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Does my blood sugar levels (Hba1c/Mmol) affect life insurance?

How does my HbA1c reading affect Life Insurance rates?

(Author: Daniel Sharpe-Szunko)

One of the big things for insurers considering life insurance for people with diabetes is their HbA1c (Mmol) reading which is the blood sugar level. The term HbA1c is an abbreviation for Glycated Haemoglobin which develops when hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen through the body) meets glucose in the blood, which becomes glycated.

There are two types of measurements for this type of reading which is usually taken by your doctor, the readings can be given as mmol/mol or % (HbA1c).

HbA1c levels for people with diabetes are as follows:

Levels Mmol/mol Percentage (%)
Normal Under 42 Under 6.0%
Prediabetes 42 to 47 6.0% to 6.4%
Diabetes Over 48 Over 6.5%

Life insurance underwriting for people with diabetes has several levels to consider, that can have an impact on your premiums:

Levels Mmol/mol Percentage (%)
Low (good control) Under 53 Under 7.0%
Moderate (could improve) 54 to 74 7.0% to 8.9%
High (poor control) 75 to 85 9.0% to 9.9%
Very High Over 86 Over 10.0%

In more recent years there have been changes to the levels being accepted, so more and more we’re seeing insurers accepting people with readings over 10.0% (86Mmol/mol). We also understand that blood sugar levels is not an exact science, and there are situations where people could be asked by their GP to maintain higher readings, such as sportspeople.

High BMI and Overweight life insurance during COVID-19

High BMI and Overweight life insurance during COVID-19

One of the most commonly linked health problems with higher risks of serious illness from COVID-19 is high BMI and Obesity. There have been several major studies that have shown that people with a BMI of over 35 are at a 40% higher risk of death due to COVID.

There are currently some issues with life insurance underwriting in the UK and globally due to the current pandemic. Most insurance providers in the UK have restricted their limits so are currently only offering cover up to certain levels.

At iam|INSURED, we’re experts in helping people with medical conditions and health issues to get life insurance at a fair price. Our team of expert advisers speaks to literally thousands of people every month to help them to protect their families.

COVID-19 has caused insurance providers to impose extra underwriting restrictions which include BMI levels. We are constantly reviewing the situation and working with our partners which includes some UK’s top insurance brands.

High BMI (body mass index) and Obesity statistics in the UK

Obesity and high BMI are some of the most common health risks in the UK which is also the most common health disclosures in life insurance.

Facts and figures:

  • 62% of the UK population is overweight
  • 58% of women and 68% of men are overweight
  • Almost a quarter (25%) of UK adults are classed as obese
  • The UK has the highest obesity rates in Europe
  • Around 30,000 deaths in the UK are weight-related

What is classed as overweight or obese in the UK?

Weight classification in the UK is linked to Body Mass Index (BMI). Although this is not the most reliable method of calculating a person’s health, it does provide a good indication.

Example: A bodybuilder or rugby player can be healthy and athletic but have a high BMI due to their muscle mass

BMI calculator:

Current BMI categorisation in the UK according to the NHS are:

  • Underweight: Below 18.5
  • Healthy weight: 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight: 25 to 29.9
  • Obese: 30 to 39.9

How has COVID-19 affected Obesity and High BMI life insurance?

There have been a number of studies that clearly link high BMI and obesity with a serious illness or even death from COVID-19.

Previously, in life insurance in the UK, it has been possible to get cover with a BMI of over 50 from a select group of insurers.

BMI limits for life insurance before COVID-19:

  • Standard life cover: 50
  • Specialist life cover: 55

Current BMI limits for life insurance in the UK:

  • Standard life cover: 40
  • Specialist life cover: 44

What are the health risks for people who are overweight during COVID?

According to recent studies, obesity can increase the risk of death due to COVID-19 by 48%. The study which was carried out by the University of California (UNC) and the Saudi Health Council and World Bank, found that people who were obese were nearly 50% higher risk, which was “scary” a researcher said.

Another study found that people with a BMI of between 35 and 40, were at a 40% higher risk of death, and those with BMI’s of over 40 were 90% higher risk. This is compared to those who did not have a high BMI.

Other data sources found that 7.9% of critically ill patients with COVID-19 had a BMI of over 40, which was compared to 2.9% of the rest of the population.

