Since lockdown, many advisers have found it harder to arrange protection insurance for some of their clients. Insurers are understandably being quite cautious at this time as coronavirus presents a new risk, which they have relatively little data on.
There are a few options that advisers can take if they find a client cannot access insurance through their usual routes.
Signposting to specialist companies is gaining more momentum, as advisers see the benefits to their clients and themselves if they set up a commercial agreement with specialist advisers.
This approach is also being supported by Biba’s Access to Insurance committee, where advisers can direct their clients to specialist companies that have gone through Biba’s stringent approval process.
It is also possible for advisers to look at specialist insurers themselves, if their compliance departments allow for it.
The insurer ESMI has for years offered non-medically underwritten life and critical illness cover. Hive has also positioned itself as a new entrant within this area.
With these insurances you can arrange life insurance for your client, regardless of their medical history.
The only thing that determines the price is their age and smoker status. There is also the option to add on critical illness and children’s cover.
There are some specific exclusions on the policy that need to be clearly discussed with clients.
The main one that stands out is that the policies will exclude claims relating to any condition the client has experienced or continues to experience or have follow-ups for, within the last three years.
The important thing is to know that these options are available and have a clear conversation with your client, where you go through the exclusions thoroughly.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been multiple occasions where I have told people that I will not arrange these specialist insurances, as the odds of them dying from their health conditions are so high.
Then further alternative routes are looked at.
I would not suggest that any adviser uses ESMI or Hive as an easy route to get clients insurance.
They can offer insurance to many people that need it, but there are often many options for clients that will not have these exclusions.
ESMI and Hive are welcome additions to broadening accessibility to insurance, but I would caution advisers to do extensive research before using these routes, to ensure that in the event of a query in the future, they are able to demonstrate that this route truly was the best option for their client.
Kathryn Knowles is managing director of Cura Financial Services