I am a barrister and I have type 1 diabetes – can I get income protection?

Our client secured a mortgage with us and understood, as a self-employed sole trader, without employee benefits to protect her, that it was essential she secured an income protection policy – to ensure her mortgage and lifestyle were protected in the event of illness or injury.

With type 1 diabetes, our client was concerned that she would be unable to secure cover, having been previously advised she would be unable to do so.

Why do barristers need income protection?

Almost 80% of barristers are self-employed sole traders working through a set of chambers, which, for the majority, means they may not be entitled to any sick pay to cover a proportion of their salary, should they suffer from sickness or injury.

For barristers, a large percentage of claims are a result of mental health issues, such as stress, depression and anxiety, alongside muscular-skeletal problems and cancer.

Barristers without income protection may have to face the prospect of working with an illness or injury, which if manageable, may potentially prolong recovery, or worse, they may be forced to stop working and face potential financial difficulty, which will arise when outstanding aged debt can no longer support their lifestyle.

As a sole trader, having income protection indirectly protects your business from illness or injury and should be a priority, as state benefits are typically modest and insufficient to maintain the income and lifestyle of a barrister.

What is type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes causes the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood to become too high. It happens when your body cannot produce enough of a hormone called insulin, which controls blood glucose. Those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will need to take daily injections of insulin to keep their blood glucose levels under control.

It’s a misconception to think that type 1 diabetes is linked to age or being overweight, as these characteristics are typically linked to type 2 diabetes.

What an insurer will need to know if you have type 1 diabetes:

The insurer will request a targeted medical report from your GP, to outline the following:

  • Your smoker status – If you are an ex-smoker (more than 12 months), you will need to provide the month and year you quit smoking. If you are a smoker, you will likely be declined cover.
  • Date of diagnosis of type 1 diabetes – If you have been recently diagnosed (within the last 12 months), you will be declined cover.
  • What treatment/medication are you taking, and has it changed in the last 12 months?
  • Do you have any complications or pre-existing diseases? For example, but not limited to, any of the following: heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, neurotherapy, nephropathy or microalbuminuria, and retinopathy.

If you have any of the following, full reports from your GP will be requested, and income protection will, in all likelihood, be declined:

  • Have you had any episodes of hospitalisation due to Hyperglycaemia or Hypoglycaemia? – If so, an insurer will want to know the number of episodes and the dates the episodes occurred. To be provided income protection cover, an insurer may consider one episode of hospitalisation (likely to be when the first diagnosis was made). If it happens again or more than one episode occurs, it is evidence that your condition is unstable, and cover will likely be declined.
  • An insurer will require that you provide your last three HbA1c/IFCC dated readings, that your GP completed. To get cover, these have to demonstrate perfect control.
  • On top of this, you will be asked to provide VIA from your GP of your last three dated cholesterol, urinalysis and protein/creatinine ratio results. These will also have to demonstrate perfect control.

How likely is it to get income protection when you have type 1 diabetes and what can you expect?

In most cases, it is unlikely that any insurer will offer income protection to an individual diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, based on their standard outdated criteria. However, insurers have the ability to amend their underwriting criteria for certain conditions, as improved medical science and procedures have now proven to reduce certain risks associated with certain conditions. We would therefore advise anyone looking for personal protection insurance cover, who has been diagnosed with a medical condition, to seek the advice and support of a protection specialist.

The result:

At Henry Dannell, we never assume an immediate decline of cover, and will always conduct a whole of market check. In this instance, we were able to source one provider who was willing to offer cover. Whilst it didn’t meet all of our client’s initial requirements and was at a non-standard premium, we were able to secure the policy. In this case, they offered the cover at 150% above the standard premium. Meaning, for example, if the premium is £50 per month, with a 150% increase, this will rise to £125 per month. We were able to secure this cover for our client as she was in excellent health, had good control of her condition and had no complications as a result of her condition. For any individual with an underlying medical condition, there is generally a premium to pay.

Contact us now for your fee-free income protection assessment. Getting the right policy requires bespoke, specialist advice contact us on 0204 5999 444 or email us at info@henrydannell.co.uk to get a fee-free risk assessment.

Please note: protection plans with no investment link will have no cash in value at any time and will cease at the end of the term. If premiums are not maintained, then cover will lapse.