More than two thirds said they felt they were unfairly discriminated against because of their mental health
Research conducted by Mental Health UK has shown that there is a clear desire among people with mental illness to get access to insurance, however 86% of people affected by mental illness said they did not know where to go for independent advice for types of insurance that may involve declaring a mental health condition.
According to the charity's ‘Affording protection mental health and insurance report', as many as 68% of those surveyed said they believe they were unfairly discriminated against by the insurance industry because of their mental health.
Nearly half of respondents (45%) said the application process left them feeling distressed, with 56% of those polled saying that they want insurers to be clearer about how an applicant's mental health will impact their application.
Without adequate insurance, over two thirds of those polled (69%) said that they were concerned about losing their job, their home, and getting into financial difficulty as a result of being offered high premiums or being excluded all together.
The report makes a number of recommendations, such as greater transparency and the need for insurers to review their application processes to improve the customer experience as well as better training for staff.
Mental Health UK also called for the government to take action to ensure that people living with mental illness seeking insurance benefit from the protections of the Equality Act.
Brian Dow, CEO of Mental Health UK, said: "People living with mental illness should be afforded the same protection for themselves and their families as everyone else. The experiences described by many of the people who took part in our research are based on a misconception in the insurance industry of what mental illness means and how to approach it.
"Our recommendations aim to tackle the issues that people face in accessing insurance, to extend the security that the industry provides to more people living with mental illness and help open up a new market for the industry."
Sarah Murphy, associate director for advice, information and training at Mental Health UK, said: "The experiences that people shared in our survey show that applying for insurance can be a deeply confusing and sometimes distressing experience for people living with mental illness.
"The industry must take a proactive approach to improve the service it offers to people living with mental illness and tackle discrimination, remove the barriers to accessing insurance and build trust among consumers to set a new industry standard."
‘Be confident in what you bring to the table!’
‘Is it possible to claim TIB proceeds from your life policy if you’ve written it into trust?’
Fully interactive virtual conference
Joining in September