On 21 January at the Houses of Parliament the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) launched a new non-statutory signposting agreement committing to assist people with pre-existing medical conditions and/or disabilities by enabling easier access to any protection insurance products they require.

The role of the parties to this agreement is to assist in ensuring ease of access to insurance for such people, including those with complex circumstances with a combination of medical conditions, if they are initially rejected by an insurer when seeking cover. As well as helping individual consumers the parties will support consumer groups and charities so they can easily access guidance and advice about insurance from protection specialists.

Under this Agreement, known as the Caxton House Statement, protection insurance is defined as “individual, business and group life insurance, income protection and critical illness”.

Insurers or intermediaries will, if they have made a reasonable decision, based on reliable evidence, to refuse cover to an applicant with a pre-existing medical condition, refer them to a suitable specialist firm that should be able to offer protection insurance in such cases, or to a recognised signposting service.

In all cases the following criteria should be satisfied:

  • The customer with a pre-existing medical condition should be informed that they have been refused cover as it is outside of the underwriting criteria of that particular insurer.
  • The customer with a pre-existing medical condition should be informed clearly that cover appropriate to their needs may be available through referral to another firm or to a signposting service.
  • Contact details of the partner or signposting service should be clearly stated.
  • Permission must be sought and granted before customer details are transferred to a third party.

Consumers with pre-existing medical conditions will include people classed as having a disability under the Equality Act 2010. People are classed as “disabled” under the Equality Act if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a “substantial” and “long-term” adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities.

The Equality Act 2010 offers legal protection from discrimination for those with protected characteristics, including disability. However, in relation to insurance it includes an exemption which allows insurers to discriminate on the basis of age and disability when making decisions about whether to cover a person or the price they charge for the premium.

The action taken by the insurance company (either increasing the price of their premiums or refusing cover entirely) must be reasonable and done by reference to information that is both relevant to the assessment of the risk to be insured and from a source upon which it is reasonable to rely.

If an insurer has made a reasonable decision, based on reliable evidence, to refuse cover or charge a high premium to an applicant with a pre-existing medical condition, that individual may have alternative options available for obtaining cover. This Agreement outlines an approach to facilitate consumer access to these alternatives.

BIBA will have a system for reviewing its members that advise they can assist with more challenging protection insurance enquiries to ensure it can pass customers to suitable members.

As a result of this Agreement anyone with a disability or pre-existing condition who has been declined for a life insurance, critical illness insurance or an income protection policy (also known as permanent health insurance) should consider re-applying and anyone who was put off even applying because they expected to be declined should now apply.

A price comparison web site is unlikely to help in these situations and so anyone wanting cover should talk to a good independent broker or an IFA. If they can’t help and they don’t signpost you to an adviser who can you could ask why they are not following the guidelines set out in the Access to Insurance Caxton House Statement. However as not all brokers have signed up to this Agreement if your broker or IFA can’t help the best option would be to find another who has, perhaps by using the BIBA website: https://insurance.biba.org.uk/find-insurance or choosing from the list of signatories to the Agreement. A list of initial signatories (excluding reinsurers because they don’t deal direct with the public) is below but I expect more intermediaries and insurers to sign up in future:


  • Assured Futures
  • Cavendish Ware
  • Cura Financial Services Ltd
  • Drewberry Ltd
  • Essential Insurance Group
  • Highclere Financial Services
  • Lifesearch
  • Lightblue UK Ltd
  • Moneysworth Ltd
  • Sesame Bankhall Group

Providers / Banks

  • Aegon Life Insurance
  • Bank of Scotland
  • Holloway Friendly Society
  • Legal & General
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • Royal London
  • Scottish Widows
  • Vitality Life Insurance
  • Zurich Insurance

Ray Boulger - Founder & Chairman