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Insurance for people living with HIV – No more elephants in the room

16 January 2018Hayley Taylor, Hollard
Hayley Taylor, Head of Underwriting at Hollard Life.

Hayley Taylor, Head of Underwriting at Hollard Life.

We’ve come a long, long way from the time when an HIV+ diagnosis was seen as a death sentence. And the realisation that those who are serious about managing their treatment can live as healthily, happy and productively as anyone else has changed the life insurance landscape too.

It was back in the Nineties when scientific evidence began to show that HIV was a chronic, manageable illness (much like diabetes) rather than a universally life-threatening condition, and that an HIV+ person can have almost normal life expectancy if they have access to proper healthcare and medication and adhere to their treatment protocols.

“Hollard was the first to offer life, critical illness and disability cover, in 1999 and, from the start our approach has been to provide HIV+ clients with cover that has no exclusions based on their HIV status,” says Hollard Life’s Head of Underwriting, Hayley Taylor.

“As our understanding of the disease has grown, it’s become clearer and clearer that there’s comprehensive and affordable insurance available for HIV+ clients, as long as they are managing their healthcare appropriately,” she says, “and that’s borne out by Hollard’s underwriting statistics, which show that clients with well-managed HIV+ often attract premiums that are significantly lower than those for other chronic health issues, such as heart disease or diabetes.”

However, perhaps the most compelling evidence is that, in the 18 years Hollard has offered insurance to HIV+ clients, they’ve only had two claims lodged.

In recent years, with more research by reinsurers supporting this trend, the broader insurance industry has come on board, which is great news, says Hayley, but as price, benefits, exclusions, compliance requirements and waiting periods can vary significantly she recommends HIV+ clients bear the following in mind when weighing up the best cover to meet their needs:

• A precondition for some insurers will be strict adherence to an Antiretroviral (ARV) programme.
• Some policies require Proof of Ongoing Compliance (to verify adherence to an ARV programme) and you may be expected to bear the cost of this.
• Cover periods can vary but it is preferable to take cover that extends for your lifetime. If it is only offered for a fixed period, in time you will be required to reapply and at which stage you would pay for premiums appropriate to an older you and your health may have deteriorated – which means higher premium costs.
• Every insurance company offers different features and benefits and it is always best to consult with an experienced financial advisor who is familiar with each product and can guide you through their respective conditions.

“After so many years of misunderstanding the condition, it turns out there is no elephant in the room when it comes to being HIV+. Hollard is able to assist all our clients in providing for life’s ups and downs with appropriate life insurance cover,” concludes Hayley.

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