According to Sara-Ann Burgess, owner of protection insurance provider Burgesses:
“The insurance industry prides itself on giving help to customers when and where they need it most, however this ethos doesn't appear to apply to firms operating in the Payment Protection Insurance sector who are either refusing to provide unemployment-only cover or have increased their premiums by up to 40%. Consumers are acting responsibly by looking for ways to ensure their bills are paid should they lose their job and insurers are unwilling to provide cover. They are either turning their backs on people who really need their support or, if they do decide to offer PPI, it is at vastly inflated premiums to ensure profits remain buoyant.
“Unemployment exclusions should only apply to people whose employers have announced any job losses, whether relevant to them or not, department or company restructures or mergers with another company. If you are not aware of any impending unemployment announcements then you should be able to buy cover, whatever sector you are in. I believe insurers are beginning to make up their own rules in a bid to make greater profits. On the one hand insurers are encouraging consumers to take control of their finances and put in place a financial safety net should redundancy occur and on the other, they're making it near impossible for them to afford to do so. Rather than penalise people and withdraw support or increase costs at a time when this cover could make the difference between keeping and losing your home, insurers should be doing the right thing and responding to customers' needs. Firms that are exploiting this current economic climate are showing their true colours.”
Sara-Ann suggests there are independent PPI providers who continue to act in the best interests of consumers by refusing to increase their premiums and offering an unemployment-only option.
Income protection insurance: News update: 03/04/2009