News & Views

Obtaining Critical Illness cover for anyone with Type 2 Diabetes can be very difficult, but it is possible in some circumstances, as one of our recent cases demonstrates.
The first problem is that most insurance companies will automatically decline any application for Critical Illness cover from a person with Type 2 diabetes, irrespective of positive factors, such as good control and lack of complications. So it’s difficult for consumers to know where to go.
Normally buying life insurance and critical illness cover can be done in many places like the bank, large comparison websites and financial advisers, however if your personal circumstances mean that you do not fit the standard mould, you would be well advised to use the services of a life insurance broker who has particular specialisation in dealing with people who have health conditions.
Moneysworth has been successful in arranging Life and Critical Illness cover on a number of occasions for people with Type 2 Diabetes, as a recent case demonstrates.
A gentleman in his early 40’s made an enquiry on our website: www.moneysworth.co.uk. Type 2 Diabetes had relatively recently been diagnosed, his control was good and he didn’t have any diabetic complications, but he was overweight. With a raised BMI (Body Mass Index) of 31, this made finding cover even more difficult. He wanted Life and Critical Illness cover and had a specific budget in mind for his premiums of £75 per month.
As we do in all cases, we researched the whole market for the client to see if life and critical illness cover would be available. Our research indicated that only one insurance company would offer him cover, so we applied to them. The insurer wrote to his GP surgery for further medical information and on receipt of that offered a guaranteed premium policy for £75 per month, covering the client for Level Life or Critical Illness cover (without exclusions) of £75,350 over 23 years.
People with an existing health condition who have been declined elsewhere should not give up hope of getting the cover they want until they have used the services of a specialist life insurance broker. If a client wants to find out what might be available and apply, Moneysworth do not charge a fee. This means Moneysworth is only paid a commission by an insurer if we are successful. Remember if you’re unsure if a broker is a specialist, you could ask the question: ‘What percentage of your clients have pre-existing health conditions?’. At Moneysworth that figure is over 75%!

Yes, you do have choices about how you apply for life insurance and if you have diabetes making the wrong ones could cost you.

So here are the tips

1)  Fully Disclose All Medical Information – cutting corners or forgetting to mention medical information risks making your cover invalid, but if you fully disclose all information you will have peace of mind knowing that the cover is valid.

2) Applying Direct To A Life Insurance Company Has Downsides – There is nothing wrong in applying direct its just that in doing so there’s a very good chance that you will end up paying more than you need to because there’s will be a good chance that another life insurance company would have charged a cheaper premium.   In fact if you already applied direct to a life company and have an existing policy you should still read the tips below and consider getting a second opinion. It wont cost you anything but could save you lots.

3) Research Is Important – Good research will pay dividends and can save you a small fortune. Unfortunately its not easy to do this yourself.

4) Use An Expert – Some companies specialise in offering a service for people with pre existing health conditions such as diabetes, providing a more expert service to help find you best deal www.moneysworth.co.uk are one such company who individually research every single case and provide this service on a non fee basis so they are able to provide you with an indication of likely premium before you apply. An expert will also be able to provide you with information about what other associated types of insurance cover might be available, such as critical illness or income protection.

5) Most Advisers Do Not Specialise In Diabetes – If they dont really specialise its unlikely that they will be able to perform the research to the same standard as a real specialist.

6) How to Spot A Non Specialist – There are a number of ways. 1) Check the website -if the company is genuinely offering a specialist service this should be clear visible on the webite. 2) When speaking on the phone are they asking you the right kinds of questions about your diabetes, do they sound like they are dealing in this day in day out? 3) Sometimes companies pretend to be expert, they tend to rush to the application stage before doing any research – If they quote a preium straight away its probably not a good sign. If in doubt a good questions to ask is what percentage of their clients have diabetes.

7) Think About The Future As Well As The Present – If you develop further complications or additional health conditions in the future you may find it more difficult to obtain cover in the future. As a diabetic if you develop cardio vascular disease in the future, as things currently stand in the market, you will not be able to obtain new life insurance from any mainstream insurer.  

