15 April 2002
For people living with multiple sclerosis, finding meaningful insurance cover is often difficult, if not impossible. Insurers have, in the past, based underwriting decisions on out of date information and incomplete understanding of the condition.
It is exciting then that in MS week, the MS Society is embarking on a ground-breaking new venture with leading insurance broker, Heath Lambert Group. People with MS and their supporters and carers can now access a wide range of financial services and specially tailored insurance products through MS Society Insurance Services.
The MS Society and Heath Lambert met with insurers to discuss the particular needs of people with MS. A leading authority on multiple sclerosis, Professor Alan Thompson from the National Hospital for Neurology has also been involved in order to give insurers a fuller understanding of the condition and the advances that have been made in researching and managing the disease.
Professor Thompson comments:
'When I talk to people about their MS, I'm struck by the way their difficulties with financial matters can sometimes cause as much anxiety as their relapses.'
MS Society's Director of Marketing, Ken Walker, says the Society has been aware of how the insurance market could discriminate against people with MS.
Ken Walker comments:
"For years, some parts of the life insurance industry have taken their facts about MS from old and misleading data. It's meant lots of people have been turned down unfairly. And with other policies like travel and contents insurance, there are many things people pay for in surcharges, when some of those can be provided almost as standard. It was time to try to get a better deal for people with MS".
As a result of discussions with insurers, there are a number of products now available specially designed for those living with MS including:
· Home Insurance
· Travel Insurance
· Motor Insurance
· Life Assurance
Particularly exciting is the breakthrough in Life Assurance. A new approach
by insurers means many people with MS will now be able to obtain Life Assurance
for the first time, while many others will be able to obtain it at a more
competitive price than has been possible in the past.
MS Society admits the new service will not always be able to provide cover for everyone.
Ken Walker comments:
"MS is a widely varying condition which affects different people in different ways. Symptoms range from the benign through manageable to severely disabling. Individual circumstances differ considerably".
For Heath Lambert, helping medical charities such as MS Society to update the basis on which insurers assess risks is an important part of the job.
Executive Director of Heath Lambert Affinity Partnerships, Rob Constable, comments:
"It is about more than just arranging XYZ insurance cover; it means doing whatever we can in the market to actually improve the situation. That is just what we have done with MS Society, and I am hopeful we can continue the process".
"Ultimately, it is about creating some genuinely satisfied affinity members and generating a good income stream for the affinity group itself," Rob added.
The new products and services available through MS Society Insurance Services are not just for people with MS - their carers and supporters can also take advantage of competitive rates, with MS Society receiving a donation for every policy sold.
Nor is MS Society Insurance Services just for members of the MS Society - anyone can call on freephone 0800 7833 157 for further information or for a quote.
Multiple Sclerosis Society Insurance Services is a trading name of Heath
Lambert Consulting Limited (HLC) and Heath Lambert Limited (HLL), a member
of the General Insurance Standards Council. HLC is regulated by the Financial
Services Authority and is a member of the Society of Pension Consultants.
Heath Lambert Affinity Partnerships is a division trading name of Heath Lambert Insurance Services (a division of Heath Lambert Group), which provides tailored insurance solutions for organisations that wish to outsource the provision of personal lines insurance to their customers.
Heath Lambert Group is the seventh largest insurance and reinsurance broker in the world, with a truly international presence. With 4000 employees operating out of some 88 offices in 43 countries, the Group holds a leading position in a number of markets.
For further information, please contact:
David Harrison and Adrian Ellis
Tel: 020 7838 2680
Mobile: 07836 523 495
Heath Lambert Group
Tel: 020 7560 3521
Mobile 07890 204 077