Medical conditions linked to High BMI and Obesity:

What’s going to happen to life insurance rates for people who are overweight?

The current situation with the pandemic is constantly being reviewed by insurers and by medical experts. We are also speaking to our insurance partners on a weekly basis to find out whether anything is going to change.

The current underwriting guidance is not likely to change for the foreseeable future until the situation with COVID changes. Some insurers are suggesting that they may relax their rules after a 2nd wave or after a vaccine has been released.

What else can I do if I can’t get life insurance currently because of my weight?

There are certain insurance products that are available through iam|INSURED to help protect your family through this period. It’s our aim to provide some life cover to our customers where possible, regardless of their health.

Some of the other options include:

  • Over 50’s life cover (if applicable)
  • Guaranteed acceptance life insurance
  • Personal accident (with accidental death)

It’s important to make sure that you’ve got some cover rather than nothing and a lot of these products are cheaper than standard life insurance.

If you’re confused about getting life insurance and don’t know what to do then you can contact one of our experts free on 0800 009 6559

How are your life insurance premiums calculated

How are Life Insurance premiums calculated?

Author: Daniel Sharpe-Szunko

It’s important to understand how your life insurance premiums are calculated so you know what you’re paying for. Life cover is mainly designed to protect your family, home, and business if anything happens to you.

Ultimately if you were no longer around to support your family or your income was impacted because of an illness or accident, these policies would relieve the financial burden. Life insurance, critical illness cover, and income protection all come under the same umbrella of personal protection products.

Life insurance is the main type of cover because it’s the most common and the most affordable. This is simply because you’re much less likely to have to claim on a life insurance policy than critical illness cover or income protection.

A life policy is a contract between you (a policyholder) and an insurer. The policy becomes valid when premiums are collected (monthly or annually) after ‘acceptance terms’ are issued.

The policy is set to cover an amount (sum assured) over a period of time (term) to pay out to on death, serious illness, or accident (depending on the cover type).

What is life insurance?

A life insurance policy is simply a policy that pays out to a beneficiary (e.g. wife, children, partner, or family) in the event of death. This pay-out is usually a tax-free lump sum that can form part of your estate or this can be avoided using a Trust.

Life insurance also comes in 4 main forms which are all designed for different purposes depending on what you want to cover:

  • Level term (family protection) which is simply to protect your loved ones in the event of death
  • Decreasing term (mortgage protection) which is specifically designed to cover a mortgage (repayment mortgages only)
  • The whole of life is a more recent addition to the life insurance market which is a non-investment based guaranteed life cover
  • Family income benefit is also a newer type of cover which is specifically for your family and provides an annual income rather than a lump sum

All of these different types of life cover also cost different amounts per thousand pounds because of how they payout. The whole of life is always the highest because it is guaranteed to payout (as long as you continue to pay your premiums). Family income benefit is the cheapest because the amount of cover reduces faster than the other types of cover.

How are basic life insurance premiums calculated?

A life insurance premium is made up of several main factors before health and lifestyle are taken into account. These are the things that would be taken in to account to give a base premium, which includes:

  • Age (Note: every time you pass a birthday your premiums will increase)
  • Smoker status (Note: No nicotine or nicotine replacement products for at least 12 months to be classed as a non-smoker)
  • Sum assured (amount of cover)
  • Term (length of policy in years or to age)
  • Type of cover (e.g. level term, decreasing term, family income benefit or whole of life)

Note: Gender– In February 2012 the EU Gender Directive made it illegal to use gender to differentiate between individuals for insurance

What else is used to calculate a life insurance premium?

There are also several other elements that are used to calculate the premium that a person (policyholder) will pay for cover. The following elements are behind the scenes calculations which will also be different for each insurance provider.

Underwriting process

When an application is submitted to an insurer, it will enter one of several potential routes depending on the disclosures. Generally the more complex the disclosures (e.g. medical conditions, hazardous occupations, and dangerous activities) the more work that will be required at the back end.

