HC Deb 27 October 2003 vol 412 c6WS
Mr. Frank Field

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how long an army reservist would need to serve in hostile or war conditions before life insurance under the Army PAX scheme would cover war risks. [133835]

Mr. Ingram

PAX provides Personal Accident and Life cover for regulars and RPAX for reservists. Cover under these schemes is the same for all three Services. Membership of these schemes is voluntary and thus the decision to purchase this cover rests with the individual.

A reservist's eligibility for war risks cover under PAX and RPAX is governed not by how long they have served in hostile or war conditions but by the length of time their cover has been in force. Under new arrangements which came into effect on 1 July 2003, PAX and RPAX exclude war risks for the first six months of a new cover purchased at any time other than during initial training.

This qualifying period was introduced as a result of the trend which Service personnel deployed to war zones have recently shown to buy short-term cover at the last minute. This increases insurers' exposure to risk, making them unable to accrue long-term premium income from which claims can be paid, and causing them to increase premiums or to close their schemes altogether to new applicants. The six-month qualifying period helps to avoid such closures and to protect the interests of prudent long-term scheme members by keeping premiums affordable.

The Ministry of Defence encourages Service personnel to recognise the long-term nature of life insurance throughout their service and not just at times of more active duty.