Diabetes Life Insurance Guide
The Insurance Surgery's guide to Diabetes and Diabetes Life Insurance - how does having Diabetes affect your chance of obtaining Life Insurance?
What is Diabetes?
The number of people being diagnosed with Diabetes in the UK continues to grow significantly with improved awareness, better screening techniques and the undeniable links between Diabetes and Obesity. According to the leading charity Diabetes UK, since 1996 the number of people diagnosed with Diabetes in the UK has increased from 1.4 million people to an alarming 2.6 million. It is also estimated that by 2025 the number of people diagnosed with Diabetes will have increased to over 4 million individuals. The majority of these cases will be Type 2 Diabetes due to our ageing population and rapidly rising numbers of overweight and obese people.
Diabetes is a common life-long condition where the amount of glucose in the blood is too high due to the body not using it properly. This is because the pancreas does not produce any or not enough insulin or the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). Insulin helps glucose enter the body's cells, where it is used for energy. Glucose comes from digesting carbohydrate from various kinds of food and drink, including starchy foods such as breads, rice and potatoes, fruit, some dairy products, sugar and other sweet foods. Glucose is also produced by the liver.
Contrary as it may sound, eating too much sugar does not cause diabetes, although this might cause obesity which in turn is associated with people who develop type 2 diabetes.
How can having Diabetes affect my Life Insurance?
There is no doubt that having Diabetes will have an affect on the possibility of an individual obtaining Life Insurance and especially Critical Illness Cover. Firstly, almost all insurers will incur a premium rating and increase the standard estimated premium for Diabetes Life Insurance. The size of the increase in premium will vary dramatically depending on the age of the applicant, date of onset of Diabetes and the control levels for the individual. The main method used for establishing control levels for Diabetes and Life Insurance is by obtaining the HbA1C readings.
Also, as a general rule Diabetes Critical Illness Cover (CIC) is not obtainable unfortunately due to the fact that no insurance providers currently offer this product. The only real provider to offer Diabetes Critical Illness Cover withdrew the product from the market in early 2009 due to the fact that it had so many medical exclusions and it was deemed to be unfair to the applicant by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The Insurance Surgery is constantly campaigning with providers for them to reconsider this product and offer Diabetes Critical Illness Cover with a reduced premium to balance the unavoidable reduction in cover.
Quick guide to Diabetes Life Insurance:
- Life Insurance can be obtained for Diabetes but the premium will be loaded depending on age, date of onset of the condition and the control levels
- Critical Illness Cover is currently not available for Diabetes
- Control levels are established by obtaining HbA1C readings, certain blood tests (including fasting Glucose) and testing the urine for the amount of Glucose present
- Generally HbA1C readings above 10 will be referred to a specialist insurance provider
- Higher Risk individuals: Younger people with Diabetes, people who have had the condition for longer periods time and people who have not had Diabetes for 12 months (due to the fact that readings can fluctuate dramatically in year 1)
- Other risk factors will increase premiums for Diabetes Life Insurance, for example smoking, high blood pressure, retinopathy, BMI and abnormal lipids
Case Study for Diabetes Life Insurance:
Miss L. applied to The Insurance Surgery looking for Life Insurance in July 2010. Details as follows:
Cover required - £90,000
Term of cover - 25yrs
Reason for cover - Mortgage Protection (Decreasing cover)
Age of applicant - 33yrs
Condition - Type 1 Diabetes
Age at diagnosis - 17yrs
HbA1C readings - 6.8
Other conditions - Liver Investigations (Scarring) July '09
Previous declined applications - AXA (10/09) & Partnership Insurance
The Insurance Surgery applied to 3 companies for Diabetes Life Insurance for this client and 2 companies initially declined the application, however we appealed the 2nd decline and were able to overturn the decision and obtain cover from the provider.
Final Premium: £11.24 per month
What are the various types of Diabetes?
There are several different types of Diabetes and all of them have a wide variety of causes and can have very different symptoms. Each different type of Diabetes can also have a very broad spectrum in terms of severity, which can vary from Very Mild with little or no symptoms to Very Severe with huge restrictions on daily living.
Some of the more common types of Diabetes are as follows:
Type 1 Diabetes
This can also be known as 'Insulin Dependant Diabetes' or as 'Juvenile Diabetes', which is slightly more rare but a lifelong condition as the name implies. A person who has Type 1 Diabetes cannot produce Insulin which is a natural hormone produced by the body.
Type 2 Diabetes
This is also known as adult-onset Diabetes due to the fact that it generally occurs later in life and can be caused by obesity or poor diets. Type 2 Diabetes is the more common form of Diabetes and is on the increase due to poor lifestyles and diets which is causing a ever increasing level of obesity in many countries. This type of Diabetes is generally initially managed by exercise and diet, however, if the condition deteriorates then it can be treated with medication known as anti-diabetic drugs.
This particular type of Diabetes develops during pregnancy in women and statistics show that it occurs in 1 in 20 pregnancies roughly. During the pregnancy, the body needs to create additional levels of Insulin to be able to meet the baby's needs and if this cannot be then this can cause Gestational Diabetes.