The various types of underwriting processes are:

Underwriting Rules Engine (URE’s) which is where modern technology is used to apply a premium based on disclosures on an online application. Usually, an insurer will allow a system (URE) to make a decision up to a set threshold (level of risk)

Manual underwriting is simply where an application will be referred to an underwriter (a person who assesses risk) to calculate a premium. An underwriter will also have certain limits that they will be allowed to go to before the next stage

Nurse screening or telephone medical will be used to gather additional medical evidence via a professional (e.g. nurse). These tests will usually include BMI (height & weight), blood sugar levels, cotinine test (smoker test), and blood pressure

Full GP report (medical report) which will be obtained directly from your GP or Doctor to provide a full breakdown of your medical history. Medical reports are usually for more complicated medical conditions or where symptoms are more severe

Once the underwriting process has been completed by whichever process, a premium will be offered based on the information provided. Each insurer has a different set of parameters for each person’s circumstances based on their ‘underwriting philosophy’.

Mortality and Morbidity data

All life insurance offices will have a team of actuaries who are mathematical people that calculate risk. These people will constantly be looking at trends in data which helps them to make decisions for certain groups or risk categories.

Some of the most common types of morbidity are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia and influenza, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, and suicide.

Also, co-morbidity is where two conditions occur simultaneously in the same person. The conditions don’t need to be directly linked to a cause, however, they may often occur together. Some examples of co-morbidity are depression, diabetes, and obesity which often occur together but are not likely to have the same cause.

There is no exact science as to how an insurer will calculate a premium for an individual, however, the insurer will use this information to calculate the risk of death. It is a fair assumption for example that a person in their 50’s is more likely to fall ill or have an existing medical condition than a younger person.’

Costs and margins

Any business will need to make sure that it is profitable and insurance is no different. There is a cost associated with running an insurance company and for processing an application. Each insurer will have its own costs and these will be different depending on the size of the provider and how they operate.

There are several main costs that will be taken into account when processing an application for life insurance. Some of the main costs will include:

Underwriting – a team of underwriters is a cost to a business so that must be taken into account

Medical evidence – medical reports from a GP or doctor will cost anywhere between £60 and several hundred pounds

NTU rates (not taken up) – every time an application is processed that is either declined or not accepted, there will be a cost associated with that

Lapse rates (canceled cases) – if a policy is canceled within a certain period of time then it may then incur a cost to the insurer

Generally bigger insurance providers are more efficient than smaller or newer insurance providers so can therefore drive lower premiums. Profit margins for life offices are difficult to project as they are forecasts based on future premium collections and potential claims.

For more information about this subject, you can contact one of our team of experts at iam|INSURED on 01244 732896.

Life insurance rates for people with with high blood pressure

The facts about High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Author – Daniel Sharpe-Szunko

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, rarely ever has any visible symptoms, but can increase the chances of dangerous problems like a heart attack or stroke. As it has no noticeable indicators, the only way to find out if you have hypertension is to get your blood pressure checked. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to fatal consequences so a check can quite literally save your life.

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is when the pressure of the blood in your arteries is consistently too high. Arteries are the blood vessels that deliver blood from the heart to other areas of your body and you need blood pressure to get the blood moving. Your blood pressure will go up and down during the day depending on if you are exercising or resting. However, if your blood pressure is typically high at all times then it needs to be treated.

Every person’s blood pressure is different so what is high for you may not be high for someone else. This is why it is important to get it checked by a medical professional. Hypertension, if left untreated, can lead to serious conditions like heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure.

History of Hypertension

Although our understanding of hypertension has only solidified in the past few hundred years since Stephen Hales, an English Clergyman, made the first published measurement of blood pressure in 1733, human beings have been assessing the health of the heart as far back as 2600 BC. An illness of the heart known as hard blood disease was treated with bleeding from leeches by figures from Hippocrates to Cornelius Celsus. Medieval Persian medical texts refer to a disease named fullness disease, a disease that has the symptoms of what we now call Hypertension.

After the discovery of blood pressure, the physician Richard Bright noted the relationship between cardiac hypertrophy and kidney disease illustrating the dangers high blood pressure can bring to parts of the body other than the heart. Frederick Akbar Mahomed reported decades later the first example of high blood pressure without kidney disease by using a sphygmograph, a mechanical device used to measure blood pressure. This led to the discovery of high blood pressure being a general circulatory disease.

The concept of Hypertension came into practice when the invention of the cuff-based sphygmomanometer occurred in 1896 by Scipione Riva Rocci, allowing blood pressure to be measured in a clinic. In 1911, Eberhard Frank coined the term Essential Hypertension, which describes 95% of hypertensive patients today.

