HSBC Life boosts inclusivity with mental illness underwriting change

HSBC Life has introduced new digital rules for mental illness disclosures made during a life and critical illness cover application.

As a result of the changes, taking time off work and seeking treatment are seen as a positive for tackling the illness and not a barrier to a customer’s protection needs.

HSBC Life (UK) also recognises that customers who have had historic thoughts of suicide or self-harm should have the opportunity to receive standard terms at application stage.

With this approach HSBC Life (UK) has increased the opportunities for cover with standard terms at application stage with no back-office underwriting and no need for a GP report.

Initial tests of the new approach have seen an increase of 10% of applicants disclosing a mental illness receiving terms at application stage and 70% of applicants disclosing mental health issues receiving standard terms at application stage.

Launching on February 1st, this coincides with Time to Talk Day which focuses on creating supportive communities by having conversations with family, friends, or colleagues about mental health.

Figures from the Time to Talk Day campaign, run by various mental health charities across the United Kingdom, show one in four adults in the UK will experience mental health issues in any given year.

Mitchell Barker, head of product and chief distribution officer at HSBC Life, said: “We continue to build trust with our customers, and we are working hard to increase our focus on improving inclusivity and moving away from historic industry practices on underwriting mental illness.

“Preliminary results from the launch of the new rules have been very positive, demonstrating how the evolution of our underwriting approach is further enhancing inclusivity and enabling more people to receive important protection cover.”