News & Views

In our previous article, we gave an example of how charity signposting works. A young father with a lifelong heart condition tried for over two years to find an insurer willing to offer him Life Cover. Then a UK heart charity providing him with a list of brokers who specialise in assisting people with health conditions to find suitable insurance.

Likewise, a growing number of financial advisors now signpost to us when they have clients whose health condition is deemed to be higher risk, and the firm struggles to find an insurer willing to offer Life Cover to those clients.

Heart conditions and circulatory conditions are among the most common health conditions we see in the clients referred to us by financial advisors.

Why are more people with heart and circulatory problems being referred to us by financial advisors?

There are currently around 7 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK – that’s over 10 percent of the population[1]. An ageing and growing population and improved survival rates from heart and circulatory events (such as heart attack) could see this number increase in years to come. From conversations we have with clients, we know that many people wrongly assume that their heart condition automatically means they aren’t eligible to get any Life Insurance.

Around 80 percent of people with heart and circulatory diseases have at least one other health condition[1], which makes it even harder for these people to find an insurer willing to offer them Life Insurance, even with the help of their financial advisor.

Why should financial advisors signpost their clients to a specialist broker?

Financial advisors don’t want to tell their clients they are uninsurable. This is why a growing number of financial advisor firms have an arrangement with specialist brokers like Moneysworth to handle their declined Life Insurance cases.

They care about their clients and realise they have a duty of care to help them find the insurance they need, even if that means referring the client to a specialist broker. This duty of care is the key reason why financial advisors should have contingency plans for signposting their clients to a specialist.

The financial advisors who come to us rely on our specialist expertise. Our careful research not only helps to ensure their client has the best chance of being offered cover, but quite often results in that cover being offered at a surprisingly affordable price.

Most important of all, our comprehensive approach also means the client can feel that the insurance cover they’ve purchased is fit for purpose so that – if the worst happens – the policy will pay out.

Insuring the ‘uninsurable’ – a case study:

A financial advisor firm recently approached us having tried, unsuccessfully, to find Life Cover for their client who has a heart condition.

The client is a male in his early forties who was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy over ten years ago. Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle which affects its size, shape and structure.

At this time, he was also fitted with an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) – a life-saving device which is surgically implanted inside a patient’s chest if their cardiologist believes there is a real risk that the heart could suddenly stop beating. An ICD is a defibrillator that automatically detects if the heart stops and immediately shocks the heart to start it beating again.

The client has annual medical reviews and, despite the seriousness of his heart condition, he has no symptoms whatsoever.

We were not surprised that the client and his financial advisor had experienced difficulty in finding an insurer willing to offer cover. We knew that the majority of Life Insurance companies will decline an application where an ICD had been fitted – especially given the underlying heart condition diagnosed at such a relatively young age.

When we completed our research for this case, virtually all insurers in the marketplace confirmed they would decline an application for Life Insurance. But because we were thorough, we found two insurance companies willing to give further consideration to an application, subject to seeing a GP report.

With the client’s permission, these two insurers obtained a GP report including a letter from the cardiologist.

One of these insurers then declined the application, but the other offered mortgage term assurance with no exclusions and for the full sum the client needed (over £200,000) for the whole term of the mortgage (over 20 years) for less than £100 per month.

A satisfying result for us, for the financial advisor and for their client!

Notes:

1. Figures obtained from British Heart Foundation’s “Heart Statistics” publication, 2018: https://www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/our-research/heart-statistics

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Here at Moneysworth, we’re big fans of signposting. What do we mean by that?  

For an insurance provider, it’s about considering consumers’ needs – even if that insurer cannot accommodate the special needs that an increasing number of consumers have.

For example, what happens when a consumer is shopping around for life insurance and they are refused cover because they have a health condition which makes them a higher risk for insurance? This can, often incorrectly, cause consumers to think that they’re uninsurable and to give up looking for cover.