What are the different types of Hypertension?

There are two primary types of hypertension:

Essential Hypertension is when the cause of hypertension is unknown. These cases make up around 95% of the people who have the condition. This type of hypertension is diagnosed when your doctor has eliminated all other types of hypertension after noticing an extended period of high blood pressure.

Secondary Hypertension is a type of hypertension that is caused by another medical condition. It can be caused by anything from tumors to kidney disease and many medications. This type can often be controlled once the root cause is found.

What are the signs and symptoms of Hypertension?

Hypertension rarely ever has any noticeable symptoms, a dangerous characteristic when the consequences can be so dangerous. Many who have high blood pressure feel fine but it can sometimes result in blurred vision, nosebleeds, or headaches in some cases.

It is important to get your blood pressure checked at least every five years as a healthy middle-aged adult. More at-risk adults should get checked yearly.

What causes Hypertension?

We still don’t know what exactly causes high blood pressure in most cases but there are several factors that can increase the risk.

It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly after 40 as your chances of hypertension increase as you age. High levels of salt, alcohol consumption and smoking can all contribute to high blood pressure as can lack of exercise and sleep deprivation. It is therefore advised to make healthy lifestyle choices so as to decrease your risk.

People of African or Caribbean origin are also more susceptible to high blood pressure and the condition tends to run in families. If your family has a history of Hypertension elevates the chances of you contracting it yourself.

As mentioned earlier, the rarer cases of Secondary Hypertension are caused by another health condition or certain medications. The health conditions can range from kidney disease to diabetes. In some cases when medication, like the contraceptive pill, is responsible for Hypertension, the blood pressure can return to normal once the individual stops taking it.

How can you prevent Hypertension?

Although the exact cause of Hypertension is unknown, there are several steps you can take to decrease your chances of high blood pressure. These include:

  • Exercising for at least twenty minutes each day
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet and cutting down on salt
  • Keeping to a healthy weight
  • Watching your alcohol consumption

Hypertension is not something many of us will notice so it is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

Stroke statistics (UK)

According to Health matters, Public Health England’s (PHEs) professional resource, in 2017:

  • In the UK, high blood pressure is the third biggest risk factor for all disease after smoking and poor diet
  • Around one in three adults in the UK has high blood pressure. In England, 31% of men and 26% of women have high blood pressure
  • High blood pressure costs the NHS over £2.1 billion every year
  • Between 50-80% of people with high blood pressure do not take all of their prescribed medication
  • High blood pressure accounts for 12% of all GP appointments in England

Public Health England, Health matters: combating high blood pressure, January 2017 (references)

Hypertension awareness events

World Hypertension day is held in May to help raise awareness to people all over the globe and to educate the public about blood pressure problems

Blood Pressure Awareness week in the UK is also known as ‘know your numbers’ to help increase awareness around testing your blood pressure. Usually held in September and run by the Blood Pressure UK charity

National High Blood Pressure Education month is an American event to raise awareness around regular testing

Hypertension and Blood Pressure charities/Support (UK)

Blood Pressure UK
Website:http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/Home
Helpline: 020 7882 6218
Address: Wolfson Institute of Prevention Medicine, Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6BQ

British Heart Foundation
Website:https://www.bhf.org.uk/
Helpline: 0300 330 3311
Address: Greater London House, 180 Hampstead Road, London, NW1 7AW

Stroke UK
Website:https://www.stroke.org.uk/
Helpline: 0303 3033 100
Address: 240 City Road, London, EC1V 2PR

NHS Choices (Hypertension)
Emergency: Dial 111
Website:https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/

Why have I been refused life insurance and can I still get cover?

What to do if you’ve been declined life insurance in the past

(Author – Daniel Sharpe-Szunko)

A lot of people come to us after they’ve been declined life insurance previously. Nobody likes to be turned down for anything and life insurance is no exception. It can feel demoralising or even offensive if you have a medical condition and you get told cover isn’t available.

There are several main reasons why you might have been declined for life insurance by an insurer. It’s important to remember that insurers are all different so just because you’ve been told no before, that’s not always the end of the road. Feeling annoyed or frustrated is totally understandable and it’s natural to question whether applying again is worthwhile.

Why have I been declined life insurance?

You could have been refused cover for several reasons which are unfortunately quite common. Most life insurance applications are declined because of medical conditions, occupation, or dangerous activities.

