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Review 2020 in life insurance with iam|INSURED

Look back at 2020 with iam|INSURED

Here we take a few moments to reflect on a year that has proven to be the most difficult in over 20 years in the life insurance industry.

Most of us want to put 2020 well and truly behind us for many different reasons. There are so many stories of suffering and hardship through the past 12 months that it seems difficult to look back.

We have learned a lot over the past 12 months about how we deal with so many tough situations that we never thought were possible.

It seems crazy not to use this time to reflect and learn from what has been the worst period in history for many of us.

What has 2020 taught us?

Some of the main things that we’ve learned over the past 12 months are how we must adapt more quickly. Here’s how we think that the life insurance industry needs to be better in the future.

  • Underwriting medical conditions: we know that life insurance can be frustrating and especially for people with a pre-existing medical condition. Since we started helping people with medical conditions to get life cover over 20 years ago, things have never been so difficult. The recent pandemic has set life insurance back to the dark ages for many so we need to be able to offer fair priced cover to more people
  • Life insurance premiums: the cost of life cover for many people is either too expensive or too confusing. We need to take some time to consider how we make life insurance more affordable and more obtainable for more people, especially those with more complex needs. Some people are now paying more than they should be because of how little choice there is currently
  • Access to life insurance: there’s very little help available for people with pre-existing medical conditions to be able to buy life cover online. With so much technology available, it seems crazy that someone with a common medical condition like diabetes, can’t get life insurance online
  • Awareness and understanding: we speak to hundreds of people every week about life insurance and still very few are educated about how important life cover is and what it does. The team are constantly asked about what life cover does and what it is for which seems like madness when you think about what might happen to a family with no cover
  • Support for customers: we should be providing better support services for customers to help them through a very difficult time. Some customers with pre-existing medical conditions might not be able to get the same cover again because of new underwriting restrictions

FAQ’s from customers in 2020

Our team of experts speaks to people every day and this year we had to answer some very different and difficult questions relating to COVID. We’ve had to learn a lot about some very unusual areas of the life insurance industry over the past 12 months to help our customers to protect their families.

Does life insurance payout for COVID?

This is one of the biggest questions that we’ve been asked by customers in the past 12 months which is clearly very new. Most life insurance policies don’t have exclusions apart from suicide for the first 1 or 2 years.

You should be covered for any claims related to COVID, even if you have a pre-existing condition that might be considered higher risk. There are some medical conditions that have been closely linked to higher risks due to COVID, such as:

If you have a life insurance policy in place then you’ll be covered for COVID and anything relating to your condition.

Can we have a payment holiday for my life insurance?

In some cases, there are schemes available to help policyholders to keep their cover if you’re struggling to make your payments. As with mortgages and loans, this is very new and will potentially continue for a period of time after the pandemic.

You should contact your insurance provider or your adviser to find out what support is available. iam|INSURED has also in some cases helped customers where possible because we know how difficult it can be to get the same cover again.

The pandemic has caused many people to suffer financially so we’re aware of the current problems. As a business, we are committed to helping our customers as much as we can through this period and beyond.

How many life insurance claims have been paid out because of COVID?

Some people have been quite rightly uncertain about taking out a new life insurance policy during the pandemic. As we now hopefully draw towards the end of the most difficult period for the life insurance industry, we can see how many lives have been changed.

Many of the top life insurance companies are starting to release figures to show how many COVID related claims have been paid. Some of these figures are available on the internet to show exactly how much money has gone to families who have been affected by the virus.

Legal & General (L&G) COVID related claims paid between March 1st and December 1st 2020:

  • Total claims paid: £42.8million
  • Claimants: Over 1,000
  • Average age: 68 years old
  • Gender: 71% male

Clearly showing the importance of life insurance, especially through these incredibly uncertain times.

Latest developments with life insurance during Coronavirus

How is COVID-19 changing life insurance for people with medical conditions?

We’re keen to keep people up to speed with the latest developments to life insurance underwriting in the UK during COVID-19. We wrote a recent blog after the first phase of changes to underwriting rules for life insurance which explained how things had changed initially due to Coronavirus.

Since then there has been a second wave of changes which has impacted many people looking for life insurance, especially people with medical conditions. It is always going to be difficult for insurers to strike a balance between trying to offer cover to people and protecting the existing policyholders. In this recent round of developments, we have seen insurance providers becoming even more cautious with offering terms.

Unfortunately, currently, we’re seeing vast numbers of applications either being postponed for several months or even declined cover altogether. We’ve spoken to a number of the senior underwriters within some of the insurers and they all were uncertain of what might happen in the near future.

In this article, we’ll try to explain how this might impact you if you are looking for life insurance and especially if you’ve got a pre-existing medical condition.

This information is specifically for people with pre-existing medical conditions who are trying to get life insurance at the moment. If you’ve had or got symptoms of COVID and you’re wondering what you can do about getting life insurance then you should speak to one of our advisers and we’ll help you to sort out the best way forwards for you. It might be that you’ve tried to get cover and been told it’s not possible at the moment but that’s not necessarily the best advice so let’s see what we can do.

