Monday marked the start of ‘Know Your Numbers Week’, the Blood Pressure UK’s campaign aimed at highlighting the importance of knowing our blood pressure. To coincide with this, Life and Pensions provider Friends Life has revealed the impact that not knowing your numbers can have on protection insurance. Friends Life customer data highlights that hypertension (high blood pressure) is the fourth most common medical disclosure on protection applications and the British Heart Foundation estimates as many as five million people in the UK are currently suffering high blood pressure without even knowing it.
Chris Pollard, head of claims, underwriting and operations at Friends Life, comments: “Knowing your blood pressure and getting the right medical support to control it is not only sensible from a health perspective but it can make the process of getting protection cover quicker and easier. Having raised blood pressure identified as a result of an application can create delays as a fuller investigation by a client’s GP will be needed before cover can be offered. In cases like this it can take some months before cover can be offered, as the insurer will seek to feel sure that the condition is responding to the treatment and that the client is complying with medical advice. However, once diagnosed, hypertension can often be brought back under control, meaning that securing cover is not usually problematic.
“The most important thing is being aware of your numbers, so that there are no surprises when you do apply for a critical illness product. High blood pressure is a common condition and one that can be dealt with relatively quickly so knowing your numbers will help early detection and subsequent control. We fully support the Blood Pressure UK’s initiative and hope large numbers of people take advantage of the free screening.”