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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 persons 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 which can cause concern. It’s important to know what might be on your medical report before applying for cover
  • 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 which 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:

  • 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 which 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 cheapest and who will accept you.

 

Ultimate guide to getting life insurance after a stroke

Getting life insurance after a Stroke

(Author: Daniel Sharpe-Szunko)

Having a stroke is incredibly difficult for the person and for their loved ones. Personally I’ve seen the effects of a major stroke through a very close friends parent which was a shock to say the least. In this case it was difficult to watch someone who was otherwise fit, strong and healthy to suddenly lose almost everything.

A stroke can vary from mild to moderate symptoms which will have relatively little impact on life, to severe with massive ongoing consequences. People who’ve had a stroke or someone close to them, will understand the difficulties. In this blog we explain how having a stroke can impact life insurance mainly, and travel insurance.

Why we’re able to provide this information

iam|INSURED is a passionate team of experts with over 20 year’s experience helping people with medical conditions to get life insurance. We’ve helped thousands of people to protect their families, homes and businesses regardless of their health. It’s our mission to drive for fair treatment for all of our customers and to help them get the best results.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke is a medical occurrence in the brain and the affects 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 tissue to die.

When brain cells start dying because of loss of blood flowing, parts of the brain cause certain areas of the body to change. 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 1600’s 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 was high levels of bleeding in the brain, whereas in others 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 in to various categories based on the causes. Following this, apoplexy then became known as a stroke and cerebalvascular 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
  • Haemorrhagic stroke will be caused by bleeding around the brain or in the brain
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) which 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 quicker 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 vesselsthat 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 for.

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 which 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 effects 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 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)

Can I get life insurance if I’ve had a Stroke?

Stroke is one of the most common medical conditions in the UK. People applying for life insurance after having a stroke are also high numbers. You can get cover in most cases where the symptoms are fairly mild to moderate and not much long lasting damage.

This can depend on how quickly your stroke was detected and how quickly you received treatment. Also it can depend on how severe the stroke was in terms of the level of the attack. In most cases where someone is applying for life cover after a stroke, insurers will want to view a medical report. This report can be obtained from your GP and will be requested and paid for by the insurance company, not you.

If your stroke was mild or a TIA (mini-stroke) then you should find insurance terms are positive. You should also find in more severe cases that cover will still be available for the vast majority of people.

The questions you will generally be asked about a stroke on a life insurance application will include:

  • Was your stroke caused by any of these? Blood disorder, high blood pressure, head injury, hole in the heart, migraines or other
  • How many times have you suffered from a stroke?
  • Have you been diagnosed with heart attack, atrial fibrillation, heart valve problems, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease or chronic kidney disease?
  • When did you have a stroke?

There are also some products which will offer cover if you have been declined by the standard insurers. If you’ve been declined life insurance before because you’ve had a stroke then it’s still worth asking us.

Has Coronavirus (COVID-19) made a difference to getting life insurance after a stroke?

The recent situation with the coronavirus pandemic has caused some changes to insurance underwriting. It is fair to say that the virus caused additional issues when applying for life insurance, especially for people with existing conditions. Some conditions which could be considered higher risk saw greater restrictions than others.

There were some extra questions which were added to most life insurance applications relating to Coronavirus:

  • Have you been told to self-isolate?
  • Are you experiencing any symptoms of Coronavirus?
  • Have you been exposed to the risk of contracting COVID-19?
  • Do you know someone with Coronavirus who you have been in contact with?

This situation was unprecedented in the global insurance market so re-insurers reacted quickly. This was mainly to avoid an increase in claims which would make cover less affordable in the future.

Some of the restrictions we saw for people with medical conditions such as stroke were:

  • Lower underwriting limits (higher risks not accepted or postponed)
  • Restrictions to levels of cover available

Which are the best life insurance companies for someone who’s had a stroke?

There are several major insurance providers in the UK, including Aegon, Aviva, AIG, Legal & General and Zurich. All of these companies have their own underwriting philosophy which can also change regularly. It can be tricky to find the best company if you’ve had a stroke without the help of an expert.

There are also lots of different levels of severity of stroke with different symptoms, damage and treatments. Each insurance company has their own strengths when it comes to underwriting so the right one for you could be any of these companies.

You should also know that if you’ve been declined by one or several insurance companies in the past, then that isn’t the end of the road. There are lots of companies to choose from as well as some more specialist providers for certain circumstances.

Is it possible to get critical illness cover if I’ve had a stroke?

Stroke is one of the most common medical conditions claimed for on critical illness cover. People who have experienced a stroke in some cases can still get this type of policy. This depends on the type of stroke and in mild cases where the stroke has caused no lasting damage.

A critical illness cover policy for someone who’s had a stroke generally won’t include cover for another stroke. There are policies which can be cheaper that will offer this type of cover with anything relating to stroke excluded.

