Insurers may exploit PPI

Sara-Ann Burgess, director at PPI specialist Burgesses, is worried that many insurers will simply refuse to renew cover for customers if employment figures continue to deteriorate and so leave them stranded.

She comments: “Monthly premiums in the PPI market have helped give customers the flexibility they need to alter their policy should their circumstances change. They have also helped them to make sure they have the right level of cover in place to protect their financial commitments. However if underwriters now refuse to offer cover to those they feel may be at risk or introduce huge leaps in premium, then consumers are going to be left high and dry.”

Burgess said some providers had already caused concern by refusing to offer cover for employees at companies who were going through very public mergers and where large numbers of redundancies were likely. However she urged the industry to steer away from this approach and to offer the support so desperately needed by customers in these difficult times.

“The current environment offers the PPI industry a fantastic opportunity to show how important it can be in underpinning people’s way of life and supporting them through difficult periods. The industry has been on the receiving end of some very critical press in recent years and should now be working harder than ever to demonstrate that customers’ needs are at the heart of what it does.”

Much of the criticism in the PPI market has been levelled at single premium policies, but if underwriters began to pull cover for large numbers of vulnerable customers on monthly policies then that focus would shift, claimed Burgess.

“If customers do find that providers are pushing up prices or refusing to offer a renewal of their policy, then seeking out an independent intermediary will help them secure the insurance they need. Firms like British Insurance are committed to providing affordable cover to customers and making sure that the insurance will remain available even if economic conditions get a lot worse. After all, isn’t that the whole point of PPI?” questioned Burgess.