8) Guaranteed Premium Rates Are Best – This means that the premiums cannot be increased in the future so you know where you stand so make sure that your premiums are not reviewable.

9) Remember That Once Your Policy Starts Your Insurance Is Guaranteed – Once your policy begins future health changes will not effect your cover or your premiums, which means you no longer have to worry about what the future may bring.

10) Prices for New Policies Will Go Up At The End Of The Year – This is true, especially so for females. If you have diabetes the process time from start to finish for life insurnace normally takes weeks rather than days. You can avoid the price hike by getting your cover in place before the changes take place – that probably means getting on with things now

If you would like a quote or would like to speak to an expert visit www.moneysworth.co.uk or call us on 0845 430 5200

……..and could you be paying less??

If you have a significant health condition such as diabetes or heart disease and your application for life insurance is accepted, almost always you can expect to pay higher premiums because of your health condition. Insurance companies charge more to cover the higher risk of the policy resulting in a claim.

But have you ever stopped to consider how the extra amount the insurance company wants you to pay compares with the rest of the market? If you did and you looked into this further you might be very surprised at what you might find.

Consider this example – Sarah and Sue are twin sisters aged 40, both non smokers and each requires £180,000 term life insurance over a 25 year term. The only difference between Sarah and Sue if that Sarah has no significant health conditions, whereas Sue has insulin controlled diabetes with average control.

Sarah is able to purchase the required cover from insurance company A at £15.34pm with insurance company B offering her the same cover at £15.73pm – or about 2.5% more than company A.

But for Sue its a different story. Due to her diabetes Company A’s premium increases to £28.08pm. But company B now want a whopping £48.81pm!  – which is now over 73% more than company A, or an extra £6,200 over the whole term of the policy.

So why does the differential go from 2.5% to 73%?

The answer lies in the different underwriting decision that that the company A and company B make after looking at the medical information. Not all companies make the same premium pricing decisions. In fact each UK insurance company generally has well over a dozen different premium ratings bands from which to choose when deciding which one to put you into and the key thing is that they dont all choose the same banding!

The moral of the story is that if you have a significant health condition shopping around is even more important than normal and could save you a small fortune. Even if you have alreay purchased cover in recent year after being diagnosed with your condition it is worth doing some research to see if you can save yourself some money.

Finally if you find thought of doing the necessary daunting (which it certainly can be) why not get a specialist broker to have a look for you.

www.moneysworth.co.uk offer a no fee life insurance shopping service for people with health conditions. Its simple to use and Moneysworth do the research for you. You can also call with your enquiry on 0845 430 5200.

I have just read an article in todays Cover Magazine here http://tinyurl.com/7dlbkwe  in which Zurich’s head of underwriting is quoted as stating that huge numbers of applications received contain ’embellishments’ of the truth about applicants’ health details.

Why would anyone wish to take out life insurance using information which if succesfully contended at claim stage by the life company might lead to the claim being disallowed? How pointless is that? In stead of (presumably) saving a bit on the premiums, non disclosure risks wasting every penny of the premiums.

Of course in such cases it won’t be the person who is insured who will ever know. It will just come as an extra horrible shock to those who are left. Messy!

As so many of our clients at Moneysworth have pre existing health conditions (including diabetes, heart conditions and other health conditions), it is common for life insurance companies to write to our client’s doctors for medical information before making a final decision. Though on the face of things this might be seen to cause a degree of anxiety during the waiting period, the reality is that at the end of the process clients can feel extra peace of mind, knowing that the insurance company holds a report from their doctor.

In fact in many cases clients say to us that they would prefer the life company to write to their GP so that they can feel safe knowing that medical information HAS been disclosed!

And of course by using Moneysworth our clients know that we have properly researched the market to find the best solution for them individually. Which is important when you consider that different insurance companies charge widely different prices for people with the same health conditions.

So if you have a health condition and want to apply for life insurance make sure that you fully disclose your health information and if possible use the services of a life assurance broker who really does specialise in helping people with pre existing health conditions. That way you will know that you are fully covered and at a good price. 

