Concern non-underwritten products not well explained

A lack of information may have caused some customers to take out expensive, non-underwritten insurance policies, when they would easily have qualified for normal cover, it has been claimed.

Monday, September 26th 2016, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

There are a number of non-underwritten products now available in the market.

Nib offers EasyHealth, and Sovereign offers Simple Life, via its adviser channel and direct to customers, and as MyLife via ASB.

State Insurance’s website describes Simple Life as suitable for people who are “young and healthy” – but such people generally would have no trouble getting standard cover.

Both providers said there had been strong demand for the products. They offer cover without any health questions and can be obtained quickly.

But Alan Rafe, who runs the Quotemonster research service, said it was clear that in some cases they were being used as their lead product, and that was worrying.

“When people want certainty of cover, these products don’t tend to provide that,” he said. “I don’t think people fully understand the things they are not covered for under these products.”

There are significant standdown periods involved, and ASB has a hazardous activity exclusion on its policies that means they will not pay out if people fall off a cliff more than 20m high or die in a building construction site.

Rafe said he was concerned people did not understand what they were signing up for – or that they were paying up to 70% more for it.

“If you are healthy you could answer health questions and it would be 70% cheaper with full coverage. I’m concerned because they say it’s easy and quick but I think it’s easy and quick for the companies, the call centres don’t have to spend an hour-and-a-half asking health questions and filling out an application for someone who then doesn’t get cover. They’d rather it took 20 seconds and issued 100% of cover. It’s easy for the company, not the individuals.”

He said people who phoned ASB looking for life cover were offered the non-underwritten cover in the first instance. “That’s the only one they offer if people phone them.”

An ASB spokeswoman said all customers had access to a nationwide team of ASB insurance managers.

“This team can provide a full protection review and, subject to underwriting, a wide range of insurance benefits. For customers who choose not to take this approach, we also offer access to a number of products that adopt simpler approaches to underwriting.”

Tags: ASB Life insurance nib

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