Conference for Benchmark Definitions for Critical Illness (CI)

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Article published on 9th May 2008

Canadian company, Munich Re-Insurance, launched the World CI Conference in Toronto at the end of April in the hopes of establishing benchmark definitions for CI within insurance policies. The intention was to push for changes in the attitudes of insurance advisors and brokers in how they promote and sell CI insurance.

Munich Re., a division of German operated Munich Re AG, and which handles the larger part of the CI insurance sector in Canada, set up a one-year working group (starting in March 2007) comprising of six of Canada's major insurance companies, representing 80% of the Canadian market.

Their intention was to establish a tentative list of definitions for such CI matters as the thickness of a malignant tumours and a precise definition of blindness as it might apply to insurance cover. Hélène Michaud, marketing director of Munich Re, told the conference that differences in definitions as they stand are such that they have caused advisors to stay away from the ‘product’ (of CI insurance) until there is a more consistent definition for them to feel ‘comfortable’ with.

The company’s actions were predicated upon its belief that the reason the vast majority of advisors do not promote CI cover enough, despite all that it offers in terms of customer care and growth within the insurance sector, is because of the tendency for different definitions various policies of just what CI means - as in which diseases and conditions are considered critical enough for cover and which aren't.

There are twenty six existing critical illness definitions and the workgroup looked at all of them as part of their ‘benchmarking’ process. These benchmarks aren’t supposed to promote some sort of standardisation within the industry and still allow for diversity and choice within the industry. The bulk of their suggested changes refer to phraseology and general consistency.

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