Mutual insurer, Royal London has introduced a new focus on mental health in its pre and post-sale customer communications.
The changes fall in line with the ABI’s Mental Health Standards and Access to Insurance Agreements and will make it easier for customers with mental health issues to apply for protection insurance.
As well as adapting the language used on application forms, questions have been made clearer and more empathetic and the underwriting process more transparent. Questions relating to mental health are now in a clearly defined section, separate from those about the client’s physical health. This allows applicants to navigate the application more easily. Language that could be perceived as negative has been replaced with softer terms, for example ‘decline’ or ‘refuse’ has been replaced with ‘unable to offer cover’ or ‘unable to accept’.
Additionally, a new Health and Wellbeing Directory has been developed to provide local help and support from charities and community groups for customers needing extra help at the time they are considering an insurance purchase.
Royal London has a strong track record in inclusion for clients with mental health conditions. In 2019 it introduced a new underwriting philosophy to offer cover to those with severe mental health conditions who would traditionally be declined a protection product. Since it launched about 250 customers with conditions such as psychosis, schizophrenia and severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) have benefitted.
Jennifer Gilchrist, protection specialist at Royal London, said:
“The pandemic has, in part, been responsible for an increased focus on mental health issues in the UK. As a responsible business it’s only right that we break down any barriers preventing anyone from accessing cover to protect themselves and their families.
“Adapting the language helps improve the overall customer experience when buying insurance and has been implemented on the back of feedback from customers and mental health charities provided to the ABI and used to design the ABI Mental Health Standards. It’s all part of our drive to make protection accessible for everyone.”
About Royal London
Royal London is the largest mutual life insurance, pensions and investment company in the UK, with assets under management of £153 billion, 8.8 million policies in force and 4,075 employees. Figures quoted are as at 30 June 2021.