Can someone who’s had a stroke get income protection?

If you’ve had a stroke and are able to go back to work then you might want to consider income protection. It’s possible to get this type of cover after you’ve had a stroke and there are some unique products available just for you.

There are lots of cover options with income protection which can be confusing. If you’ve had a stroke then it can make it even more confusing in some cases to find the right cover. Some policies will even offer cover for related conditions or symptoms so it’s important to get the full picture of what’s available.

Income protection can be affordable if the right cover options are selected. There’s lots of choice and options with this type of policy so make sure that you get all your facts before choosing.

How much is travel insurance if I’ve had a stroke?

Travel insurance after you’ve had a stroke can sometimes seem daunting and confusing. There are lots of different companies advertising travel insurance and lots of options available. It’s important to remember that some companies are more capable to help you and better equipped in terms of experience.

It’s very important to make sure that you disclose your medical history when applying for travel insurance. If you’ve had a stroke then you’ll be asked questions about your condition and your current health.

You should also be aware that you may need to provide some evidence before you travel as proof that you are fit to fly. If you fail to disclose facts about your medical history then you might not be covered which could be expensive if you need treatment abroad.

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

Even though 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 is classed as higher risk
  • 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 conditionsmay also have an impact on your application for life insurance due to the related risks. There are certain conditions which may be classed as higher risk such as heart attack, heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease

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

Guide to Diabetes Life Insurance

Guide to getting Life Insurance with Diabetes

(Author: Daniel Sharpe-Szunko)
If you suffer from Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes and you need to get some life insurance to protect your family, home or business then there are things to consider which will have an impact on your cover or premiums. iam insured is one of the top Diabetes life insurance experts in the UK with over 20 year’s experience in helping people with Diabetes to get the best cover and to save money on their premiums.

If you need life insurance to protect your loved ones then you should speak to one of our iam|INSURED Diabetes life insurance experts who will help you find the cover you need. We know more about Diabetes life insurance underwriting than 99% of advisers thanks to the fact that we have helped thousands of families to get the best cover at the lowest rates.

You should also know that Diabetes life insurance rates and cover has evolved greatly over the past several years thanks to point such as:

  • Improvements in underwriting
  • Higher levels of care
  • Medical advances
  • Morbidity and mortality data
  • Demand for Diabetes Life Insurance

Diabetes rates are increasing constantly in the UK as we often here in the national and local press so insurers are simply responding to demand. Recently there have also been a number of products released by some of the UK’s biggest insurers specifically designed for people with Diabetes. We are also proud to have assisted with the development of a number of Diabetes Life Insurance products to help our diabetes clients.

How Diabetes life insurance works

If you have been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes then you will find that there are additional underwriting requirements from life insurance underwriters to assess your application. Diabetes life insurance underwriting is based on the severity of your symptoms primarily and the treatment or medication that you receive to manage your condition.

Some of the main factors that have an impact on your Diabetes life insurance premiums and your cover

Hba1c/Mmol readings: The thing that will have the biggest impact on your Diabetes life insurance premiums will be your latest reading from your diabetes nurse or your GP. If you do not know your latest reading then you can either obtain this yourself from your GP or this can be collected by the insurance provider as part of the application process.

Date of diagnosis: As with most other medical conditions, you must disclose the date that you were originally diagnosed with your condition for your Diabetes Life Insurance application. This information will help underwriters to accurately review your case to ensure that they apply the correct decision when they make an offer of cover.

Treatment and medication: Another of the main points to be considered on any application for Diabetes Life Insurance is what treatment or medication you receive. There are three main types of treatment or medication which are diet controlled (Type 2), Medication such as Metformin (Type 2) and Insulin dependent (Type 1 and Type 2). Your rates for Diabetes Life Insurance will depend on your treatment which will be lower for diet controlled and higher for insulin dependent generally.

Smoker status: You should also be aware that when you apply for Diabetes Life Insurance and you declare that you are a smoker, it can cause issues. It is generally considered to be more high risk for people with Diabetes if the smoke or have smoked in the past 12 months because of the additional risks relating to the use of tobacco or nicotine products.

Diabetes related complications: There are a number of possible issues connected to diabetes that will be questioned on an application for Diabetes Life Insurance which include Retinopathy (including laser surgery), Neuropathy and Nephropathy. An underwriter will ask whether you have experienced any diabetes related complications as well as whether you have had any treatment for those complications.

Each application for Diabetes Life Insurance will be assessed in a similar way in terms of the information that is required, however certain underwriters will view this information differently. iam insured will help you to find the most suitable insurer for your Diabetes Life Insurance based on your individual circumstances and requirements.