If you’ve applied for cover in the past and your application was refused, then it might be because of:

  • Insurance advisor might not have the expertise and the skills to find an appropriate or suitable insurer
  • Insurance providers have different underwriting philosophies so some may decline cover where others could accept. Your adviser should be able to identify which insurers are best for each situation and person circumstances
  • Medical disclosures might be incorrect or inaccurate so it might be that there was a simple error with submitting your application
  • Medical evidence may be requested in some instances which can expose additional elements that can cause concern. It’s important to know what might be on your medical report before applying for cover
  • The timing could be wrong so you might have applied when your medical readings were high or not as well controlled. If you’ve made changes to your lifestyle or treatment which has improved your condition then things will have changed
  • Smoking is sometimes a red flag with life insurance and especially with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular, and lung disorders. If you quit smoking more than 12 months ago then definitely try again
  • Underwriting changes could mean that cover that wasn’t available before has now become available. Underwriting philosophies can and do change so you should keep checking just in case this happens

Does being refused life insurance have any impact on future applications?

You should know that insurers do not share personal information about individuals. The only real reason why being declined cover might have an impact in the future, is if you re-apply to the same provider.

It may just be as simple as you didn’t remember which company had declined you in the past, or you didn’t know who they were. It’s a common and simple mistake so don’t worry if this happens. This happens to lots of people and is certainly not an issue so let someone find the right insurance provider for you.

What are the main medical reasons for declined life insurance?

Some of the main things that could cause a medical decline for a life insurance application are:

  • A recent diagnosis such as cancer or heart attack
  • Ongoing treatment which includes chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • Combinations of conditions such as Diabetes and Heart Attack
  • Undiagnosed conditions where symptoms are identified
  • Outstanding investigations, results, or surgeries
  • Higher than normal results or readings (such as blood sugar, cholesterol, or blood pressure)

You should know that there are usually other options and solutions in a lot of these instances so don’t be put off. It might also be a case that cover may not be available now through mainstream insurers but there are other options.

Do life insurance companies share medical information?

The simple answer is no they don’t unless it is agreed by the insurance companies and the applicant. Generally, this does not happen more often than not because of the potential issues around data protection and sharing of personal data.

Do I have to pay more for life insurance because I’ve been declined?

Again the answer isn’t necessarily yes and some insurance companies might still offer cover and even be cheaper. Insurance underwriting is a complex calculation that is individual to each company and pricing will vary from one company to another.

If you’ve had a quote from a company in the past then by shopping around and applying to the right insurer, you might still be able to get cover cheaper. Your insurance adviser should help you to find which provider is the cheapest and who will accept you.

 

Facts and statistics for Stroke sufferers in the UK

Facts and statistics for stroke in the UK

What is a Stroke?

A stroke is a medical occurrence in the brain and the effects can be devastating to a person. Essentially the blood flow to your brain is obstructed because of a blood clot or broken blood vessel. Similarly to a heart attack, the lack of oxygen-rich blood can cause the tissue to die.

When brain cells start dying because of the loss of blood flow, parts of the brain cause certain areas of the body to change. The most common symptoms which are also shown on television include, loss of speech, change in facial expression, and inability to move. These adverts shown on TV are to help raise awareness for spotting early symptoms to help reduce further damage.

History of strokes and why is it called a stroke?

Medical experts and professionals are now aware of the causes of a stroke which wasn’t always the case. A stroke was first identified over 2,400 years ago by a gentleman called Hippocrates (also known as ‘the father of medicine’). Originally a stroke was called ‘apoplexy’ which is Greek meaning “struck down by violence”.

In the 1600s a doctor called Jacob Wepfer then made a discovery which was that disruptions in the blood supply to the brain caused deaths from apoplexy. In a proportion of these cases, there were high levels of bleeding in the brain, whereas other arteries were blocked.

Decades later, medical sciences made further developments regarding the causes, treatment, and symptoms of apoplexy. One of the major advances was dividing apoplexy into various categories based on the causes. Following this, apoplexy then became known as a stroke and cerebrovascular accident (CVA).

What are the types of Stroke?

