this does not appear to be a sentiment shared by the 1.5 million
life insurance policyholders in the UK that AXA estimates to be at
risk of having a claim rejected.
These policyholders – 7 percent of the total number in the
UK – have put themselves at risk by knowingly having misled
insurers when completing application forms in a quest for what AXA
terms a “desire for the perfect insurance self”.
Among the insurer’s findings concerning non-disclosure are:
• The most common inaccuracy is about alcohol intake, particularly
for men who are 25 percent more likely to understate their
consumption than women
• Almost one in 10 people do not disclose their smoking
• Women (11 percent) are twice as likely not to disclose their real
weight than men
• One in 20 keep people quiet about previous or current depression,
• One in 30 people keep quiet about minor back problems.
In addition, AXA research found the younger generation are the most
likely to be inaccurate when completing application forms, with
more than one in nine 18 to 34 year olds admitting to this. The
most accurate are people over 55 years old.
Why people knowingly deceive insurers is another matter.
AXA found that 51 percent of people who have non-disclosed when
purchasing insurance are simply too embarrassed to reveal personal
information during the application process, particularly women (65
percent), while some fear being turned down if the truth is
revealed (17 percent).
Commenting on the fear of being turned down, AXA head of protection
Iain Mallon said: “Most people quite rightly assume that insurance
premiums are based on medical history and certain lifestyle
“What people wrongly assume is that these normal behaviours and
typical medical conditions are based on that of a perfect person,
one with a healthy lifestyle and no medical problems at all.”
However, Mallon stressed: “Perfection is not necessarily the
average upon which insurance comparisons are based.”
For example, 53 percent of people in the UK are overweight.