Royal London updates HIV underwriting stance

Royal London updates HIV underwriting stance

Royal London has removed the need for an HIV blood test for non-medical limits (NMLs). 

This used to be an automatic evidence requirement when underwriting large sum assured policies and has been removed for all customers regardless of cover and sum assured and takes effect immediately.

An HIV test requirement was removed as incidence rates are reducing and survival rates have increased.

Royal London is the first company to announce this change to its underwriting philosophy.

The removal of HIV tests is a result of a wider review of NMLs, to make sure that the evidence obtained is appropriate and necessary for underwriting assessments. In addition other amendments to non-medical limits evidence requirements and removal of financial evidence requirements for Personal Income Protection have been introduced.

The following improvements have been made to NMLs:

  • HIV blood tests will no longer be required regardless of cover and sum assured.  An HIV test will still be required where a customer discloses travel to certain regions, or a specific health risk such as a history of a sexually transmitted disease or previous drug use.
  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood tests will no longer be required for Life cover, although a test will still be requested for Critical Illness Cover or Life and Critical Illness Cover, for men aged 50 and over.
  • Stress Electrocardiograms (Stress-ECGs) will no longer be required for customers under the age of 50 for all covers.

Financial underwriting evidence for Personal Menu Income Protection is no longer required other than to ensure the client’s taxable income supports the benefit level applied for. A financial assessment will now only be required in the event of a claim.

Debbie Kennedy, head of group protection strategy at Royal London, said: “We are the first in the market to change our underwriting philosophy to remove the need for an HIV test from automatic evidence requirements for non-medical limits. HIV tests have been part of NML requirements for many years, but as incidence rates are reducing and survival rates increasing we felt this was no longer necessary. The removal of these investigations will help us offer cover quicker with less inconvenience to our customers, particularly in the high net worth space.

“The amendments to financial limits will make our Personal Menu Income Protection more accessible and removes unnecessary barriers for writing larger value income protection plans.”