It is now known that there are three different types of strokes which have different causes called:

  • Ischaemic stroke is where there is a cutting off of blood supply to the brain due to a blockage. This is the most common variation accounting for approximately 85% of cases
  • A hemorrhagic stroke will be caused by bleeding around the brain or in the brain
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is also known as a ‘mini-stroke’ because the symptoms are similar but don’t last as long. The reason for this is because the blockage is only temporary.

What are the signs and symptoms of having a stroke?

You might have seen adverts on TV about what to do if someone is having a stroke and how to spot the signs. The reason for this is so people can react quickly to reduce long-lasting damage. Adverts by major stroke charities and associations created ‘FAST’ which stands for:

  • FACE – one of the most visible signs of someone experiencing a stroke is facial changes. This includes the face dropping on one side, unable to smile, and mouth or eyes dropping
  • ARMS – if someone is having a stroke then they will be unable to lift both arms and keep them elevated
  • SPEECH – a person having a stroke will have slurred or incoherent speech so will be very difficult to understand. The person may not even be able to speak at all in some cases as well as find it difficult to understand you
  • TIME – Finally it’s time to contact the emergency services so call 999

What causes someone to have a stroke?

The organs in the body need two things to survive which are oxygen and nutrients that are provided by blood. The brain is one of the most important organs and if blood is restricted or stopped then it causes cells to die. This can ultimately cause brain injury, long term disability, or even death.

The two main causes for someone having a stroke are:

  • Blood supply stopping which is due to a blood clot
  • Weakened blood vessels that supply blood to the brain burst

The other type of stroke which is known as a TIA (transient ischemic attack) is a temporary blockage. This is commonly known as a mini-stroke because of the shorter period of time that symptoms last.

Someone who has had a TIA should seek immediate medical attention as this can be a warning. People who have had a mini-stroke will be at a higher risk of having a full stroke in the future.

There are also other conditions that will increase the risk of having a stroke, these include:

  • Atrial Fibrillation (irregular heartbeats)
  • Diabetes (Type 2 mostly)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Raised cholesterol

Is it possible to recover after having a stroke?

Every stroke is different and it affects people in different ways, which can vary from a minor attack to severe.

It is possible for someone to experience a stroke and recover to a reasonably good level. A minor stroke can even be more or less undetectable with very minor symptoms that only last for a short period of time.

Severe strokes can clearly cause more damage which can be long-lasting or in some cases lead to death. Roughly 1 in every 8 stroke patients will not survive having a stroke and will pass away within 30 days.

Stroke statistics (UK)

According to the recent 2018 ‘state of the nation’ report produced by the leading Stroke charity, The Stroke Association:

  • Over 100,000 strokes per year (1 every 5 minutes)
  • 1.2 million survivors in the UK (stroke patients)
  • World wide someone has a stroke every 2 seconds
  • Stroke is currently the 4th biggest killer in the UK
  • Over 400 children have a stroke per year
  • 1 in 3 stroke survivors get depression
  • Approximately 65% of stroke survivors will have a disability
  • People under 65 are 2 to 3 times more likely to be out of employment for eight years after having a stroke
  • Stroke costs approximately £26 billion each year

*Stroke Association ‘State of the Nation’ report 2018 (references)

What potential issues are there for someone who’s had a stroke needing life insurance?

Even though the cover is generally available for someone who’s had a stroke, it’s important to know everything. As a company, we don’t like to focus on the negatives but there are a few things to be aware of. Some of the possible issues are:

  • Multiple strokes can cause insurance underwriters to be more cautious when considering your application. There are many instances where a person can suffer multiple attacks which are classed as higher risk
  • The reason for the stroke can play a part in whether or not you would be restricted in terms of your options for cover in the future
  • Further medical conditions may also have an impact on your application for life insurance due to the related risks. There are certain conditions that may be classed as higher risk such as heart attack, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease

We regularly speak to a customer who has had problems applying for coverage in the past, especially with conditions like stroke. It’s not the end of the road and we’re very often able to get coverage in this situation.

Stroke awareness events

World Stroke Day is a global event usually held towards the end of October to help raise awareness through all of the leading global stroke organisations

Stroke Awareness Month is an event held in the UK in May which is run by the charity, The Stroke Association.

