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Life Insurance in 2021: The Round-up

Looking back over the last two years, we’ve made a huge amount of changes in our lives. Whether that be your personal circumstances, your job role, your work environment or your social life, we’ve all had to make sacrifices and adapt to new surroundings through the pandemic.

Year on year, the life insurance market sees changes and adaptations too, even more so during the last year as we see further changes to ‘normal’ life post-lockdown.

We take a look at life insurance in 2021 and round-up the key changes, looking at what has affected the market and your insurance policies.

1) Covid-19 and high risk protection restrictions

The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard for everyone, whether that be from health issues or economic problems, everyone has been affected somehow. Like every industry, Covid-19 has caused disruption across the protection space.

At The Insurance Surgery, we are the UK’s No.1 Specialist Life Insurance Broker for those with pre-existing medical conditions, dangerous jobs or partake in high-risk hobbies, and high risk protection has been effected the most.

Underwriting restrictions imposed by insurance providers has been a challenge that we have been trying to overcome over the last year. We specialise in finding cover for high-risk clients, but restrictions in place have left us unable to help some customers, leaving them unprotected.

Because of Covid-19, those considered high risk who would have been insurable in normal times have now been declined by major insurance providers. Shortly after the first lockdown in March 2020, most of the providers we work with dramatically reduced their maximum ratings by an average of half. This meant that a high number of our customers were suddenly unable to access life insurance when they needed it the most.

Any comorbidities made worse by Covid such as heart disease, lung issues, kidney disease, high BMI or diabetes were being postponed at first, but some providers stopped looking at type 1 diabetics completely.

We are passionate about protecting families, so having to tell hundreds of people that we can’t help them to get the protection they needed was difficult.

Thankfully, there have been some underwriting improvements in 2021, after the restrictions providers placed on them at the beginning of the pandemic, and we’re now hoping that into 2022, these changes continue as the world gets back to ‘normal’.

The majority of maximum rating limitations have been increased and providers have started to look at customers with conditions that they previously stopped offering cover for. However, there is still some way to go until providers are fully back to pre-Covid levels.

2) Increased costs and higher premiums

Following on from the impact Covid-19 has had on those deemed as high risk, we’ve unfortunately seen an increase in the cost of cover for those that can be insured.

Providers increased the ratings for certain disclosures showing the risk was higher, but also limited the maximum ratings for clients meaning we couldn’t get cover for some clients at all.

We always aim to find the best cover for our clients, at the best price for their circumstances and due to these increases, it has been out of reach for some people. If this is something you’ve had to come up against this past year, it might be worth contacting us in 2022 to see if anything has changed.

3) NHS backlogs

We all know how hard everyone in the NHS has worked throughout the pandemic. From working on Covid wards to picking up extra hours to help out, the NHS has been stretched to its limits and has saved thousands of lives.

As we enter 2022, there is still a backlog of appointments, surgeries and screenings that have been missed, and the NHS is still catching up and trying to get back to normal. The reduction or postponement of medical check-ups and tests has caused a backlog in insurance applications.

Some high risk customers need investigations, referrals or even surgeries before their life insurance application can be submitted, and delayed or even cancelled appointments have meant many people have not been able to get life insurance in place just yet.

The overwhelming pressure on the NHS and the reduction in physical medical procedures have not allowed for these appointments to go ahead, meaning providers won’t offer cover, leaving people with no life insurance in place.

4) Delay in GP Reports

We have also seen an impact on GP reports needed for applications, as the pressure doctors and GPs are under has meant the necessary reports have not been able to be completed in the usual time frame of 4-12 weeks.

Providers have also increased the amount of customers applications who do need a GP report or further medical evidence for. Due to this, some GP surgeries have had to refuse writing doctor’s reports due to the unprecedented workload.

However, others have been quieter due to no face-to-face appointments, and have managed to fit more in. This has caused inconsistency up and down the country, leaving some people in certain areas with delays.

Insurers have had to seek new ways to gather medical evidence, like screenings via video calls.

However, not all providers introduced changes that negatively affected our clients. Some providers understood the issues with NHS shortages and therefore allowed older HbA1c readings to be accepted for diabetics.

This was furthered by allowing customers to inform providers of their reading over the phone instead of having to upload a copy of their reading from their diabetic review from their doctor.

5) Vaccines and Life Insurance

The Covid-19 pandemic has given people an opportunity to think about what’s important and has made people realise the value of life insurance, especially highlighting the importance of getting protection in place early, when you are as young and healthy as possible.

It has also given providers the opportunity to re-evaluate their underwriting and update their policies for high-risk customers with pre-existing medical conditions.

Some providers are now offering high risk clients life insurance if they can provide evidence of vaccinations. If they’re double jabbed, and now boostered too, some providers are willing to take on higher risks.

There has been an increased focus on medical issues as a result of Covid-19, making providers more aware of the improvements in healthcare over the years, and offering life insurance to those protected. We have found that a select few of our customers were able to find cover that they previously couldn’t have got pre-Covid-19.

6) A rise in online signatures and forms

With people continuing to work from home throughout 2021 and less face-to-face interaction across the board, there has been a huge increase in online methods for signing documents and filling out forms.

In 2021, we saw an 11% increase year on year of people using our online quote form to begin their application process. From there, we assign one of our experts to help you find a life insurance policy that you’re happy with.

The Insurance Surgery: What else have we been up to?

It’s been a busy year at The Insurance Surgery as we navigate our way through another year of challenges that we have all faced together. Here are some of the things that have happened through 2021:

  • We developed our own Life Insurance Calculator for customers to work out just how much their life insurance policy should be worth. You can find it here!

  • We created an Advent Calendar of insurance terms in the run up to Christmas – you can still find this on our Facebook page.

  • We hit 500 reviews on Trustpilot, with a 5-star rating.

  • We hit 1000 reviews on Feefo, again with a 5-star rating.

  • We took the Cancer Research Veg Pledge in November 2021 and between us we spent 90 days meat free, learning new things and developing new habits along the way!

  • We took out 2253 new life insurance policies for our clients – and helped even more!

  • We got through 1300 tea bags.

  • We dunked 620 biscuits.

  • At our Macclesfield head office, it rained across 125 days.

And that was 2021!

We’re looking forward to what we hope is a happy, healthy and prosperous new year throughout 2022! If your new year’s resolution is to get your life insurance policy in place, we can help. You can fill in our online quote form here to begin the process.