The need for signposting is now being recognised by some health charities

Consumers with health conditions rely on charities for information and guidance to help them overcome the complexities they face, including the difficulties of searching for suitable insurance cover.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is the UK’s leading charity for funding research into heart and circulatory diseases and their risk factors. For several years, Moneysworth and other specialist brokers have been listed [1] on the BHF’s website or in its guidance publications. We don’t always know how people find us, but we do know from our conversations with clients that many people come to us after contacting the British Heart Foundation. This is signposting in action!

Insuring the ‘uninsurable’ – a case study:

The review shown at the top of this article was written by a male client in his late twenties who was determined to protect his family’s financial future.

The problem was that, because of his heart condition, he couldn’t find an insurer who would offer him Life Cover. Soon after being born, he’d been diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve and coarctation of the aorta. When he was a teenager, he had open heart surgery, followed by a week in hospital and six months recuperation before returning to school.

Ever since then, he’s had annual checks at a hospital, but has no symptoms and doesn’t even need to take medication. He has no other health issues and no family history of heart defects or heart disease. He is able to work in a physical role and has an active lifestyle. Indeed, the reason he has a mortgage is because he has a steady job and income!

Yet every insurer he contacted declined to offer him Life Cover because of his medical history of having a rare heart condition.

After years of unsuccessfully searching for an insurer who would offer him suitable cover, he was signposted to Moneysworth via the British Heart Foundation.

With our specialist knowledge of the insurance market, combined with our medical knowledge, we were able to help the client find the cover he needed to protect his family’s financial future. He successfully applied for and started a Decreasing Life Insurance policy for almost £400,000 to cover a repayment mortgage over 35 years, for just under £50 per month.

Signposting: a little guidance can make a huge difference

Thanks to the British Heart Foundation making the effort to provide appropriate guidance and signposting, many people with heart conditions are able to find Life Cover after they’ve been declined by mainstream insurers.

Notes:

  1. ‘Life insurance with a heart or circulatory condition’ https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/support/practical-support/life-insurance
  2. Link to customer’s review shown in the illustration: https://www.feefo.com/en-GB/reviews/moneysworth-ltd/5c01683ae4b0d6ca69e0c17c/customer-review-absolutly-amazing-100-recommend?displayFeedbackType=SERVICE

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This February is National Heart Month, a time for each of us to reflect on how we can improve the health of our heart. Living with a heart condition can affect not only the individual but their loved ones too.

Having a heart condition has become one of the most common medical problems among clients who ask us to help them find Life Cover.

  • Heart and circulatory diseases cause more than a quarter (26 per cent) of all deaths in the UK; that’s nearly 160,000 deaths each year – an average of 435 people each day or one death every three minutes.
  • There are around 7 million people living with heart and circulatory disease in the UK: 3.5 million men and 3.5 million women.
  • An estimated 915,000 people alive in the UK today (640,000 men and 275,000 women) have survived a heart attack.

Source: British Heart Foundation statistics

Is it possible to get Life Insurance if you have a heart condition?

Finding Life Insurance that suits your needs can be much harder if you’ve had a heart attack, a cardiac arrest or are living with a heart condition. Moneysworth specialise in helping people find Life Cover even if they have a health condition or have been refused life cover elsewhere.  

The most common heart condition we see in our work is a previous heart attack (also known as myocardial infarction). However, over the last seven months, we’ve helped over ninety people with a wide variety of other heart conditions to find life cover. Many of these clients have now successfully started their policy or are currently in the process of applying for cover.

Moneysworth are experts in helping people with heart conditions to find Life Insurance

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to post a series of articles about the circumstances behind some of our clients’ search for life cover: why they needed life insurance, the problems they’d previously encountered when trying to apply for cover elsewhere, and the policy options and prices we were able to obtain for them.

It may surprise you to see how people who are living with a serious heart condition – or even multiple conditions – are still able to find cover, thanks to our team’s expert guidance and assistance.

