Payouts for Aids deaths rise 30%

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The Independent Online
LIFE insurance payouts for Aids victims have soared by almost 30 per cent in six months, according to a secret report.

Details compiled by the Association of British Insurers show that pounds 40 million was paid out on policies held by people who died from Aids. A similar exercise last June revealed that the deaths of 1,000 Aids victims had led to claims totalling pounds 31m.

The ABI refused to disclose more details, but a spokesman confirmed the figures. They are likely to be an underestimate because Aids is not always notified on death certificates as the contributory cause.

The association's decision to keep the report under wraps has concerned Aids groups. Peter Roth, chairman of the Terence Higgins Trust's committee on Aids and insurance, said: 'Everyone involved in considering Aids matters might benefit from seeing these details. Such things are far better publicised than kept secret.'

He was intending to write to the ABI, though it could be a waste of time. Spokesman Clive Longhurst said it was not policy even to disclose the existence of the report, adding: 'I do not understand how it has got anything to do with them. We provide information for ABI members.'

Mr Roth said it was important to know how successful the insurance industry had been in screening out possible Aids victims.

In 1987, insurers withdrew some types of life cover and began asking lifestyle questions on policy forms, but it could do little about people who had already taken out policies.

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