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Mental Health & Insurance Standards

These Mental Health Standards intend to provide clear guidance to health, protection, and travel insurers and reinsurers in supporting the needs of individuals with prior or existing mental health conditions ​when they seek insurance cover. [1]

Mental Health

The insurance industry has made great headway in improving access to insurance for individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions. It is a positive sign that the majority of people who disclose a mental health condition are able to find affordable insurance cover. On top of this, the industry is continuing to improve its approaches to support those with mental health conditions. The ABI and its members have engaged with mental health charities and campaigners to understand the needs of those with a history of mental ill health and recognise there are steps that can be taken to improve access to insurance, how questions are asked, communications to customers and transparency of underwriting decisions. These Standards are a continuation of the positive work which the industry is already doing, with some of the actions intended to drive consistency across the industry to continue to raise the bar. The actions allow individual firms to tailor their approaches to their individual underwriting propositions as well as give scope to develop new and innovative propositions. [2]

The ABI has also published a “Question and Answer” section for more detail on each action and the sentiment behind it to ensure they are properly understood.

As well as continuing to drive fair consumer outcomes for individuals with mental health conditions, these Standards are an opportunity to highlight the role of insurance products in providing support services to those with mental health conditions. These services, such as assistance programmes, access to treatments and wellbeing services aim to keep policyholders healthy, keep them in work and help them return to work when they leave due to mental ill-health.

ABI members commit to four Standards, and their supporting actions. The Standards are:

  • Improving accessibility,
  • Application process: asking appropriate questions​,
  • Communicating decisions and cover: clarity and empathy,
  • Transparency [3]

ABI members, and any other non-ABI member insurers signing up, are expected to have completed implementation no later than 31 December 2021. The ABI and its members will continue to engage with mental health charities and consumers to understand the impact of the Standards on customers with a history of mental health conditions.

 


[1] These Mental Health Standards are intended to apply to providers who underwrite individuals.

[2] An insurer may still decide to not offer an individual cover if it is outside their risk appetite.

[3] While these Standards are not a condition of ABI Membership, ABI members and relevant non-members are encouraged to use the Standards to support the needs of individuals with mental health conditions.