However, director says the wider industry ‘still has more work to do’

Health, protection and travel insurers are making “progress” when working to better support customers with mental health conditions, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

In its latest report – The Mental Health and Insurance Standards Implementation –  the ABI highlighted that 81% of 22 members stated they regularly review written and verbal communications about underwriting decisions, with support from mental health professionals, charities or consumer groups.

Published earlier this week (31 May 2023), the report also highlighted that 88% stated they included an introduction to their underwriting questions to manage consumer expectations.

The remaining 12% reported they had taken alternative actions, such as including information at a different stage.

All respondents said the questions asked could be answered without prior medical knowledge.

“Our industry wants to make it straightforward for customers with mental health conditions to access its products and it’s good to see that our members have made progress,” said the ABI’s director of health and protection policy Yvonne Braun.


The ABI sought responses from its members for the research during April and May 2023 – including three health, eight travel and nine protection insurers, as well as two reinsurers.

The report disclosed the figures were not completely reliable as the ABI “standard is not applicable to all travel insurers”.

“Generally, travel insurers do not exclude any mental or physical health conditions from their products and they use a third-party, such as Verisk, to assess and communicate underwriting decisions about pre-existing medical conditions,” it noted.

Meanwhile, some 81% of those surveyed had made mental health exclusions highly prominent in relevant policy documents and communications.

The report further revealed that 83% of respondents regularly reviewed their underwriting approach around mental health conditions.

Nearly all (94%) stated they explain to customers what evidence is used to inform the underwriting approach upon request.

It came after charity Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI) called on insurers to take “action” to improve insurance for individuals with “mental health problems” in March 2023.

The institute found these consumers were being discriminated against when seeking travel cover.

Despite improvements, “the industry still has more work to do” and the ABI is “committed to working with firms and mental health experts to drive this forward”, added Braun.

The report came after the ABI implemented four mental health and insurance standards among its members in September 2020.

Members were required to implement these standards by 31 December 2021.