Category Life Insurance

Insurance Disclosure 101: You’ve told your friends about your medical history, have you told your insurer?

01 July 2016 Hollard Life
Susan Gonnermann, Head of Claims at Hollard Life.

Susan Gonnermann, Head of Claims at Hollard Life.

Our friendships are among the most important relationships we have and many of us wouldn’t think twice about telling each other about our lifestyle and health challenges, often with great detail. What you may not know is that we need to share that same information and more with our life insurer.

When it comes to life insurance, being completely honest about your health, lifestyle, family history and hobbies on your application form are crucial factors in ensuring that you have a good claims experience later. Leaving information out – even by mistake – is one of the main reasons why your claim could be declined or the payout could be less than you expected. Giving incorrect or incomplete information on your application form is called non-disclosure or misrepresentation and insurers take it very seriously. 

“While your visits to the chiropractor two years ago might not seem as important to you as the fact that you have a family history of diabetes, it all matters,” explains Susan Gonnermann, Head of Claims at Hollard Life.  “In many instances, claim disputes between insurers and policy holders come down to issues of non-disclosure. They typically arise when the information given at claim stage does not match the information provided on the application form.” 

How is the disclosed information used?

To understand why disclosure is so important, you need to know how the information is used by the insurer.  An insurer assesses your application for cover based on the information provided on your application form, as well as the results of any medical tests that you may be required to undergo.  Based on this information, the insurer will specify the terms of your policy, what premium you’ll pay and if there are any special conditions attached to the cover.  All this information is assessed to ensure that you are correctly insured, at the appropriate premium, based on your health and circumstances.   

It is also important to remember that even after you’ve taken out a policy, a change in your job, hobbies or the sport you take part in could have an impact on the original assessment of your application, the premiums you pay and the terms and conditions of your policy. Different insurers may have different requirements of what major changes they need to know about, so it’s best to discuss these with your financial advisor. 

“If you’re unsure of anything when you’re completing your application for life insurance, speak to your financial advisor.  Getting professional advice will ensure that you get the right cover for you and your loved ones, a hassle-free claims experience and the full benefit of your cover,” concludes Susan.


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