HSBC LIFE (UK) Opens critical illness to diabetics in market innovation

  • Type 2 diabetics will benefit from underwriting innovation aimed at boosting inclusivity
  • 4.3 million people in the UK are living with diabetes

In another UK protection market-innovation HSBC Life (UK) Limited (“HSBC Life (UK)”) continues to expand its focus on underwriting and inclusivity. Critical Illness cover will be available to Type 2 diabetic customers without the need for NHS records. These customers will have the opportunity to obtain Critical Illness cover by attending an independent nurse medical screening, the results of which will be assessed digitally in a three-day turnaround time.

Currently, the availability of Critical Illness cover for diabetics is sporadic across the UK protection industry with many insurers unable to consider diabetics despite data* from Diabetes UK showing 4.3 million people are living with the condition.

Diabetes UK, which is running this year’s Diabetes Week from June 12th to June 18th, estimates around 90% of diagnoses for diabetes are for Type 2 with 8% for Type 1 and the rest for other forms of the condition*.

HSBC Life (UK) is able to offer this inclusivity and extend cover to diabetics due to its Enhanced Digital Underwriting process. It is applicable to those customers applying for cover through external adviser distribution partners. Enhanced Digital Underwriting enables medical screening requests to be sent and received back automatically from our medical screening provider Square Health. The digital underwriting engine instantly provides an eligibility decision and then provides real time updates on the progress of the screening saving advisers and customers time spent chasing results.

HSBC Life (UK) has been evolving its systems to support diabetics for more than a year and has developed a specially designed test with our partner Square Health whereby nurses discuss with applicants their diabetic history, check the foot pulse, and take a blood test.

The process will therefore give certainty to the customer of their disclosure, by providing the opportunity to discuss their diabetic history, which can be very complex, with a medical professional, taking away the onus from the adviser

Diabetic customers successfully applying for HSBC Life (UK’s) Critical Illness cover will need to be non-smokers with no diabetic complications who are managing their condition and the premiums can be loaded up to a maximum of 150%.

Those successful Critical Illness cover applicants will also benefit from the expansion of HSBC Life (UK’s) Value Added Benefits proposition, which includes prescription services, second medical opinions, unlimited remote GP appointments, physiotherapy, mental health support and an annual health MOT which includes a Diabetes HbA1c risk assessment. 

Jen Carhart, Head of Underwriting and Claims at HSBC Life (UK) said: “We are really proud to have worked with our partners, UnderwriteMe and Square Health to introduce this unique approach and open up such a vital protection product for a group of customers historically excluded by the industry from Critical Illness. To be able to realise this without further burden on the NHS and continue to build on digital innovation is a testament to how the world of Underwriting is evolving to support customers and their needs.”


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