The Association of British Insurers has launched an initiative to ensure consumers know exactly what they are covered for when they take out critical illness insurance.

The changes to the trade association’s statement of best practice for critical illness cover include: a new standard description of critical illness to ensure a consistent explanation of the product; better descriptions of the illnesses covered and improvements to the definitions of the illnesses covered.

Richard Walsh, the ABI’s head of health and protection insurance, said: The new statement of best practice will mean customers have a much clearer explanation of what their product does and does not cover when they buy it and if they need to make a claim. This should also lead to fewer declined claims.

Critical illness cover has come under criticism recently after reports in the press that one in five claims are rejected, making it one of the least reliable forms of insurance. One of the problems with declined claims is the non-disclosure of medical conditions when applying.