In Focus: When Clients' Plans Change  

Three strikes and you're out - for insurers

Simoney Kyriakou

Simoney Kyriakou

Boy, I hope I don't get seriously ill in quarter one 2022.

Not something one usually hears people say, even during a pandemic.

I mean, it's not the best conversation starter, is it - more of a conversation closer?

Yet it is actually what I have said to myself several times in the past few months as several insurance providers have found reasons to refuse me income protection cover.

If my circumstances change, as world events have dictated they well might, I have no financial protection in place for my son, unless I die and my life insurance kicks in. 

But if I get seriously ill, then what happens?

Full disclosure - I have fully disclosed everything. Even things from 2007 and 2008. All of them I would consider minor, save for the IVF, stillbirth and C-section. 

I have never smoked. I do not drink alcohol. I do not do any risky sports or have a risky occupation. I have rarely had a day off sick in my life. 

But what I did have was a damaged rotor cuff muscle in 2017, thanks to some over-enthusiastic swimming, which required some exercises from Nuffield Health to put right.

I had lower back ache in 2020 thanks to having to pick up a baby while attempting to lose the excess weight I'd gained in pregnancy as a result of Mirror Syndrome.

I had minor complaints over RSI due to the same thing, and shingles in 2018 thanks to the steroids I'd been put on as part of my fertility protocol. 

And, as my amazing, patient, persistent insurance adviser has said, for most providers this is a 'three strikes and you're out' when it comes to income protection policies. 

When a provider like LV=, with all its technological innovation, cannot implement personalised underwriting processes to assess exactly how risky I am, as a 40-something non-smoker with no family history of anything nasty, then something has to be wrong with the way buying cover works. 

When a provider has to resort to looking at things that happened in 2017 in order to find a reason not to insure you, there has to be something wrong.

And these are minor things which have been resolved or which the GP themselves (bless them) have written to confirm have resolved themselves with no further symptoms.

We always talk about the protection gap and lament the fact more people do not have income protection.

This is why.

It has proved nigh-on impossible for someone like me, with never so much as a broken bone, who has a healthy lifestyle and family members with good health, to get IP.

I understand underwriting. I understand medical risk assessments. But I do not understand why written explanations from my GP carry no weight with insurers' medical teams.