The unintended consequences of lockdown and are starting to be seen (and discussed) more and more as we start to see light at the end of the tunnel. The latest knock on effect to be identified is the delay in underwriting for protection policies caused by a bottleneck in GP medical reports.
Many protection policies like critical illness, income protection, family income benefit cover and life cover often have a requirement for medical underwriting before terms can be issued, Underwriting can also apply to annuities, particularly where there’s an impaired life element and even some mortgages, where applicants are over a certain age.
A number of adviser firms and protection providers have come out this week to highlight the problems they have been encountering. It seems that delays in obtaining medical reports are commonly between four and eight weeks, with as long as nine months having been reported. Many GP practices have pushed requests for medical reports to the bottom of the pile, whilst they have been coming to terms with new working practices. That seems understandable given the pressures facing GP practices, but you shouldn’t ignore the consequences. Without medical reports underwriting is impossible in certain circumstances, which means that some individuals have been left without vital levels of financial protection. That’s OK if nothing happens to you but devastating if you do suffer from what should have been an insured event. As always it’s the most vulnerable with pre-existing medical conditions who are suffering the most.
There are few obvious solutions until GP’s recognise the issue. One possible solution is for individuals to download their own medical records where this facility is available, unfortunately this is not possible across all practices.
If you are considering your protection needs it would be advisable to talk to your financial consultant sooner rather than later given the inevitable delay.