An insurance firm has warned that standard terms and conditions across the industry could mean people with terminal illnesses could be forced to reject treatment in order to ensure a payout for their family.
The Financial Times reports that most policies only pay out under terminal illness clauses once a person has been diagnosed as having less than 12 months left to live. The problem is that modern treatment can often prolong the remaining lifespan even if the end result is still inevitable.
This has left some people in cases where they are given a diagnosis of more than a year. This leaves them ineligible to claim, but the fact they've had the diagnosis means they have little prospect of renewing the policy or moving to another provider.
A spokesman for Ageas says that in extreme circumstances, a person facing a terminal illness might feel pressured to say no to treatment that could give them a more favorable diagnosis as they want to protect the payout.
Insurers quoted in the article suggested most firms could see an argument for raising the 12-month minimum, but would only be prepared to do so if it was adopted across the industry.