As with life insurance, doctors have not diagnosed Margaret with any condition that could increase the chance of developing a critical illness (CI). But insurers are cautious about any heart-related conditions, and again, Margaret will face terms ranging from a premium increase, exclusion of heart conditions, or being declined the cover.
Again, who presents less risk of having a heart attack? Margaret with her collection of heart checks, or the person with no disclosures who has undiagnosed high cholesterol?
This is where Margaret’s protection application is going to be trickiest. Her hyper-mobility syndrome and history of anxiety issues could place her at a higher risk of being unable to work, if the symptoms return.
But why can she not have a standard income protection (IP) that simply excludes pre-existing medical conditions?
Why should mental health and musculoskeletal conditions, prevent someone from protecting their income if they get cancer?
The problem is musculoskeletal and mental health conditions account for the highest claims for IP. So insurers – who do want to pay claims – are worried about offering cover that might exclude the two largest portions of the policy claims set.
For Margaret, the thought of applying for insurance in today’s market is daunting. She has many questions and is unsure of the answers. Will the adviser that she speaks to understand her situation?
Will they know about her conditions and how they affect a person’s health? Will the insurer try to wrangle out of a claim later, saying she did not tell them everything about her conditions? Is she even insurable?
Here we have a woman who is in the prime of her life, has clear protection needs and wants protection insurance, yet she may struggle to obtain vital family protection due to a complicated market and lack of understanding of her medical history.
She has no life-threatening illnesses, nor does she have anything that predisposes her to develop illnesses such as cancer, a stroke or multiple sclerosis.
Just because Margaret has this medical history does not reduce her need for protection insurance. To keep premiums affordable, she may have to choose to insure herself for less, to make sure that she has at least something to leave behind for her family, should the worst happen.
To life insurance companies Margaret is an “impaired life”. A higher risk.
Perhaps it is time for a change in philosophy for life insurance companies. Rather than looking for a reason not to insure someone, we should look for ways to insure someone.
Now, to reveal what is likely the most obvious detail to this story, Margaret is me. I am one of the main reasons my company, Cura Financial Services, focuses on insuring “impaired lives”.