Aids charity to offer insurance

The National Aids Trust has launched a travel insurance product for people living with HIV in its first move into the financial services market.

The charity devised Freedom travel insurance in conjunction with insurance broker NW Brown.

There are also plans to develop Freedom life insurance, motor insurance and home insurance. Freedom travel insurance is underwritten by Axa, owners of PPP and Axa Sun Life which provide a variety of health and life insurance products.

Suzanne Williams, communications officer at the charity, said: "We want to develop other products but we have to see how this runs first."

This is also the organisation's first venture into supporter-led fundraising.

Until the launch of the product this month, the charity generated most of its income from trusts and foundations.

Up to 30 per cent of profits from sales will go to the charity. But Williams said the product would be more than a fundraising tool as it would also provide a valuable service to clients who may have problems getting insurance.

Williams said: "Other insurance policies may withdraw certain medical and emergency benefits, or worse still impose blanket restrictions on people living with HIV."

The Freedom policy plans to assess cases individually and take into account the state of a client's health and how successfully they are treated.

Martin Kirk, parliamentary officer at the Terrence Higgins Trust, supported the new policy and said that all insurers should be looking at potential clients on a case-by-case basis.

He said that some insurers would not insure any homosexual men because of the perceived risks related to HIV.

Terrence Higgins is researching insurance provision for people living with HIV.

The National Aids Trust has been involved in writing material about the product and has briefed sales people on phone lines about issues clients may face.

Terry Green, director at NW Brown, said that the insurance company would also like to get involved with other charities to develop similar products and has already lined up meetings with health organisations.

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