Stroke charities and support for people after a stroke (UK)

Stroke Association
Website: https://www.stroke.org.uk/
Helpline: 0303 3033 100
Address: Life After Stroke Centre, Church Lane, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, B61 8RA

Different Strokes
Website: https://differentstrokes.co.uk/
Helpline: 0345 1307172
Address: 9 Canon Harnett Court, Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes, MK12 5NF

Headway (The Brain Injury Association)
Website: https://www.headway.org.uk/
Helpline: 0808 800 2244
Address: Bradbury House, 190 Bagnall Road, Old Basford, Nottingham, NG6 8SF

NHS Choices (Stroke)
Website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stroke/

If you’ve had a stroke and need help or information about life insurance or travel insurance then please call us on 01244 732895. We’re here to help and we’ve helped thousands of people like you over the past 20 years.

References:
https://www.stroke.org.uk/sites/default/files/state_of_the_nation_2018.pdf

Useful Facts about Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in the UK

Facts and Figures about Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

(Author: Daniel Sharpe-Szunko)

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious medical condition that has two main types known as type 1 and type 2, but there are also a number of other types of diabetes as well. It is also a chronic condition which means that once you have diabetes then you will generally have it for the rest of your life.

The body normally produces glucose (sugar) which we all need for energy and insulin which is a hormone that allows the glucose to enter our bloodstream to fuel our bodies. Glucose which gives us energy is produced when our bodies break down a thing called carbohydrates which comes from the food we eat and what we drink, the glucose then gets released into our blood.

Our pancreas produces insulin which the body uses to control the amount of glucose that we have in our bloodstream. This process then allows the body to manage how much glucose getting into our cells, but for people with diabetes, this system doesn’t work properly.

Some of the main symptoms for someone with diabetes include:

  • Excessive urination, usually at night
  • More thirsty
  • Being tired and lethargic
  • Weight loss
  • Thrush or genital itch
  • Blurred vision
  • Scars and wounds don’t heal as quickly

Some people with type 2 diabetes live with these symptoms for up to 10 years before they get them checked by a medical professional.

What are the main types of Diabetes?

There are two main types of diabetes as well as a number of other less common and less well-known types.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type which affects roughly 90% of people who have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK. People most commonly and mistakenly in a lot of cases, associate this type of diabetes with a poor diet, lack of exercise, and being overweight. But this is not necessarily the case as type 2 diabetes can develop for a number of different reasons.

Generally, type 2 diabetes will develop later in life and occurs because the body still produces insulin but the insulin can’t work properly which means that glucose levels continue to rise. Over time, higher than normal sugar levels in the body can cause potentially serious and long-lasting damage to your heart, eyes, feet, and kidneys.

Managing type 2 diabetes is usually done with diet, tablet (Metformin), or in some cases insulin injections. It has been known in recent years for people with mild type 2 diabetes to reverse the condition with a specific diet and healthy lifestyle including exercise.

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong (chronic) and serious medical condition that is currently found in approximately 8% of people with diabetes in the UK. Generally, this type of diabetes occurs more in younger people and is also known as ‘childhood diabetes’ or ‘juvenile diabetes’.

The main difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes is that in type 1, the body actually attacks the cells in your pancreas that would normally produce insulin. Whereas in type 2 the body can still produce insulin, in type 1 the body simply does not produce any insulin which can have a dramatic effect on us and our entire bodies.

Having known someone with quite severe type 1 diabetes for many years I can say from personal experience that this condition can be very scary. Treatment that has included many years on kidney dialysis, eventually receiving a full kidney transplant after several years on an NHS waiting list, and almost complete loss of sight in both eyes.

Gestational diabetes is the last of the more common types of diabetes which gets its name from how it develops in pregnant women. This type of diabetes can affect almost any woman at any stage of pregnancy regardless of your diet, lifestyle, or health. Gestational diabetes will also generally go after the pregnancy or can sometimes develop into type 2 diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is a newer type of diabetes that has been developed in the modern medical world to help people to manage their health and make sure that they don’t develop full-blown diabetes. Someone may be told by their GP or a medical professional that they have pre-diabetes and then advised on how to manage their health to stop them from getting diabetes.

