The Association of British Insurers (ABI) Critical Illness (CI) Working Party has issued a revised draft to the heart attack and cancer definitions following responses to its consultation document.
An “overwhelming” 90 per cent felt the heart attack definition should change to reflect the increasing use of the chemical test troponin to detect heart attacks. The remaining ten per cent urged caution that the change would mean premium increases.
Chairman of the working party Nick Kirwan said: “Only a few people objected but no alternative approaches were suggested.”
He reasoned that if the number of people were diagnosed with a heart attack an increase in claims is likely as a result of the increased use of troponin tests. The trend is likely to continue whether or not the definition is changed.
He said the revised draft ensures policies remain up to date with medical science and reflects the current techniques used by the medical profession in detecting heart attacks.
Comments were received on the wording of the possible alternative ABI model heart attack definition and these included chest pain, heart scans, other biochemical markers, angina and acute coronary syndrome and diagnosing myocardial infarction (MI).
Insurers are still free to omit the chest pain requirement from the definition if they wish to include silent heart attacks in their cover. Some 20 per cent of heart attacks occur without chest pain, known as silent heart attacks.
Many varied comments were received regarding heart scans as part of the heart attack definition. Kirwan said there were differing types of heart scan used to decide if someone has had a heart attack.
But the definition will continue to use the ECG test. The working party will monitor the use of other types of heart scans for future use.