From 1st July 2018 through to 31st January 2019, Moneysworth helped clients with the following heart conditions to apply for Life Cover :

  1. Angina
  2. Aortic Regurgitation
  3. Aortic Stenosis & Mitral Valve Repair
  4. ARVC (Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy)
  5. Atrial Fibrillation
  6. Bicuspid Aortic Vale
  7. Bicuspid Aortic Valve & Heart Beat Irregularity
  8. Bicuspid Aortic Valve & Coarctation Of The Aorta
  9. Blocked Artery / Stenosis
  10. Brugada Syndrome
  11. Cardiac Arrest
  12. Cardiac Arrest & Arrhythmia
  13. Coarctation Of The Aorta
  14. Coarctation Of The Aorta & Chronic Heart Disease
  15. Congenital Aortic Stenosis, Bicuspid Aortic Valve & Atrial Fibrillation
  16. Congenital Bicuspid Aortic Valve & Mitral Valve Prolapse
  17. Congenital Heart Defect
  18. Congenital Subaortic Stenosis
  19. Coronary Artery Angina & Angioplasty
  20. Bicuspid Aeortic Valve
  21. Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  22. Endocarditis
  23. Heart Arrythmia
  24. Heart Attack
  25. Heart Attack & PFO Hole Closure Surgery
  26. Heart Attack & Triple Bypass
  27. Heart Attack & Quadruple Coronary Artery Bypass
  28. Heart Murmur
  29. Heart Murmur & Prolapsed Mitrial Valve
  30. Heart Weakness
  31. Hole In Heart & Missing Valve
  32. Hole In The Heart From Birth & Aortic Valve Replacement
  33. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
  34. IHD & Atrial Flutter
  35. LQTS & Tachycardia
  36. Mild Cardiomyopathy & Left Brundle Branch Block
  37. Narrowing Of The Arteries
  38. Paroxsymal Atrial Fibrillation
  39. Paroxysmal AF
  40. Quadruple Bypass
  41. Severe Aortic Regurgitation
  42. Slight Heart Murmur, Enlarged Heart & Atrial Fibrillation
  43. Slight Hole In The Heart
  44. Slightly Enlarged Heart
  45. Suspected Angina, High Blood Pressure & High Cholesterol
  46. Takayasu Arteritis
  47. Transposition Of Great Vessels & Palpitations
  48. Transposition Of The Great Arteries, Pulmonary Stenosis & Coarctation Of Aorta
  49. Triple Bypass & Coronary Artery Disease
  50. Type 1 Brugada & ICD

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This week is National Obesity Awareness Week – a time to reflect on how being overweight can affect health, how to eat more healthily, and to consider being more physically active.

The risk of developing weight-related health issues is why Life Insurance companies need to know your BMI (body mass index) – a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy.

Does having a high BMI mean that it’s impossible to find Life Insurance?

Well, it does usually mean the price of the insurance is higher compared to someone with a healthy weight and no other health problems. But you may be surprised to learn that, even with a very high BMI, it’s still possible to get Life Insurance.

So, which of the example customers in the picture above could be eligible to get Life Insurance?

The answer is ALL of them!

Each of the four people has a BMI of 55, which health professionals consider to be in the very high range of obesity levels.

Different insurers set different maximum BMI limits. So, even though these four people have a high BMI, some insurers may offer them Life Cover. That decision, and the price offered, will of course depend on other factors too, such as the applicant’s age, other health conditions and any relevant family medical history.   

Do you know your BMI?

Here’s a range of examples of BMI (Body Mass Index) for adults, who have different heights and weights:

Life Insurance Obesity - BMI examples

If you know your height and weight, you can use the NHS’s Healthy Weight Calculator to find out your BMI.

If you have a high BMI but no other health problems, why is your Life Insurance price higher?

Even if you’re still in your 20s or 30s, you feel healthy and high BMI is your only medical issue, you may be charged more for your insurance cover.

This is because insurers don’t just consider your present state of health – they also assess the effect of the raised BMI throughout the proposed term (length) of the insurance cover that you’re asking for.

What if I lose weight after I’ve started a Life Insurance policy?

Recently, we’ve found some insurers who will offer to reduce the monthly cost for your life cover if your BMI improves due to weight loss.

What about Critical Illness Cover and Income Protection?

