Mental Health: Insurance & Support

In Industry News by Rebecca Faulks

At a time of great uncertainty, we discuss why people with mental health issues want insurance but many need more support…

People with mental health issues have a clear desire to get access to insurance, new research reveals. However, the vast majority of people with poor mental health do not know where to go to get independent advice on how mental health issues can potentially impact an insurance application.

According to the research by mental health charity Mental Health UK, 86% of people with mental health issues are not sure where they can get independent advice in relation to declaring a mental health condition when applying for insurance.

Furthermore, if denied insurance, just 23% of people with mental health issues said they would feel confident challenging the decision. Of these people, just 11% admitted they would know what to do next if an insurer disagreed with their challenge.

Applying for insurance leaves many distressed

The report Mental Health UK report, entitled ‘Affording protection: mental health and insurance’, also reveals that individuals with mental health issues believe they have been the victim of discrimination because of their condition. Indeed, 68% of respondents said this, while nearly half (45%) said the process of applying for insurance left them feeling distressed.

In light of their experience, more than half (52%) said that they would consider downplaying their mental health in future if they applied again.

More than half of respondents (56%) want insurers to be clear about how an applicant’s mental health will impact their application.

Negative experiences putting many off

The research also highlights how one in 10 people with mental health issues have been put off applying for insurance following a bad experience. Other reasons for neglecting to apply for insurance include: a perception that insurance is too expensive (38%) and believing an application would not be successful because of an existing mental health issue (31%).

Almost a third of respondents (31%) said they believed it would be too distressing discussing their mental health issues with an insurer.

But for many of those surveyed, having no insurance is adding to their woes, with over two thirds (69%) of respondents saying they were concerned about losing their job, their home, and getting into financial difficulty as a result of being offered high premiums or excluded all together.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including a call for greater transparency and the need for insurers to review their application processes to improve the customer experience, as well as better training for staff.

Mental Health UK has also called for the government to take action to ensure that people living with mental illness seeking insurance benefit from the protections of the Equality Act.

Speaking about the findings of the research, Brian Dow, CEO of Mental Health UK, said: “People living with mental illness should be afforded the same protection for themselves and their families as everyone else. The experiences described by many of the people who took part in our research are based on a misconception in the insurance industry of what mental illness means and how to approach it.”

In Summary

The findings of the Mental Health UK research highlight an opportunity for the insurance industry to provide more guidance on the application process and improve the overall customer experience.

If you’re living with a mental health condition and would like some professional, independent advice on the insurance options that are open to you, contact us today.

Rebecca joined Premier Choice Healthcare in February 2019 as a dedicated consumer account manager and looks after the needs of our individual clients. Prior to this, she worked for AXA PPP Healthcare for eleven years where she was a SME Account Manager working with a portfolio of key intermediaries across the UK.