Some insurance companies are accused of depriving people of their lives and other types of insurance, even if they have nothing to do with mental health.
Those with mild mental health conditions say they are completely deprived of life insurance and have increased their economic insecurity.
Dozens of complainants contacted the guardian about the discrimination. Charities and activists called the findings “very worrying” and suggested that insurance companies operate on the basis of outdated mental illness.
In some cases, insurance companies seem to reject prolonged depression or anxiety, or when a client admits to suicidal thoughts or self-harm in his medical records. These customers are said not to be eligible for insurance even in cases of death that have nothing to do with mental health.
One of the rejected applicants was a victim of the July 7, 2005, bombings in London suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She described the rejection as “disturbing” and “worrying” and said she did not understand mental illness.
“I have never given a specific explanation for why I was rejected, but I have no health problems,” said a woman who did not want to be identified.
“From the point of view of an insurance company, they don’t want to provide people with mental health problems of mental health related issues, but I was surprised because any report and rejection, especially considering the condition of my health,” she added. .
Others say they were punished for attending a sad counseling session or two after their families died, leading to higher premiums.
Charities warn that legal shortcomings mean clients have little to defend against this form of prejudice.
Michael Hansen, director of mental health charity webber said: “the difficulty is that, according to the” equality law “, only to get the sole protection of disabled persons, even if the insurance have some immunity.
“Under the act, the current definition of disability does not include all people with mental health problems, making it difficult for people with mental health problems and their legal advisors to determine their rights.”
Rethink getting Illness consulting manager Laura Peters said: “the so-called” high risk “seems to be based on the understanding of Mental Illness is more and more obsolete, lead to people because of their situation and are disproportionately drive because notice premium or reject. Life and health insurance can be important safety nets. ”
“It’s totally inappropriate and discriminatory for me, and the government needs an urgent investigation, and we need a basic review of these policies,” he said.
The guardian heard about dozens of people. Many of them because of the life insurance was refused, but others don’t know they say refused to be the cause of health or travel insurance, but a lot of people say that the only possible reason is that their mental health records.
Many believe they have been rejected for suicidal thoughts or self-harm in their medical history, but others say they have been asked to reapply because of a recent diagnosis.
The suspicion is that insurers are picking customers to minimise risk and improve profitability.
Henson – Webb said: “some insurance companies operating always lack of transparency, and a lot of people do not seem to understand why they were refused insurance means they didn’t get information about how to make a decision.
“It appears that some insurance companies are carrying out crude assessments, such as the” three dozen “rule, which may constitute discrimination.”
One insurance broker, who asked not to be identified, said: “some insurance companies target different markets, such as” clean lives.” “It sounds bad, but they’re all at sea.”
He added: “my wife recently wanted to apply for a new insurance policy, her GP job was under pressure and the insurance company automatically increased the premium.” How many people have experienced work stress? I think it’s ridiculous. ”
Cara Lisette, 27, from hampshire, said she was stripped of her cover, but at the same time her partner was accepted as an exception. “It seems unfair,” she said. “he can be excluded from the cover of illness, but I can’t get the same result.
Life insurance applications have been carefully assessed and evidence-based, insurers say. When dealing with customers with mental health problems, they say, they ask how long and how they are treated. They also asked for any time off or attempted suicide. Insurance companies acknowledge that in a few cases, a mental health background can lead to high quality loading or exclusion or, in the worst case, denial of insurance.
A royal London spokesman said: “most mental health conditions are mild or self-limiting, so we can offer a standard rate of over 90 per cent for our clients.”
Aviva a spokesman said: “we attaches great importance to the responsibility of the equality act of 2010, including the insurance company independent evaluation allows customers and to accept the terms of the standard rate to provide higher premiums or reject according to the special regulation of the risk of every applicant to provide insurance.
“We do not deny people with disabilities different conditions of insurance or insurance unless there is statistical evidence that this is a higher risk than people with no medical history.”