Life insurance and mental health - let's talk about it

In recent years, mental health has become much more of a commonplace topic of conversation with so many people, both in the public eye and us normal folks, opening up about their past and present struggles with mental health.

Not only is this refreshing to see but it is also important that we are having more open and honest conversations about mental health in general, whether this is with family, friends, or your workplace - we must talk.

This week is mental health awareness week, so we thought it was only right that we talk a little bit about mental health and life insurance.

Stand out examples

In recent years, mental health feels more prevalent than ever and according to data from the NHS, one in four adults and one in 10 children experience mental illness.** So during this year's mental health awareness week, we wanted to share with you some stand out examples of life insurance providers adapting to the uprising of mental health cases. A great example of this is leading life insurance provider, Scottish Widows, who have seen a significant impact on the number of mental health disclosures being made on life insurance applications, with the figure rising from 15% to around 20% in the first 3 months of 2021. However, despite this increase, Scottish Widows have still been able to offer cover at standard rates to 85% of these applications, with rated terms being offered to a further 10%.* This means 95% of applications that include mental health disclosures are being accepted by Scottish Widows - what a result!

Another stand out example is life insurance provider AIG, who have recently changed their underwriting language to make it more human and customer friendly. They have also improved terms, meaning that nine in ten customers who declare a common health condition will get an immediate decision. Starting counselling and managing treatment are also viewed as positive by AIG so no automatic ratings or exclusions are applied for being on treatment, even if this is ongoing. They have also improved their underwriting terms for those who declare historic suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts or self-harm and have introduced a new approach towards historic and resolved severe mental health issues too, meaning more people can be insured.

We aren't going to beat around the bush, it’s not always possible to get cover when you have battled with severe mental health. However, if more providers follow in the footsteps of both Scottish Widows and AIG, being able to get cover when you have battled with mental illness should only get easier as more providers evolve and change with the times.

Let’s talk about free provider benefits

So many life insurance providers now offer free additional benefits, many of which can be useful to those who have struggled with their mental health. Leading life insurance providers including AIG, Scottish Widows and Royal London, just to name a few, offer amazing benefits that you and your immediate family can use.

AIG offers their Smart Health service to all of their customers. This benefit ensures that you can access mental health advice for free and offers support from mental health specialists. This benefit is free of charge and is available to you, your partner and your children up until the age of 21.

Scottish Widows provide Clinic in a Pocket and RedArc services to their customers at no extra cost. The RedArc services can provide personal dedicated nurses who are qualified in an extensive range of general medical knowledge. They can provide support for long-term illnesses such as depression and anxiety and provide a course of therapy.

Royal London offers their Helping Hand services. They provide access to Thrive which is an NHS-approved mental wellbeing app that can provide personalised recommendations to help prevent, detect and self-manage mental health conditions, such as stress and anxiety.

The application process

To create a tailored life insurance policy, our protection specialists will run through a standard health and lifestyle questionnaire with you.

Our specialists will ask you some questions about your physical and mental health, occupation, and lifestyle. The answers to your questions will then be assessed whilst you’re on the phone. Taking into account your current circumstances and affordability, they will present you with what they believe is the best option for you.

In most cases, your protection specialist will be able to offer you cover right there and then whilst you are on the phone. However, depending on your application disclosures, providers may require further information from your GP. If this happens we have a dedicated team here at Caspian who will look after your case and liaise with your GP surgery to provide you with updates on how your application is progressing.

Our online pathway

If you are wanting to arrange a life insurance policy but are put off by having to do it over the phone, we have created an option for you to arrange your own cover online - click here to try it.

Simply select the type of policy you would like, with your chosen cover amount and term and receive your quotes. You will then have the option to answer your health and lifestyle questions to determine whether immediate cover is available.

At Caspian, we are proud to say that as a life insurance brokerage we are recognised by the mental health charity Mind. If you haven’t heard of them before, Mind offers free mental health support and provides guidance and advice for those struggling with a mental health problem.
It is worth noting that each application for life insurance is subject to individual circumstances and the chosen insurers underwriting process.

If you are struggling with your mental health and want to talk to someone anonymously, we have put together a list of contacts below where you can reach out for help if you need it.

  • Mind
    is a mental health charity who offers information, advice and support for those suffering with their mental health, their number is 0300 123 3393.
  • Samaritans is a charity that aims to provide support to anyone struggling to cope and is open 24/7, 365 days a week and their contact number is 116 123.
  • CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) is open from 5pm-midnight every single day and you can call them on 0800 58 58 58 and if you don’t want to talk on the phone, you can use their webchat service.
  • Switchboard is a helpline for those who identify as LGBT+ which is open from 10am-10pm every day and their contact number is 0300 330 0630.
  • National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK is open 24/7 and offers help and guidance to those suffering with suicidal thoughts - 0800 689 5652.

    * **

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