Diabetes Statistics (UK)

According to the latest statistics by the leading diabetes charity, Diabetes UK, the latest figures for the UK are:

  • 3.9 million people living with diabetes (plus almost a million with undiagnosed diabetes – making the total over 4.8 million people)*
  • More than 100,000 people were diagnosed with diabetes in 2019 in the UK (projected to increase to 5.3 million by 2025)*
  • 1 in 15 people living in the UK has diabetes
  • 6 in 10 people with type 2 diabetes has no symptoms
  • People with type 2 diabetes are approximately 50% more likely to die early*
  • Risks of Heart Attack or Heart Disease is much more likely in someone with type 2 diabetes (almost 2 to 2.5 higher risk)*

*The latest figures are provided by Diabetes UK, Diabetes Prevalence 2019 report.

Does diabetes affect my being able to get Life Insurance?

People living with diabetes can be extremely healthy and should not be too greatly affected when applying for life insurance. It is increasingly likely that you’ll also be able to get accepted for life insurance without the need for further medical underwriting so can be covered immediately so you won’t need to provide evidence from your GP or Diabetic Nurse. Our experts at iam|INSURED has worked very closely with some of the UK’s biggest and best insurance companies to make sure that people with diabetes get the lowest rates available and the best cover.

A standard life insurance application will ask questions about your general health and lifestyle to gather information about you. In the case of someone with diabetes, you’ll be asked to provide specific information about your condition, such as:

  • Do you take insulin?
  • Which type of diabetes do you have?
  • When were you first diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Has your diabetes affected any other areas of your body (e.g. eyes, kidneys, nerves or limbs)?
  • Have you ever been hospitalised because of your diabetes?
  • When did you last get your blood glucose levels checked by your GP?
  • What was the latest HbA1c (or Mmol) reading?
  • Have you been diagnosed with High Blood Pressure or Raised Cholesterol?

These types of questions and some others will enable underwriters to assess your application and apply an accurate decision. Another major positive impact on premiums for people with diabetes over the past 15 years has resulted from insurers competing for policyholders with diabetes. You should also know that life insurance rates and terms for people with diabetes are constantly improving so it’s always worth reviewing existing policies as well.

Can I get Critical Illness Cover with Diabetes?

In recent years we’ve found that more and more that people with diabetes are able to get critical illness cover again thanks to changes in underwriting rules. Currently critical illness cover is only available for type 2 diabetes from the mainstream or more popular high street insurance providers. It is possible to get more specialist critical illness style products for people with type 1 diabetes which come with slightly different terms to the standard cover.

You can now get critical illness cover through the major insurance providers as long as you fit certain criteria. These criteria questions include:

  • Do you smoke?
  • Have you got type 2 diabetes?
  • Do you have any diabetes complications (e.g. Retinopathy, Neuropathy or Nephropathy)?
  • What is your height and weight (BMI)?
  • Is your diabetes well controlled and readings low (HbA1c / Mmol)?

As long as you can answer these questions positively then you should have no problem being able to get critical illness cover. These terms are constantly changing so you’ll find that this will change over a period of time which we’ll be able to keep you informed about through our blogs and news articles.

Check out our quick guide to Critical Illness Cover for Diabetes

Diabetes Awareness events

Due to the high levels of diabetes both in the UK and globally, there are a number of major events that have been dedicated to raising awareness for diabetes. These events are annual events that help to raise money for research as well as raise awareness for people living with diabetes and the risks of developing diabetes.

Diabetes events include:

World Diabetes Day is an annual event on November 14th to increase awareness around the world for diabetes. The reason that the event is held on this specific date is that it coincides with the birthday of Dr. Frederick Banting who helped to discover insulin

Diabetes Awareness Week is held in the UK usually in June and is operated by Diabetes UK which is the biggest British diabetes charity

National Diabetes Month is primarily an American event which is held by the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and the American Diabetes Association

Diabetes Charities and Support organisations (UK)

These charities and companies provide vital information, guidance, support, and services to people with diabetes, they include:

Diabetes UK

Link: https://www.diabetes.org.uk

Helpline: 0345 123 2399

Address: Wells Lawrence House, 126 Back Church Lane, London, E1 1FH

Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation

Link: https://www.drwf.org.uk

Helpline: 0239 263 7808

Address: Building 6000, Langstone Technology Park, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 1SA

Diabetes.co.uk

Forum: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/

Address: Technology House, Sir William Lyons Road, University of Warwick Scient Park, Coventry, CV4 7EZ

For more information or if you’ve got any questions about insurance for people with diabetes, call iam|INSURED on 0800 009 6559 or submit an enquiry.