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Providers limit unemployment cover in face of rising claims

Unemployment cover is becoming harder to secure for clients as lenders and providers amend their criteria in line with the spectre of rising redundancies.

Abbey is the latest in a long line of providers that have changed their stance on accident, sickness, and unemployment policies.

The lender has restricted the sale of ASU products to within 30 days after mortgage sales have completed, pointing to the growing number of claims the protection sector is processing.

A spokesman for Abbey says: “ASU providers have seen a large rise in claims, particularly in relation to unemployment cover.

“Our ASU products are no ex-ception to this trend and following discussions with our underwriters we have changed our policy to restrict the sale of our Paymentcare and Abbey Additions products to within 30 days of the completion of new mortgages.”

He adds: “These changes are required to ensure we can continue to offer ASU to prospective mortgage customers at affordable rates.”

The move follows similar policy changes from several protection providers and lenders.

Last month Royal Liver withdrew unemployment cover from its pro-tection menu plan for new business. Although existing customers are unaffected, Royal Liver’s under-writer Cardif Pinnacle says it reserves the right to withdraw the cover at a later date.

Dale Tranter, research manager for protection, equity release and general insurance at Sesame, picks up on the trend among providers to tighten their criteria.

He says: “The Royal Liver announcement follows other recent withdrawals. Halifax is no longer offering ASU through brokers while Paymentshield is now only offering ASU rather than standalone unem-ployment cover.

“It is ironic that providers are withdrawing these plans just as de-mand for them is increasing.”

Firms still offering unemployment cover include AXA, Friends Provident and LV=.

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