Critical Illness cover and Income Protection cover are typically harder to obtain for people with a high BMI, especially if there are other health conditions to consider. But it may be still be possible for some people – it all comes down to your overall circumstances: BMI, age, other health conditions, family medical history, etc.

How can you increase your chances of finding Life Insurance if you have high BMI?

Most mainstream insurance companies will have a tolerance level for BMIs up to around 40-45, providing there are no other health conditions present.

If you have other healths conditions too, or have a BMI higher than the mid forties, your search for cover is mostly likely going to be harder.

This is why asking an expert to shop around for you is a good idea. Moneysworth have over fifteen years of success in finding life insurance for people with high BMI and other health conditions. We are usually able to obtain life cover for a maximum of BMI of 55, and in some cases even up to 60. We don’t charge clients any fees to search the insurance market, so it won’t cost you a penny to ask us to fully explore your Life Insurance options.

Learn more about Life Insurance and high BMI / Obesity.

January 17th, 2019

Posted In: BMI, life insurance, Obesity

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Having  type 1 or type 2 diabetes often makes it harder or even impossible to find suitable Life Cover, Critical Illness Cover and Income Protection.

Life insurance companies typically have a range of different premium rates for people with diabetes. Different companies will place the same person in different price bands. The process of applying for cover can often take weeks – or even months – if medical reports need to be obtained and checked. And although the situation has somewhat improved for Life Cover in recent years, most insurers are still unwilling to consider Critical Illness or Income Protection for people with any type of diabetes.

How has the prospect of finding Life Cover been improved for people living with diabetes?

Well, there’s definitely some good news here.

In recent years, we’ve seen improvements in the prices for Life Cover typically offered to people with diabetes.

Another encouraging development we’ve seen with a couple of insurers: after starting the life insurance policy, the insurers reward policyholders by reducing premiums if the customer can demonstrate improved control (i.e. if their HbA1c reading comes down by a certain amount). We think this is a very encouraging sign, not just because it can make cover cheaper, but because it demonstrates that the insurance market is starting to consider how to adapt to the unique circumstances of people with long-term health conditions.

If certain criteria are met, it’s now possible for people living with diabetes to get a “fast-track” application, which means cover could be in place immediately. Less stress, more peace of mind – exactly the kind of innovation we want to see for people with long-term health conditions who want to protect their financial security and their family’s future.

What about Income Protection and Critical Illness Cover for people living with diabetes?

A year ago, there were hardly any options for people with diabetes to obtain Income Protection Insurance. For most it simply wasn’t available.

Moneysworth campaigned to improve that situation, and we’re pleased to see at least some people in the insurance industry listened to us!

With expert guidance, it’s now possible for some people who have type 2 diabetes to get Income Protection with no exclusions, subject to certain criteria. But for people with type 1 diabetes, although there is some availability, it’s extremely limited.

The situation for Critical Illness Cover has been slow to improve. It is now possible for people living with diabetes to obtain Critical Illness Cover – but the options are very limited and the chances of being offered cover are even narrower if they have type 1.

The small signs of progress we’ve seen in the market are a welcome start, but the fact is most insurance companies still don’t offer either of these protection products to people who have diabetes.

We want the insurance industry to see people living with long-term health conditions as a priority.

The charity Diabetes UK reports that there are around 3.7 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, and that figure is predicted to rise to 5 million by 2025*.

In light of this, we firmly believe that the insurance market needs a surge of innovation to make its products and services more forward-thinking and inclusive.

Moneysworth wants to see cover options and availability broaden for people living with diabetes, and so we’ll continue to lobby the insurance industry.


* Source: Diabetes UK ‘Facts & Figures

Yesterday the Advertising Standards Authority listed the 10 most complained about adverts for 2015. Several of the ads related to health issues, including two smoking related advertisements, but the one that really caught my eye was the British Heart Foundation advertisement.

