BTFG makes changes to Protection Plans

4 min read


BT Financial Group makes changes to Protection Plans 

  • Minimum medical definitions applied to all policies
  • Pricing and underwriting model changes

BT Financial Group’s insurer (BT) today announced a number of updates to its life insurance products including applying minimum medical definitions to address key health risks for Australians, as well as pricing and underwriting changes for new customers of BT Financial Advice.  

Last year, BT introduced a Medical Improvements Statement for all medical conditions covered by Protection Plans policies (for policies issued on or after April 2006), providing greater certainty for customers that their insurance policy terms will always remain relevant and in line with advancements in medical practice.  

Today, we are announcing that from 1 March 2018, BT is again leading the industry by applying the Minimum Standard Medical Definitions for heart attack, cancer and stroke to all policies, no matter when cover commenced. Further, BT will extend the Medical Improvements Statement to all policies, meaning all customers making a claim will be assessed against the latest method for diagnosing medical conditions both now and in the future. 

Sue Houghton, General Manager Insurance, BT said: "These changes will further simplify our life insurance offering and ensure all our customers are consistently protected by industry-accepted minimum medical definitions, across our entire product range and no matter when they commenced their policy. These industry leading steps again demonstrate our commitment to our customers and our goal of making life insurance accessible to all Australians." 

"These latest changes go beyond what is required under industry standards and follow a number of recent improvements including being the first Australian insurer to introduce a service that facilitates electronic medical certificates (e-Certs), streamlining the medical information claims process for doctors. This is a ground-breaking step for the industry, making it easier for doctors to issue medical certificates for patients who are making a claim," Ms Houghton said.  

At the same time as BT enhances its product offering, it is implementing a new pricing and underwriting model for Protection Plans policies offered through BT Financial Advice (BTFA), effective 17 February 2018.

Currently, customers who take out Protection Plans through a BTFA adviser may have underwriting loadings waived, which relate to health conditions such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, resulting in lower premiums. This allowed insurance to be as affordable as possible for as many people as possible. Until now, BT has done this by levelling premiums.

However, following publicity regarding this underwriting approach it has become necessary to remove this benefit for new customers, in order to limit the risk of having a disproportionate balance of customers in our portfolio with known health conditions.

Premiums will more closely reflect each customer’s risk profile meaning some new customers may benefit from a lower premium while others will potentially pay more than they would today.

This will ensure BT’s pricing remains sustainable and will reduce the risk of putting pressure on premiums for all insured customers.

These pricing and underwriting changes will only affect new customers.