The Association of British Insurers (ABI) Guide to Minimum Standards for Critical Illness Cover (CIC), published today, has removed discriminatory content about people living with HIV.
Previously, the guidance stated that a claim for an HIV diagnosis could only be made where HIV had been acquired from a blood transfusion, a physical assault or at work in an eligible occupation. This was clearly a moralising and discriminatory attempt to frame some people as being ‘innocent victims’ of HIV and, by implication, others as not.
It was also the case that if a policyholder was diagnosed with HIV after purchasing a CIC policy, their policy would effectively be rendered void as HIV excluded them from claiming on any other illness listed in their policy.
NAT (National AIDS Trust) highlighted this discriminatory wording in their 2017 report HIV and Finance, then met the ABI to discuss how the guidance could be improved, and influenced both the ABI consultation document and the revised ABI guidance.
Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust) commented:
“We welcome the new guidance on critical illness cover published by the ABI today. The previous wording on HIV included in the guidance was judgemental, stigmatising and discriminatory. No other critical illness was treated in such a manner, and we are grateful that the ABI have listened to our feedback and made this vital and long-awaited change. It is now crucial that insurers review their CIC policies as soon as possible to ensure they do not contain discriminatory wording on HIV.
“The new guidance, which does not assume HIV always to be a critical illness, reflects the considerable progress that has been made in prognosis for those living with HIV over the last thirty years, whilst still allowing insurers the flexibility to provide cover for HIV if they wish.
“With the removal of HIV as an exclusion, policyholders who have acquired HIV after purchasing their CIC policy should be able to make a claim if they are diagnosed with any other illness listed in their policy.
“Despite these welcome steps forward, CIC remains unavailable to those already living with HIV because insurers deem them too risky for cover. We hope the publication of this new guidance will encourage insurers to review their terms and make their CIC policies available to people living with HIV.”