In the advertisement Ben is seated in his classroom at his desk. The classroom is full but his father crouches down in front facing him and Ben asks him why he is there. His father tries to tell him in a quiet voice that he won’t be there anymore and that he is sorry. As both Ben and the viewer try to take in what is being said, the headmaster appears at the door and asks Ben to come outside, by which time you realise that Ben is about to be given the life changing news that his father has died of a heart attack.

Like many when I first saw this advert I found it very moving. The advertisement succeeded in conveying the immediacy of the shock of receiving such terrible news, completely out of the blue. Indeed such is the sudden impact of the shock that Ben simply seems to be trying to process the information he has just been given, as though he has not had time yet to emotionally react or think about what it means. By the time the headmaster opens the door, you feel that you know what is coming next. You are left wondering at how Ben’s life has changed forever in an instant by an outside event over which he had no control. You feel sorry for Ben, desperately sorry.

One reason why this advertisement chimed with me is that I lost my own father prematurely to a heart attack. I was present when the heart attack occurred and I remember sitting with my arm around my mother in the ambulance speeding towards the hospital wondering what the outcome would be. I remember waiting at the hospital as other family members arrived and then after sometime being given the final news. Little did I know then that a number of years later I would experience a similarly shocking event, a phone call in which I would be given the devastating news that another member of my immediate family had died suddenly, leaving a young child.

However the other reason why I think this advertisement is so strong and believable is because it leaves the viewer wondering what the future holds for Ben now that his father has died. My own experience has taught me that the consequences of someone passing on can be profound and long lasting for other family members in all sorts of ways. A sudden death in the family is a game changer for everyone.

I have to confess that when I first saw the advertisement, before I knew the identity of the advertiser, I thought it was advert for life insurance. It is not clear whether or not Ben’s father had life insurance and of course for Ben and his family the first things on their minds would be the funeral arrangements, their grief and their other emotions. However sooner or later practical questions would need answering. How much capital and income will Ben’s mother have? If they have a mortgage is there enough to pay it all off? If not will Ben’s mother have sufficient income to pay the mortgage and keep the family going, or will the family need to move and will Ben have to change schools? What about further down the line as Ben grows older? How will the choices and options available to him match up with what his father would have wished for him? To what extent might those options be limited by a lack of available funds?

In my own case, my father was turned down for life insurance and he was therefore unable to leave any significant financial resource for our family. Thankfully there have been significant developments since then both in terms of the availability of life insurance for people with health conditions and in the medical treatment of heart conditions.

But getting back to the advertisement who were the complainers, why were they complaining and were they right to complain? The advertising standards authority said there were 219 complainers who considered the advertisement to be “distressing for adults and children” (although it seems that steps were taken to avoid showing the advert during children’s programming).

It would not be surprising if the advertisement evoked distress in the minds of some who had lost a close family member or friend and inevitably some people might be upset by what they saw. However just because it might have made for difficult or uncomfortable viewing, does that mean the advert should have been banned? The positive purpose of the advert was to draw public attention to the valuable work of the British Heart Foundation and to show us that heart disease can be fatal with profound life changing consequences. Hopefully the advertisement might have inspired many to consider what now lay ahead for Ben and others like him similarly affected. Viewers might also have been moved to consider what action they might take to reduce their own coronary risks (lose weight, more exercise, stop smoking, etc.) and perhaps to review whether they have sufficient family life insurance protection. Viewers might also consider getting involved in supporting the work of the BHF. For example the Nation Of Lifesavers project aims to make significant improvements in the way the nation deals with cardiac arrests, so as to make a much needed step change in the number of survivors of cardiac arrest outside of hospitals.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that there is clear evidence in the UK that many families do not carry sufficient life insurance to protect and support the needs of the family should the worst happen. It is frankly astonishing to read various researched reports consistently suggesting that at least 50 % of mortgage holders do not have life insurance to cover their mortgage. One of the reasons sometimes given by those who perhaps should have life insurance but who don’t, is that they don’t like talking about death. But sticking your head in the sand because you feel uncomfortable thinking about death is no excuse for leaving your family and children exposed to the financial consequences of your premature death.

So hats off to the British Heart Foundation for their thought provoking and powerful advertisement. We applaud you!