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Watch out for new non-smokers: ISO

Clients’ attempts to quit smoking are causing problems for risk advisers, says the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman.

Sunday, September 29th 2013, 6:27AM

The scheme has had a number of calls recently from advisers wanting help dealing with clients who thought they should have asked them about whether they had quit smoking.

Clients had realised that they might have been able to get cheaper premiums if they had become non-smokers and then complained about the adviser, wanting a refund of the additional premium paid.

Ombudsman Karen Stevens said it raised a number of issues, including whether there was an obligation on advisers to actively seek out information about changes in client circumstances.

“We think that it would be very helpful to include a question about smoking when discussing changes in circumstances with clients.”

She said advisers should explain what could happen to clients who mentioned they had quit smoking.

“Even if you know it will not affect their premium, we think it would be good practice to explain what you will, or they should, do with that information.  You should then make a file note of this conversation and diarise any follow up required.”

She said the scheme tried to share information about looming issues so that other advisers could avoid them.

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