Affordable Life Insurance for Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetics

Great news for Diabetics is that a new Reinsurer in the Australian market has made it easier for people with diabetes obtain affordable life insurance!

In the past, it has been difficult for people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes to find affordable life insurance rates and extremely challenging to find other types of cover.

However the new reinsurer, has entered into the Australia market, partnering with one of Australia’s leading life insurance companies, who have a more favourable view on the condition therefore making it easier for people with diabetes to attain life cover.

However it must be noted that you need to have your diabetes well controlled, and not have any other related medical complications to obtain a favourable outcome.

Further good news is those with either Type 2 diabetics or Gestational diabetes and exercise strict control over their blood sugar levels and their general health you may be eligible to receive cover for:

  • Income protection: Minimum waiting period of 90 days with a maximum benefit period of 5 years
  • Trauma insurance: The basic package
  • TPD cover – All Definitions are available

To find out who may be able to provide you with affordable life insurance request a quote below or call us on 1300 135 205.

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The below section is a must read for those recently diagnosed with diabetes and searching for life insurance. If you’ve had diabetes for a few years, you’re probably already an expert on the subject.

However we discuss in detail the underwriting process the insurer undertakes when they are considering whether they can offer your cover or not and the relevant factors that may affect your premium or cover eligibility.

Understanding the Condition

Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are too high (hyperglycaemia) caused by your body not producing enough insulin, or your cells not responding adequately to the insulin that is produced. Insulin is a hormone that helps get the glucose into your cells to give them energy.

There are three types of diabetes:

number-1Type 1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes

Type 1 is an autoimmune disease and develops when the pancreas stops producing insulin. This disease presents in childhood to early adulthood. Onset is generally before the age of 30 years, with a peak age of around 14 years.

number-2Type 2 diabetes

Mainly occurs in late adulthood. This is the most common form of diabetes. Insulin is still produced by the pancreas, but it does not work effectively.

number-3Gestational diabetes

Develops during pregnancy when your body makes more hormones. This can cause the cells in your body to use insulin less effectively.

The Warning Signs

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes show similar symptoms, but the severity is usually greater in Type 1. Common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Extremely thirsty
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Skin infections (e.g. thrush) and itchiness
  • Rapidly losing weight without trying to
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts and wounds take longer to heal

The Medical Implications

Many people with the condition will in time be affected by a variety of serious ramifications which can affect almost any organ in the body.
Individuals with diabetes have an increased risk of:

Severe eye problems: Diabetic retinopathy (a condition affecting the blood vessels in the eye) can be found in about 15% of Australians with diabetes, Baker IDI, Heart & Diabetes institute (2012).
Kidney disease: High levels of blood glucose damages your blood-filtering capillaries in your kidneys resulting in a condition known as diabetic nephropathy.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in people with diabetes.
Stroke: If you have diabetes your chances of having a stroke increases 1.5 times.
Nervous system disease: Diabetes is associated with nerve damage and poor circulation in the lower limbs.
Impotence in men: Because diabetes can damage the blood vessels and nervous system, sexual dysfunction is more common in men who poorly control their diabetes.

Implications for the Insurer

A person who has diabetes is two to four times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. According to experts, 70 Australians undergo amputation of a limb every week due to complications related to the disease.

The complications are an important claim trigger for many insurance products because they could result in critical illness, premature disability, long term care, and eventual death.

According to Munich Re insurers, the mortality of individuals with Type 1 diabetes is largely related to these diabetic complications and on average three to four times higher than in the normal population, increasing by the duration of diabetes. For Type 2 diabetes, mortality depends on the age of diagnoses.

Diabetes is ranked in the top 10 leading causes of death in Australia (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2008). The life expectancy of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in their 40s decrease by 5-10 years because of the disease.

Life Insurance with Pre-existing Medical Conditions

The main purpose of insurance underwriting is to assess prognostic factors which are related to the probability of diabetic complications in the course of the disease.

