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Who's the cash machine in your family?
Who’s the cash machine in your family?

Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, it’s no surprise that people are considering the potentially serious financial consequences, such as not having insurance in place to cover their income or mortgage payments.

For people looking at arranging cover now, and for those who have existing cover, a key concern is will the insurer pay out if a claim is made relating to Coronavirus?

The UK protection insurance industry (Life Insurance, Critical Illness and Income Protection) has a very positive record on life insurance claims. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), in 2019, 98% of all protection insurance claims were paid out.

We will have to wait until 2021 to get the overall UK insurance payout statistics for this year, but the insurer LV= has recently announced that they have so far paid out around £2.5 million in claims relating to Covid-19.

The key point to remember is that for Life Insurance, Critical Illness and Income Protection policies, Coronavirus has not changed the way in which claims are assessed.

Will my Life Cover policy pay out if I die of Coronavirus?

Short answer: Most likely, yes.

People who develop very serious Coronavirus symptoms will likely have to go into intensive care and be put onto ventilators. Some will recover but, sadly, some will die. For Life Cover policyholders who die as a result of the Coronavirus, a life insurance claim should not be affected, meaning that their loved ones will receive a payout from the insurer.

Will my Income Protection Cover policy cover me if I get Coronavirus?

Short answer: Probably, but it would need to be after the end of the deferment period – and, due to the nationwide lockdown rules, deferment periods are now generally longer for new policyholders.

Income Protection is designed to pay the policyholder part of their income if they’re unable to work due to illness or accident. If someone is not able to work due to ‘shielding’ or ‘self-isolation’ then that would not be covered by Income Protection insurance.

For people with existing Income Protection policies which have been taken out prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, the terms and conditions remain unchanged. Insurers will pay Coronavirus-related claims on existing policies once the policyholder has reached the end of the deferred period if they still unable to return to work due to their illness.

For new Income Protection applications, some insurers have increased the minimum period before a claim can be made after the policy starts (this is known as a deferred period). The aim of this increase is to ensure that any period of self-isolation would have come to an end before a claim can be made. If the policyholder is ill with Coronavirus at the end of a deferred period and beyond, they would be eligible to submit a claim.

Will my Critical Illness Cover policy pay out if I get Coronavirus?

Short answer: In most cases no, but in a few cases possibly yes.

Most critical illness claims are unaffected by the current crisis because most policies pay out on the diagnosis of one of the qualifying named critical illnesses on the policy. The majority of existing policies will have been taken out before the virus was known about, and new policies do not include cover for Coronavirus.

The most likely situation where a Critical Illness claim relating to Coronavirus may be paid would be if the policyholder needed to be put onto a ventilator. Insurance companies’ policies differ in the terms about the amount of time and degree of loss of respiratory function to be eligible to make a claim.

Are prices increasing for Life Insurance, Critical Illness and Income Protection insurance due to Coronavirus?

Short answer: Generally, not at the moment.

So far, we’ve not seen a general increase in the cost of standard premiums, but this might change in the future if insurers feel it’s necessary to do so.

However, if you already have a policy in place, your monthly premiums are likely to be fixed or guaranteed (unless you have reviewable premiums, low start options or index linked cover).  

Now might be a good time to explore your Life Insurance options to protect your family and home in the event of death and/or critical illness and to insure your income.

Access to insurance: people crossing a bridge over a maze

For several years, Moneysworth has been involved in a campaign to radically improve access to Life Insurance for people with health conditions. Now a growing number of large insurers, industry organisations and charities are committed to improving access to Life Insurance.

As of yesterday, a manifesto has been submitted to Parliament which sets out how people with health conditions should be offered greatly improved access to insurance. This is the culmination of a huge, focussed effort from many industry stakeholders, and we are proud to be a part of this project.

The result is a comprehensive agreement which will help make protection insurance more widely available. It achieves this by setting out principles for participating companies to follow when they are unable to offer cover to a client.

From the consumer’s point of view, it will mean they will be given help with finding specialist assistance to help them continue their search for cover.

The agreement, which is voluntary, has been signed by insurers such as Legal & General, Lloyds Banking Group, Bank of Scotland, Scottish Widows, plus several key adviser firms, industry groups and associations. In time, we anticipate many more insurers, advisers and industry organisations will also participate.

Moneysworth was asked to be involved in developing the agreement because of our expertise in helping clients with health conditions, assisting with their Life Insurance needs – and, in particular, our breadth of knowledge about the many obstacles people face.

Many people believe that they are uninsurable

It is true that some people are uninsurable, however many people are more insurable than they think.

