10 October 2019

Royal London pilots life cover for severe mental health conditions

5 min read

Meera Khanna, Consumer PR Manager
Meera Khanna

Corporate PR Manager - Protection


Royal London has launched a pilot offering life insurance to individuals with severe mental health conditions.

  • Royal London is piloting life cover for people with severe mental health conditions.
  • 75% of applicants have been successfully offered cover.
  • People who have been offered cover have conditions such as personality disorders and PTSD.

The pilot, which launched in March, has seen Royal London working in partnership with three risk specialist adviser firms – Cura, Moneysworth and The Insurance Surgery.

Mental health conditions are the most commonly disclosed conditions by customers applying for protection cover. Around one in 10 (9.5%) customers who have applied for a Royal London protection product say they have or have had a mental health condition. While 95% of those customers who disclose such a condition are offered cover, with around 80% paying premiums at standard rates, a small proportion are declined or postponed. This leaves those who are uninsured feeling that protection is inaccessible.

The pilot is designed with a new underwriting philosophy to offer cover to those with severe mental health conditions who would traditionally be declined a protection product. As a result, Royal London has successfully offered cover to 75 per cent of applicants who would typically be uninsurable. This includes those who have or have had medical conditions such as psychosis, schizophrenia and severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

Ten per cent of applications have been postponed with a possibility of being offered cover at a later date. Fifteen per cent were declined due to the applicants’ condition being too severe or unstable.

The pilot is being offered through specialist advisers and medical evidence is required for all applicants, with online decisions on applications being switched off. A specialist group of underwriters, who have access to a consultant psychologist, are assessing the applications to discuss what can be complex medical circumstances.

Craig Paterson, underwriting and claims philosophy manager at Royal London, said:

“Our underwriting philosophy as a protection provider is to offer cover to as many customers as possible. With mental health being the most commonly disclosed condition for Royal London customers, we wanted to explore how we can provide cover for those with a severe mental health condition. Through the pilot we have successfully managed to offer protection to individuals who would traditionally be declined life insurance cover. The response from customers and advisers has been overwhelmingly positive and we’ve seen high take up rates for cover despite the underwriting process being longer.”

Notes to editors

  1. The mental health pilot started in March 2019 and has received a total of 77 applications to date (September 2019).
  2. The only exclusion for those who have been successful in their application is for self-inflicted injury.

For further information please contact:

Meera Khanna, Corporate PR Manager - Protection

About Royal London:

Royal London is the largest mutual life insurance, pensions and investment company in the UK, with assets under management of £139 billion, 8.6 million policies in force and 4,348 employees. Figures quoted are as at 30 June 2020.