Insurance underwriters will review your lab testing results and medical records to determine how well controlled your condition is, how long diabetes has been present, and whether or not there is evidence of complications.

The better the control, the longer complications can be delayed, possibly prevented entirely. Control of diabetes is often measured using HbA1c (or A1C). This reflects the average blood sugar level over a period of four to six weeks before the test.

  • An HbA1c of between 6 and 6.5 is an indication of good control
  • An HbA1c of below or above 6.5 indicates control should be improved, from and insurer’s perspective
  • The closer you are to the 6 to 6.5 mark the better

Generally, the higher the HbA1c readings the greater your risk of long-term complications and the greater your mortality rating. This results in a higher life insurance loading or possibly a decline, when your HbA1c levels are high.

For critical illness (CI) insurance, most insurers will focus on important potential claim triggers related to your diabetes, such as:

  • Cardiovascular diseases: Myocardial infarction, coronary bypass and stroke.
  • Nephropathy: Renal failure and organ transplant
  • Retinopathy: Blindness

Therefore, if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and suffer from any of the above mentioned conditions, you will most likely be declined for critical illness cover.

Generally, diabetics that require Trauma Insurance (Critical Illness cover) will need to be in very good control of their condition and manage it properly, without having any other related medical conditions or health concerns.

For disability insurance (TPD or Income Protection)it is possible to obtain cover, however, due to the many severe complications of diabetes affecting almost any organ, it is a major cause of disability. Therefore, most insurance companies will give you a loading, even when your condition is well controlled. The level of loading will depend on your level of control over the condition, and whether you have any related medical conditions. If your condition is poorly managed your application might be declined all together.

It’s important to note, that each case of diabetes is unique and so is the individual diagnosed with the condition. Thus, to fully understand the cover options available to you, it’s advisable that you seek guidance from a specialist advisor and request a review of your individual circumstances.

Life Insurance for Diabetics and how it Affects Your Premiums

Some of the factors that will affect the cost and availability of life insurance include:

Date of diagnoses

Life insurance underwriters are generally interested in the life expectancy of the applicant. Therefore, how long you’ve had diabetes is an important factor that will influence your rating. The younger the age of onset of symptoms, the worse the prognosis.

Type of diabetes

Life insurance for type 1 diabetes and life insurance for type 2 diabetes will be assessed and granted differently. If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your blood pressure and weight, as well as your smoking status will probably be just as important as your HbA1c reading when assessing your risk of heart attack and stroke claims.

The complications you experience or have previously experienced due to the diabetes

Generally, any complications resulting from diabetes will heavily influence the price of your premiums, as your risk for disability and death increases.

Since your diagnosis, how has the diabetes been controlled?

People with diabetes who commit to a program generally have better blood glucose control and thus fewer complications. Insurers will want to review your HbA1c readings before and after implementing your treatment plan, to assess compliance thereof. Adversely, poor control and lifestyle habits such as smoking and obesity will negatively affect your rating.

How frequently do you visit your doctor?

Most insurers would want to know that your diabetes is under control. The best way to show this is through documentation from frequent doctor visits.

Family medical history

Your family’s health history has a great deal of significance because it is used to determine the possibility of you possibly contracting a particular illness or medical condition. If your parents or siblings have suffered a series of medical conditions, like a stroke or heart attack, there might be a greater chance that you’ll fall victim to these conditions as well. Insurers will have to take this into consideration.

The more accurate and comprehensive the information you provide, the more accurate the pre assessment of your condition will be. This could make a big difference in the potential outcome of your application and the insurer you end up selecting when lodging your formal application.

