premiums will rise.”
Swiss Life technical manager Bob Cheesewright said: “CI needs to adapt. If prostate cancer is detected earlier it can be treated earlier.”