Often people just assume that insurance is not possible. For example, sometimes customers who have had a heart attack tell us they have always assumed that, due to their heart attack, they are uninsurable. The same goes for many people with other health conditions.

Many wrongly assume that if one insurance company declines their application, so will all the others.

Typically, the application process can be lengthy, as insurers often need to obtain medical evidence from a doctor’s surgery. To get a decline decision at the end of this process can be demotivating.

However, the length of the whole process is normal and other insurers may decide to offer cover – so the key message is “Don’t give up”.

With the new agreement announced yesterday, hopefully many people who have had an application for protection insurance declined will now be able to find a suitable specialist broker like Moneysworth.

Moneysworth has helped many people with health problems to find suitable Life Insurance.

This is because we’re well placed to help people in this situation. We have detailed knowledge of the Life Insurance market, and we have in-house underwriting expertise, which helps as we gather appropriate medical information to enable us to approach different insurers across the market, in our search for solutions on behalf of our clients.

Moneysworth has over fifteen years of success in finding cover for people with mental and physical health conditions.

Examples of Life Insurance prices we found for clients with health conditions:

  • 48 year old, non-smoker, previously suffered a heart attack
    Required £80,000 of level life cover over 20 years
    Standard rate for someone with no health problems: £17.91 (for comparison)
    We researched the market and found three insurers who declined to offer cover – and nine insurers who were willing to offer cover, with prices ranging from £70.59 down to just £44.78 per month.
  • 22 year old, non-smoker, history of mental health issues (overdose and OCD)
    Required £125,000 of decreasing life cover over 23 years.
    Standard rate for someone with no health problems: £4.64 (for comparison)
    We researched the market and found three insurers who declined to offer cover – and seven insurers willing to offer cover, with prices ranging from £78.22 down to just £7.37 per month.
  • 29 year old, non-smoker, with a heart condition (born with hole in heart & leaking valve)
    Required £260,000 of decreasing life cover over 25 years.
    Standard rate for someone with no health problems: £7.77 (for comparison)
    We researched the market and found eight insurers who declined to offer cover – and three insurers willing to offer cover, with prices ranging from £86.17 down to just £22.65 per month.

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.

January 22nd, 2020

Posted In: access to insurance, life insurance

Tags:

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

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

Tags: , ,

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!

Hello and Welcome!

We are proud to launch our new website which with a great deal of consideration, has taken over a year to develop.

The new site is very different to the old one and we thought it might be useful to explain some of the thinking that has gone into the design and content.

Firstly we were aware that our website had not kept pace with the changes in our business and especially our client groups. Put simply any visitor to the old site might well conclude that our life cover services were designed only for people with pre existing health conditions. However the truth is that we arrange life cover for a much wider range of clients, including people with no health conditions, business owners and clients with occupational and/or overseas travel issues.

Secondly we knew that the old website looked dated and the new site needed a much fresher approach. Financial services websites generally are often criticised for being somewhat dull, so it was important to us that visitors find the new site visually stimulating and engaging.

Our clients receive a bespoke personal service and we wanted the new website to visually send a clear message to visitors, that we are different. We have tried hard to make the site easy to read and visually engaging by breaking information down into manageable amounts. We have used space to de-clutter and chosen a font which feels personable (and different again) and is easier on the eye.

Functionality was another key consideration. We have tried to make the new website easy to navigate and as simple to use as possible. We have tried to make it easy for customers to communicate with us, whether making an enquiry or asking us any questions (e.g. email, phone, live chat). It’s really easy for visitors to share a link to any page they think may be of interest with a friend. Underlying all of this is a clear invitation for visitors to engage with us.

Finally we wanted to create a website that visitors find genuinely useful and compelling. In short we want people to leave our site feeling their visit has been worthwhile and the key issue here is the quality of the content.

Here we have tried as much as possible to put ourselves in the shoes of our clients. We asked ourselves time and time again ‘what are the questions that customers really want answers to?’ ‘How are customers feeling as they approach applying for life insurance?’ ‘What concerns do they have?’ ‘What information might help customers feel more confident’? For example, some people with pre-existing health conditions may fear that life insurance premium rates would be completely unaffordable in their particular situation. They may fear the embarrassment explaining that it was unaffordable. For some these potential negative outcomes might cause them to avoid making any enquiry at all. It is for this reason that we have decided to include a selection of real cases, showing actual premium and cover amounts achieved for some of our customers on the diabetes and heart condition pages of the site. Throughout the website we have similarly tried to include lots of additional information which we think visitors might find useful.

When it comes to life insurance, we believe that what customers are looking for above all, is to feel confident in the decisions they are making. We hope you find our website of genuine value and we look forward to being of service.