Questions diabetics should have ready for their pre-assessment:

  • The type of diabetes they have
  • Date Diagnosed: Age and time since start of the disease
  • Smoker status
  • Height & weight
  • Treatment regime (e.g. insulin, oral antidiabetics)
  • Quality of Diabetes management (blood sugar variation and last Hba1c reading)
  • Acute complications (e.g. hypoglycaemic shock, diabetic coma)
  • Late diabetic complications (retinopathy, together with degree of severity, nephropathy, especially evidence of protein in urine, neuropathy)
  • Existence of any vascular damage (e.g. coronary heart disease)
  • Do you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and if so, how is this treated and what were your last readings?

Choice of insurer

Just because one company declined your pre-assessment or formal application, doesn’t mean all companies will do the same. Each company adheres to a different set of guidelines, and these guidelines may even change over time. Do not limit yourself by applying to just one company. Shop around and get multiple pre-assessments and quotes.

The importance of providing correct and accurate information

There are serious ramifications when misrepresenting your answers to questions on an insurance application. If you did not disclose the fact that you had been diagnosed with diabetes, the company may deny your claim and even cancel your insurance.

It’s also important that your tell the insurer if you’ve ever been turned down or charged an extra premium (loading) for life insurance, whatever the reason.

What Can I do to Improve My Premium?

Premiums are generally lower for those that exercise regularly and follow a strict diet and programme, as prescribed by their GP, while keeping their blood sugar levels under control with medication. For an insurer, the ideal diabetic candidate might have the following:

  • Ongoing treatment with conditions under control and a
  • HbA1c level between 6 and 6.5
  • A BMI within normal range
  • Be a non-smoker
  • Have no complication relate to diabetes, or other illnesses
  • No high cholesterol or blood pressure
The key to affordable cover is in working with a specialist, such as Life Insurance Direct, who specialises in assisting clients with complicated medical histories. Such specialists also have access to some major life insurance companies.

As specialists we understand the complexities of certain conditions and can provide insights into which insurers have favourable and less favourable views on certain medical conditions, past times or risky occupations. We can guide and assist you in answering all your questions and help you find a policy to fit your stated requirements.

Conclusion

If you have diabetes, insurers will want all relevant documentation and probably for you to undergo a medical exam and some blood tests (HbA1c being the most important one). Your chances of getting accepted for cover and paying a reasonable rate will be more likely if your condition is well managed and under control. Now your chances are even better with a new insurer, SCOR.

It’s always a good idea to compare quotes from different insurers to ensure you get the best possible deal. A specialist insurance broker can help you find the best companies willing to over you coverage.

Published: October 5, 2016

Ask an Expert?

4 Comments

  • Rida Yassa |

    Would it be possible to insure my life, even having been diagnosed with diabetes?

    • Brett Lenertz SPECIALIST
      Brett Lenertz |

      Great question Rida, and a very common one. Generally, it can be difficult to obtain life insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes but not impossible. There are however many factors the Life Insurer will consider in assessing your application. These are for example your date of diagnosis, your diabetes type, complications you may have experienced due to the diabetes, how is it controlled, how often you see your doctor and your family medical history. Your chances of getting accepted for cover with a reasonable premium will be more likely if your condition is under control and well managed. You are welcome to contact us on 1300 135 205 so we can take you through a Pre-assessment regarding your condition which will enable us to provide you with some outcomes and pricing regarding life insurance.

  • Cooper Wilkes |

    Hello just wondering what life insurance company would be the best for someone with type 1 diabetes I was only diagnosed a year ago and it is under control and even somewhere to get income protection

    • Russell SPECIALIST
      Russell |

      Hi Cooper

      There has been a new reinsurer “Score” who have recently entered the market who in general have a more favourable view on insuring people who have been diagnosed with diabetes. Therefore insurers who have access to this reinsurer would be good to consider however as each insurer can have different underwriting guidelines you are best to complete a pre-assessment by contacting our team. We do not reveal your name to the insurers and anonymously ask up to 10 underwriters from different companies about your unique situation, the insurer then comes back with an indicative offer. Once you have these back you can make a decision on which insurer you would like to proceed with.

      If you would like to have the team complete a pre-assessment please have the above info about your diabetes available.

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