Brokers criticise AIG for penalising new mum

Insurer AIG has been criticised by brokers for penalising a new mum for not losing weight four months after giving birth — and charging her more for a life insurance policy as a result.

When the client’s mortgage broker complained to AIG about their stance, they replied: “We’ve noted your comments about the ‘client had just had a baby when she had her medical so feels the rating of 50 is unfair for obesity’.

“We appreciate your comments and have taken another look at the medical evidence. From the medical examination we understand that she had her baby in December 2023 and that 4 months had passed since giving birth.

“We appreciate that her weight measurement is coming down post pregnancy but there’s no guarantee that she will continue to lose that ‘baby weight’.

“As a result, our decision to apply the 50% loading still applies. However, we will be happy to assess a new application if she continues to lose and maintains the weight loss for at least six months or when her weight is back to pre-pregnancy levels.”

AIG have subsequently opened a complaint.

Newspage gathered the views of 13 brokers, whose opinions are below.


Katy Eatenton, mortgage and protection specialist at Lifetime Wealth Management:

“I’m absolutely outraged by this response from AIG and the unfairness of the insurance premium loading.

“Someone who wants to do the right thing and get crucial life insurance in place is being unfairly penalised.

“Four months is no time to lose baby weight, and no new mum should be subjected to fat shaming like this. AIG should hang their heads in shame.”

Justin Moy, managing director at EHF Mortgages:

“This is a terrible decision by the insurer, one that has all the hallmarks of a flowchart underwrite and actually needed better discretion given the timing and circumstances of the applicant.

“As much as the financial implications of loaded premiums are not welcome, her mental health could easily be affected by this decision, just months after giving birth.

“Wanting to protect her family should be encouraged, not adversely affected.”

Ben Perks, managing director at Orchard Financial Advisers:

“Like there isn’t enough pressure on new mums. While you’re battling sleep deprivation, tolerating everyone’s opinion on breast feeding, trying to establish a routine, oh, and enjoying bonding with your new born, AIG think you better hit the treadmill and start burning off the calories. It just doesn’t feel right and seems very old fashioned and dogmatic.

“This type of practice by insurers could also result in, or worsen, post-natal depression. This is very disappointing to see.”

Michelle Lawson, director at Lawson Financial:

“There is only one word for this and that is ‘disgraceful’. Underwriting should be manual at times and the whole background story can make a difference.

“The pressure on new parents is significant, let alone the sleep deprivation.

“Add into the mix having to lose weight to get a suitable policy to protect the new family and ensure the new baby has a home and is financially supported should the worst happen is simply not OK.”

Craig Fish, director at Lodestone Mortgages & Protection:

“This is appalling behaviour by AIG. New mothers have far more important things to consider than their weight, and general guidelines suggest normal weight can be regained over a six to 12 month period.

“How dare an underwriter make such assumptions. Mortgage lenders accept pre-maternity salary so why can’t insurers accept pre-pregnancy weight?

“This decision is about as regressive as it gets.”

Harps Garcha, director at Brooklyns Financial:

“The underwriter who made this decision clearly doesn’t appreciate the practical realities faced by new mothers.

“The primary concern for a mother after childbirth should be the health and care of her newborn, not the pressure to lose weight.

“It’s crucial to understand that dieting during breastfeeding can be detrimental to both mother and child’s health.

“It is quite troubling that an insurer would overlook the necessity for a new mother to secure her family’s future by imposing such conditions.”

Stephen Perkins, managing director at Yellow Brick Mortgages:

“This is certainly not Treating Customers Fairly or Consumer Duty in providing fair value.

“To expect a new mother to lose all her baby weight within four months is unreasonable and to require her to maintain that weight for six months before accepting her even more so.

“AIG should be ashamed of their decision and response. Rapid weight loss is unlikely to be healthy to either the mother or the child.”

Richard Jennings CeMAP, founder and managing director at Richard Jennings Mortgage Services:

“This is an absolutely appalling response from the insurer!

“There are so many ways an underwriter could have reviewed this policy, with a personal human touch and they have failed at every single one.

“New mums face such drastic changes to their life and body post pregnancy for then stigma to be attached by an insurer that “they haven’t lost baby weight fast enough” is absolutely disgusting.

“How about as an experienced insurer you use some common sense and maybe even look at pre pregnancy BMI to apply a fair, human outcome.

“AIG, you have failed yourselves and this client on this one.”

Joshua Gerstler, chartered financial planner and owner at The Orchard Practice:

“Whilst this is not a nice position for the new mother, rather than vilify the insurer, it is more productive to think about what could be done differently.

“Insurers tend to apply a loading to the premium when the applicants BMI is above what is considered healthy.

“This is because, statistically those with a higher BMI are more likely to be ill or die at a younger age, and therefore more likely to claim on their policies.

“Perhaps the insurer could have done this the other way around and offered the policy on standard terms but with a caveat that the premium would be increased by 50% after a timeframe when it is considered that a new mothers weight might realistically expected to have returned to normal levels.”

Darryl Dhoffer, adviser at The Mortgage Expert:

“And this is one of the reasons why, common sense in this case does not prevail – absolutely shocking decision.

In this case, insurer needs to provide factual statistics that demonstrate (in their opinion) new mums should be loaded on premiums, not just load them and for us all to accept – what next men on paternity leave with premium increases!”

Ken James, director at Contractor Mortgage Services:

“Insurance companies need to get a grip, for example here I am aged 52, 181 cm tall and weigh 95 kg, using a BMI calculator I am scoring 29 which is overweight, one point away from Obese which starts at 30.

“I weight train five days per week, do CrossFit three times a week and I am carrying some muscle.

“The underwriter looks at the numbers they don’t see me they just see the number. In the same way when it comes to new mums there should be some sensible approach that reflects the changes that the mum has been through bringing a new life into the world.

“Not everyone has access to a nanny and nutritionist or have time to train and eat well.

“As a new parent you’re sleeping with one eye open and eating whenever you can, sometimes late at night when your new born finally nods off.

“There needs to be a human touch to these cases that reflects the pressure that a new mum is under and a fair reflection that it takes time to make changes.

“We also need to get rid of that BMI calculator, it’s outdated.”

Hannah Bashford, director at Model Financial Solutions:

“If this lady does continue to lose weight will the policy be reviewed or is she going to be penalised for the term of the policy whilst she navigates life with a new baby?

“I understand the need for insurers to make their decisions based on a persons medical and lifestyle declarations but to place unnecessary pressure on a woman to lose weight at a time when she is particularly vulnerable is upsetting to hear.

“Many sites and forums dedicated to helping new mum’s suggest that normal weight loss would take at least six months and therefore it would be particularly demoralising to be told by an insurer that after just four months you should be back to pre baby weight.”

Rhys Schofield, brand director at Peak Mortgages and Protection:

“Insurers do seem to make it up as they go along and aside from this being a fairly tone deaf approach from AIG in this case it’s all a bit pointless anyway.

“Given that BMI is such a widely discredited measure of fitness. For example at my fittest when I was crossfitting and playing rugby I was ‘morbidly obese’ according to BMI even though I absolutely wasn’t.

“Perhaps it would be better to ask a more targeted medical question around whether a customer had actually ever been advised to reduce their weight instead.”

The Intermediary has reached out to AIG for further comment.