About Type 1 Diabetes life insurance

Currently around 10% of all diabetics in the UK have Type 1 Diabetes so this is by far the least common type of diabetes but still seeing the same improvements in underwriting as Type 2 Diabetes. Generally this type of Diabetes is diagnosed younger in life and it is treated with a medication called ‘insulin’ to help control blood sugar levels which is how rates for Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance are generated. The risks for Type 1 Diabetes are very different to Type 2 Diabetes because of the vast differences between the two, even though they share the same group name of ‘Diabetes’.

Some of the main points to remember for Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance are:

  • Type 1 Diabetes critical illness cover and income protection are not currently available from any insurance provider in the UK
  • Rates for Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance can vary from standard rates for well controlled mild late onset to decline for severe or poor control
  • Medical underwriting for Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance will almost always require evidence from a Doctor, GP or diabetes specialist to support your application
  • Almost all applications for Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance will require manual underwriting so cover will not be accepted online immediately

As you will know, Type 1 Diabetes is a complex condition which can vary from mild and well managed to severe with some extreme complications that can cause major issues for Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance rates. You may not know however that underwriting and premiums for Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance will vary dramatically from one insurer to another so it is vital to make the right decision to get the best cover. Our team of Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance experts will talk to you about your condition to get the information that we need to make sure that we apply to the right insurance providers for you to protect your family, home and business.

About Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance

Type 2 Diabetes is by far the most common in the UK and globally of the Diabetes conditions with millions of people in the UK currently diagnosed. It is also said that currently there are over 4 million people in the UK alone who have been diagnosed with this type of Diabetes which is why Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance is such an important part of the insurance market. The main difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes is that 1 is a chronic medical condition and 2 is a lifestyle condition which can now be reversed and also can be controlled with diet rather than medication.

Some of the main elements to consider for Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance:

  • Type 2 Diabetes critical illness cover and income protection are currently available through a limited number of providers and based on underwriting
  • Rates for Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance can vary from a small loading (usually 25%) if well controlled with no complications and low Hba1c
  • Some providers will now accept Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance applications with no medical evidence in some cases
  • Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance underwriting can vary dramatically from one insurance provider to another

There are a number of standard variables which can affect your premiums and underwriting for Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance which can include:

  • Body Mass Index (e.g. Height, Weight and Waist size)
  • Smoker status (Smokers will pay more for Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance)
  • Hba1c reading (see below)
  • Complications (e.g. Neuropathy, Retinopathy, Nephropathy etc.)
  • Hospitalisation
  • Time off work

Most applications for Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance will ask about your health as well as your medical status to give underwriters a clear view of your circumstances. You should ensure that you disclose all information accurately to ensure that there are no questions about cover if you need to claim on your Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance.

How does Hba1c affect Diabetes Life Insurance premiums?

You will be required to disclose your latest Hba1c reading when applying for Diabetes Life Insurance which will be used to determine how well controlled your condition is. There are a number of other elements that will be considered when applying for Diabetes Life Insurance, however Hba1c is one of the main factors. Insurance underwriters currently assess an application for this type of cover based on whether your condition is well controlled with diet or medication.

Levels of Hba1c for Diabetes Life Insurance:

  • Under 6: Very well controlled
  • 6 to 8: Good control
  • 8 – 10: Average control
  • 10+: Poor control

You will find that your premiums and levels of cover that are available for Diabetes Life Insurance will depend primarily on your Hba1c reading followed by other Diabetes related elements.

How has Diabetes Life Insurance changed?

The way that Diabetes Life Insurance risk is viewed by insurers has improved greatly over the past 10 years and especially over the past 3 to 4 years. There has recently been an evolution of Diabetes Life Insurance products which has included several of the UK’s top insurance providers developing specific Diabetes Life Insurance products which are tailored to your needs.

iam insured advisers have specialised in Diabetes Life Insurance for over 10 years and has helped thousands of Diabetics to protect their families, homes and businesses. Our team of very highly experienced experts has a detailed and in-depth knowledge of Diabetes Life Insurance underwriting to help:

  • SAVE YOU MONEY (lower premiums)
  • Better cover (get quotes for Diabetes critical illness cover and income protection)
  • Guaranteed acceptance

Most of the top UK insurance providers now offer very competitive rates and products for Diabetes Life Insurance, critical illness cover (several insurers) and income protection (currently very limited). You should be able to find the Diabetes Life Insurance cover that you need to protect your family, home or business depending on your circumstances and your health.

Diabetes insurance products from iam insured:

  • Diabetes Life Insurance
  • Diabetes Critical Illness Cover
  • Diabetes Income Protection
  • Diabetes Relevant Life Insurance
  • Diabetes Key Person Insurance
  • Diabetes Travel Insurance

Useful links:

If you need help to get the BEST cover and the LOWEST premiums for Diabetes Life Insurance to protect your family, home and business then you should contact iam|INSURED today on 01244 732894.