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HSBC Life makes mental illness underwriting change to reduce stigma

  • 01/02/2024
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HSBC Life makes mental illness underwriting change to reduce stigma
HSBC Life has introduced digital rules for mental illness disclosures made during life and critical illness cover application.

The firm said that the change around mental health would build on the “drive to trust the customer and remove the stigma of mental illness and barriers to protection”.

HSBC Life said that taking time off work and seeking treatment were a “positive for tackling the illness and not a barrier to a customer’s protection needs”.

It added that customers with historic thoughts of suicide or self-harm should “have the opportunity to receive standard terms at application stage”.

The lender said that “the approach had increased opportunities for cover with standard terms at application stage with no back-office underwriting and no need for a GP report”.

The company said that the initial pilot of the approach had seen a 10 per cent rise in applicants disclosing a mental illness receiving terms at application stage and 70 per cent of applicants disclosing mental health issues receiving standard terms at application stage.

Mitchell Barker, head of product and chief distribution officer at HSBC Life (UK) Ltd, said: “We continue to build trust with our customers, and we are working hard to increase our focus on improving inclusivity and moving away from historic industry practices on underwriting mental illness.

“Preliminary results from the launch of the new rules have been very positive, demonstrating how the evolution of our underwriting approach is further enhancing inclusivity and enabling more people to receive important protection cover.”

The change comes on the back of the firm extending its critical illness cover to Type 2 diabetic customers. 

HSBC Life has also partnered with Sesame Bankhall to improve its protection offering to its advisers.

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