Why has Coronavirus changed life insurance underwriting?

Some of the reasons why life insurance terms have changed in the past several weeks and months are extra mortality risks (higher probability of death) and levels of uncertainty never seen before. For certain people classified as ‘higher risk’ because of their health or medical conditions, it has become difficult to predict mortality.

Life insurance underwriting is based on historic data which shows how likely someone will be to claim due to their health within a period of time. With the current levels of unknown risks connected to COVID-19, it’s now become incredibly difficult to calculate this risk.

Which medical conditions have been affected most?

Unfortunately, the changes are currently more or less the same across the board so regardless of your medical condition. Recent news based on statistics has shown that there are certain medical conditions specifically linked to being higher risk because of Coronavirus.

Higher risk medical conditions include:

  • Diabetes: Due to the added complications that diabetes brings around cardiovascular risks and other stresses on the body. It has been suggested that this species causes an elevated risk if contracting COVID-19
  • Respiratory Conditions: There are a number of major respiratory conditions which have also been identified to be specifically higher risk, these include conditions such as Asthma
  • High BMI: People who are obese or who have a higher than normal BMI could also be at risk of developing more severe symptoms from Coronavirus
  • Age: Anyone who is over a certain age has also been identified as being more at risk of suffering from symptoms of COVID. This is simply because of how the virus attacks the body and how strong the immune system is to be able to deal with that
  • Ethnicity: This is potentially the most strange of all of the higher risk categories and the one which makes the least sense. It has also been identified that people from certain ethnic backgrounds are considered to be at higher risk

When is life insurance going to get back to normal after COVID-19?

As part of our role in the industry as experts, we’re always keen to understand what’s happening and to campaign for our clients. We’ve had a number of in-depth conversations with several senior underwriters from some of the UK’s biggest insurers. Most of the conversations have been around what has led to the decisions to make changes as well as considering what might happen in the future.

Clearly there’s a lot of uncertainty in the current situation around what’s happening in the UK and the rest of the world. Some countries have managed to control the impact of Coronavirus and limit the number of people contracting the virus as well as fatalities. Unfortunately, the UK is one of the worst affected areas and this can be attributed to a number of factors:

  • Population density
  • Elderly population
  • Population living with medical conditions

Based on current projections, it is being suggested that we would expect the current restrictions to last for a period of 6 months. This is currently an estimate and this figure could change dramatically depending on how the next several phases of lockdown go.

What’s happening to life insurance because of COVID-19?

There have been some key changes to how life insurance is being underwritten through the Coronavirus pandemic. Some of these include added limits to maximum levels of underwriting being accepted, maximum sum assured, and maximum age.

The main areas which have changed in the past couple of weeks are:

  • Underwriting limits: We’re now finding that some insurance companies are imposing lower limits to the levels they will consider. Previously we reported on underwriting limits being slightly lower than normal, however, the recent changes have gone significantly further
  • Age restrictions: Recent signs have shown that insurers are imposing further restrictions on the ages of people that they will consider for life insurance

Through this current crisis and ongoing pandemic, we’re seeing unprecedented limits being imposed on life insurance limits. We will continue to report on developments as they happen over the coming weeks and months.

iam|INSURED is committed to helping our customers and making sure that they get fair treatment from insurance companies. We regularly campaign for fairer terms with all of the top insurance providers in the UK to give you better coverage at an appropriate price.

More information about Coronavirus:

NHS 111https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/

NHS Choiceshttps://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Gov.UKhttps://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support

Coronavirus financial help:

If you are suffering financially and need support because of Coronavirus then you might find the following pages useful.

Money Advice Servicehttps://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you

Citizens Advicehttps://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/if-you-cant-pay-your-bills-because-of-coronavirus/

MoneySavingExperthttps://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/uk-coronavirus-help-and-your-rights/

If you need any more information about Coronavirus and life insurance then you can call our team of experts on 01244 732895… our advice is absolutely FREE

Is Coronavirus (COVID-19) Affecting UK Life Insurance Applications?

Has The Coronavirus Pandemic Affected Life Insurance Applications In the UK?

This blog is to help anyone who’s currently thinking about or looking for life insurance and for people with life insurance. If you want to know how Coronavirus has changed and is changing life insurance in the UK currently then this will hopefully help to explain.

iam|INSURED is the #1 insurance expert for people in the UK to protect their families and homes who have pre-existing medical conditions including all Chronic and Acute conditions. We have been helping people to get cover to protect their loved ones for over 20 years, and we’re constantly looking at how the insurance market is changing to help our customers.

How has Coronavirus affected Life Insurance and other Types of Cover?

We’re in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic and seeing constant changes to how some of the biggest life insurance companies in the world are underwriting our cases. The impact has clearly been dramatic for the life insurance market which has had an impact on some of the clients that we deal with, especially those with severe medical conditions or symptoms.

