HC Deb 12 June 1913 vol 53 cc1779-80

asked the Secretary to the Treasury (1) whether he has seen the report of a meeting of the Kent Insurance Committee on 29th May last, wherein it is stated that the rate of sickness experienced was more than double that expected, and that in a district near Maid-stone the rate went up to four times that expected; if so, what steps he proposes to take for the protection of approved societies; (2) whether the Insurance Commissioners have received representations from the approved societies under the National Insurance Act as to the prevalence of malingering, if so, whether he proposes to appoint medical referees for the purpose of checking malingering; and (3) whether the sickness claims received by approved societies under the National Insurance Act are in excess of those expected on the basis of the Government actuaries' calculations; and, if so, whether the excess arises from malingering?


It is too early at present to make any generalisation as to the actual claims for sickness benefit in comparison with the actuaries' estimates. I have seen a report of the meeting of the insurance committee to which the hon. Member refers, from which it appears that references were made to the rates of sickness in certain areas, but I am not aware that any general official statistics were available. As was to be expected, there is evidence that the claims on some societies, and in some districts, are above the normal, but such evidence as is at present available for the country as a whole does not point to any general excess over the actuarial expectations. The primary responsibility for checking malingering must, of course, rest upon the approved societies who administer the sickness benefit. The whole question, however, including the appointment of medical referees, is now receiving the most careful consideration of the Commissioners, who are obtaining information as to the character and extent of the problem.


Is it proposed to introduce any Insurance Act Amending Bill touching this matter?


I cannot give any answer to that question.


If a society's sickness experience largely exceeded the estimate, would there be an early valuation?


Certainly, in such circumstances the valuation would be expedited.