‘There’s nothing worse than an ex-smoker’ it’s said so I’ll start by fessing up to a previous habit. My purpose is not to moralise on the subject (we all make our own choices anyway), I simply want to look at how insurance companies currently view smoking and diabetes. Also just before I get going I should point out that we at Moneysworth help both smoking and non smoking diabetics to obtain life cover, day in day out.

It may seem a bit obvious but we and the life companies all know, as it says on our the packets, that smoking is bad for our health. As mentioned in previous blogs not only do life companies charge significantly higher premiums for smoking, the price differential has been increasing over the years too.

So what about diabetes and smoking? Well did you know that some life companies not only charge extra for both being diabetic and for smoking but also make a further third charge for smoking AND having diabetes? We also know of one major insurance company who automatically decline all type 1 diabetic smokers, regardless of how good the rest of their profile.

So why the nervousness? It’s all to do with cardio vascular risks. Diabetics are at increased risk of cardio vascular events and of course unfortunately diabetes is a progessive illness. Doctors are therefore keen to identify and manage key cardio vascular risk factors in their diabetic patients. Key factors include BMI and a family history of early diagnosis of heart conditions. Many diabetics take statins and in a significant amount of cases this is not due to the patient having a cholesterol problem, but to make sure that they don’t develop one in the future, as this would again provide an additional cardio vascular risk. Blood pressure is another key factor.

Perhaps to some readers the risk of cardio vascular complications for the diabetic does not seem too important or immediate. I would urge such readers to think again. Firstly and most obviously a lot of people do die of heart attacks – and for these the warning signs often come too late ornot at all. Secondly for those diabetics who do manage to survive a heart attack or who are diagnosed with angina for example, the chances of obtaining new life cover currently reduce to nil with all the major UK life companies. I will return to this issue in a later blog.

In the meantime what can smoking diabetics expect when applying for life cover? The truth is that many of them can expect to be declined by a lot of companies. You will save yourself a lot of time and heartache if you use the services of a broker who really specialises in health conditions.  

The significance of smoking for Type 2 sufferers who apply for life cover will depend upon the number and seriousness of other additional (especially cardio vascular) risk factors present as well as the level of smoking. At the very least the premiums will be significantly more expensive and at worst the applicant might struggle to get any life cover at all.

For Type 1 sufferers smoking is even worse and applications are even more likely to end in declinature. The reason why is as follows. Type 1 sufferers tend to have already been living with diabetes for a lot longer than the average Type 2 sufferer who is seeking life cover. This means that they generally start at higher rating bands to begin with. This also means that there is less room for the insurance companies to play with in terms of adding extra amounts of ratings for extra complications, before the cases turn into a ‘decline’. It is still possible for some type 1 diabetic smokers to obtain life cover but its more difficult than for type 2 diabetics.

The news for diabetics who are able to give up smoking for at least 12 months is generally more positive as they can still be treated as non smokers by the life companies. Stopping smoking is likely to result in a more favourable attidue from life companies and cheaper premiums.

So in summary our advice for smoking diabetics is
1) Do seriously consider giving up smoking if at all possible, most importantly it will improve your health in the long term and save you a lot of money.
2) When you give up smoking for 12 months do expect life assurance companies to seek to verify this by way of a cotinine test.
3) Don’t however delay purchasing life cover in the meantime. Waiting until you have stopped smoking for 12 months before applying for life cover may leave your family with little or no protection and the prospect of losing the family home. Its better to find cover now and protect your family even if you apply for a lesser am,ount of cover than you would ideally like. Most people will still stand a good chance of benefitting from reduced premiums when you have stopped smoking for 12 months anyway.
4) Use a specialist broker rather than trying to arrnage the life cover yourself – its quicker and you are likely to get a better result. But make sure the broker really is specialist in arranging life cover for diabetics first.
5) If you think it is unlikely that you will choose to stop smoking in the foreseeable future, then work on the basis that it will become more difficult and more expensive to obtain life cover in the future. Get covered now and keep hold of it!