This is a very difficult time for everyone so hopefully, this little bit of information will help to give some clarity about life insurance. Here are some of the main changes so far in the UK:

  • Limits to Maximum amounts of cover available (Max. sum assured).
  • Questions specifically about Coronavirus (see below).
  • Underwriting limits lowered due to additional mortality risks.
  • Postponed decisions/offers of terms (between 1 and 6 months on average).
  • Restrictions for certain medical conditions (e.g. Diabetes, Heart, autoimmune, Neurological, and HIV).

There are still plenty of options for people to get life insurance and for our customers as well who have a pre-existing medical condition. You may have already spoken to another adviser or company who has told you that cover is not available but that may not be correct so it is definitely worth speaking to our iam|INSURED experts.

What questions will I be asked about Coronavirus on my insurance applications?

Life insurance companies have developed specific questions to assess the risk around Coronavirus for new applications. This is simply to make sure that they have the full picture when they assess your health and medical circumstances.

Coronavirus questions will include:

  • Have you tested positive for Coronavirus?
  • Are you currently in self-isolation?
  • Have you had any symptoms of Coronavirus?
  • Have you been in direct contact with anyone who has been diagnosed or suspected of having a Coronavirus?

You should make sure that you answer all of these questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge so there are no questions further down the line.

If you’re classed as being high-risk because of your medical condition such as people with severe Diabetes, Asthma, Heart Conditions, Auto-immune Diseases, and a number of other conditions, then you won’t be classed as ‘self-isolating’ unless you’ve got symptoms. People who are being advised to stay at home to keep themselves safe will just be classed as a standard low-risk individual.

Will I be covered for Coronavirus?

If your life insurance application is accepted now or has been accepted previously then you will be covered for if anything happens to you as a result of being diagnosed with Coronavirus. A lot of people are understandably concerned about whether they are covered for death or illness if they get tested positive for COVID-19 and we’re constantly speaking to insurers to make sure that there are no restrictions.

Ultimately if you get offered life insurance, critical illness cover or income protection either now or have taken out cover previously then your policy will pay out if anything happens to you due to Coronavirus. While this remains a very difficult time for a lot of people, we’re here to help so feel free to give us a call and ask us any questions that you’ve got.

Is Life Insurance more expensive because of Coronavirus?

As yet there have been no changes to premiums for life insurance, critical illness cover, income protection, or health insurance as far as we can tell from the quotes that we are producing. There are some restrictions in place around the amount of cover that you are allowed to apply for which is primarily dependant on your age.

We may see some changes to pricing in the future but this will depend on other external factors that may have an impact on the life insurance companies and re-insurers themselves. We’re trying to keep up to date on how things develop and will keep everyone informed through our Blogs and Social Media channels.

Can I still get Life Insurance if I’ve had Coronavirus?

Currently, it is questionable for people who have had Coronavirus and recovered as to whether they will be able to still get life insurance because there are still a lot of unknowns about the virus. Most insurance providers will consider an application on a case-by-case basis which will need to be reviewed by an individual underwriter which also depends on which company you are applying to.

Some insurance providers have reacted more cautiously than others in this current situation and global crisis so we’re making sure that we spend a lot of time keeping up with developments as they happen. We know that the pandemic still has several months until we’re due to see any relaxation in rules or even for things like social distancing so this impact could continue until August or even September.

What if I need to get a report from my GP?

In some cases where there is a pre-existing medical condition, there may be a requirement to provide some further medical information which will generally be a medical report from your GP or specialist. In this particular period where the NHS is already incredibly stretched and there are issues with staff levels in certain areas of the country especially, it could be difficult to get a copy of your medical report.

  • Some insurance providers are even stopping using medical reports completely to reduce the impact on the NHS.
  • Other insurance providers are applying for medical evidence from GP surgeries but have stopped calling or chasing the surgery to get the report back.

It could be that if a medical report is required that there could either be a delay for a period of time which could be a few weeks or even a few months depending on where you are and how busy your surgery is. Obviously we will only apply to companies that we know are accepting medical evidence and we will continue to take the advice of the NHS on what we can do to get these reports sent back.

Why has my Life Insurance application been postponed?

If you’ve recently made a life insurance application and the decision from the insurance company has been to postpone your application, then we’ll hold on to your details and re-submit your application as soon as we can. In some cases, we’re seeing decisions to postpone an offer of coverage from between 1 and 6 months to allow for the Coronavirus peak to pass and to return back to some levels of normality.

We’re of course doing our utmost to make sure that we push every single application through, but there are some cases that we simply can’t do anything with at the moment. We appreciate that this is far from ideal and in a lot of cases, we also don’t feel that these decisions are fair.

If you need any advice or help with your existing life insurance or what to do about getting a new policy then we’re here to help and our advice is free so please give us a call on 01244 732895 today