Recognising that the UK’s four million plus diabetes sufferers have traditionally had problems obtaining affordable life insurance, Royal London has launched a simple life insurance product designed to alleviate their fears, provide speedy decisions and encourage take up of essential family protection. In essence the product comprises:
* A quick and simple application process tailored to people with diabetes.
* Immediate cover if accepted.
* Cover is available even to those with high HbA1c levels.
* If the diabetes improves and Royal London is sent the results of an annual HbA1c blood test results, the premium can go down.
* Clients have access to the Helping Hand service, with access to a specialist diabetes nurse for support and advice.
The customer journey is underpinned by the Kalibre insurtech platform, which uses an innovative risk assessment approach, supported by continuous underwriting. Royal London claims the platform revolutionises the process of buying life insurance for people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes by improving the time taken to accept an application from weeks to less than an hour. The product is available from a small number of adviser firms with plans to launch to the wider market later this year.
In future premiums can be reduced by up to 40% to reflect how well the customer is managing their diabetes by simply sharing an annual HbA1c test result. Premiums are guaranteed never to rise higher than the starting premium to give clients certainty that they will be able to maintain their cover.
What They Say
Group head of protection strategy Debbie Kennedy said: "Our Diabetes Life Cover is specifically designed for people who have diabetes, using a real time, robo-underwriting process to make it easier for advisers to secure life cover for their customers at point of sale.
"According to Diabetes UK over four million people in the UK are living with diabetes. Securing life cover for people who have been diagnosed with a chronic condition is not always straightforward and can involve detailed medical questionnaires, followed by exclusions, additional premiums or being declined cover, depending on the nature of their condition and how well they manage their health.
"We built our proposition to support these types of customers as the process of applying is one of the main reasons they give for not taking out life cover. At Royal London, we want to provide products and services that help customers with chronic conditions get the cover they need at an affordable premium."
What We Say
"Many people with diabetes have issues with insurance – whether to travel abroad, obtain health insurance or to insure their life. To that list used to be added motor insurance, but most companies no longer charge an automatic higher premium to diabetics.
"With life insurance however, ratings are common and even the process of finding out if you can get cover or at what rate can take many weeks. No surprise them that Diabetes UK (www.diabetes.org.uk) advises: ‘Apply for cover well in advance of when you need it to be in place’.
"Yet, most people with diabetes have a good life expectancy and, as there are at least four million of them (it depends how you measure and millions more are simply undiagnosed diabetics), they make up a substantial market.
"Recognising that, Royal London has launched its life insurance package built round speed (and so, certainty of being able to get cover), incentives to manage lifestyle and help if and when it is needed.
"In particular, the 90% of diabetics who have Type II diabetes – which can often be brought on or made worse by lifestyle choices – now have an incentive to manage their blood sugar levels down. Previously, if you did that, your diabetes improved (and some argue can even be reversed) and so did your health. That still happens, but now Royal London rewards that financially too. What’s not to like?
"The industry seems to be moving towards embracing diabetics and others with chronic health issues and so expect other insurers’ announcements over the coming months too. Meantime, if you have clients with either type of diabetes, check this out – it just might encourage those with no or too little insurance to do something about that too."