Oct 10, 2019

Changing the future of income protection

Today at the Cover Protection and Health Summit, Stuart Tragheim, CEO, announced our commitment to making income protection more accessible for those with mental health issues.

Currently within the income protection industry it is common practice to exclude mental health from cover for people who have had mental health conditions. It can be a struggle to find an income protection provider who is willing to accept a history of mental health conditions, still offer a competitively priced plan and also cover any future mental health related claims. We want income protection to be more inclusive and accessible, by addressing how we can insure people with old, or existing, mental health conditions.

Mental health is currently responsible for 72 million missed working days, costing workers £34.9 billion collectively*; for many the money lost as a result of this time off may well leave them unable to pay their mortgage/rent, energy bills or even buy sufficient food for the month.

With 74%** of individuals admitting to feeling stressed to the point of being unable to cope, we are offering help for those who have had time off work due to a significant lifestyle change or loss, whether that be bereavement, redundancy or divorce – even time off work, has been required. This means that if a Member was off for a short period of time due to mental health issues triggered by a specific event, but had been back at work for at least three months, we would not automatically apply any exclusion or loading to the policy.

To help further understand the impact of mental health issues on our Members, we have designed a set of questions aimed at understanding their specific mental health struggles, about how they cope during these times.

We have looked into how we could provide cover to people with existing mild depression or anxiety, even if they are already on medication when applying for income protection. As an industry first, we will review how the Member manages their symptoms with an effective management plan and then decide how to cover them. This would be considered on an individual basis as each person’s circumstances will be different and any plan offered would need to take different situations into account.

Stuart Tragheim, CEO at Holloway Friendly, commented:

“Mental illness has always been an issue however the current, unpredictable state of the country paired with career pressure, benefit woes and social media popularity has exacerbated many sufferers to breaking point. Those with mental health problems, whether that be depression, anxiety or any other disorders, already have a lot on their plate, without the additional worries of income loss should they suddenly be unable to work. We want to change this for our Members and make income protection accessible for all. We’re proud to be leading the way in covering mental health conditions and making these important first steps, and do hope that other providers will follow our lead.”

These changes are in final stages of delivery and will be in place by the end of December.

*Mental Health Taskforce 2016
** Mental Health Foundation 2018 : https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-stress

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