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Protection underwriters ‘misjudge mental health risk’

RedArc says underwriters should work with mental health practitioners

Protection underwriters could be over-stating the risk posed by mental health conditions for insurance policies, RedArc Nurses has claimed.

The nurse adviser service warned this could lead to individuals facing unnecessary restrictions, exclusions and higher premiums, or potentially being declined protection completely. 

Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc, said underwriters are prolific in their question-asking but that more attention needs to be paid to understanding the answers.

“Underwriters are specialists in their field and undergo a lot of training, but by definition they are not specialist mental health clinicians,” she argued. 

There has been a rise in the number of people with mental ill-health diagnoses, as well as a greater candidness among those affected, which means more people are likely to disclose their condition when applying for insurance.

 “We would recommend that underwriters need to work alongside professional, clinically trained, mental health practitioners who are better able to assess an individual based on their answers, and can give an informed view of the risk posed,” Husbands said. “Such a partnership also means they can provide recommendations to help people manage their condition over time.”

She added that many people with pre-existing mental health conditions do not pose the risk that underwriters may think they do.