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Code of Practice for Underwriting Mortgage Protection Insurance for Cancer Survivors


Insurance companies who are members of Insurance Ireland, have signed up to a new Code of Practice called the “Insurance Ireland Code of Practice for Underwriting Mortgage Protection Insurance for Cancer Survivors”. The aim of this code is to ensure that former cancer patients who have overcome their illness can get access more easily to mortgage protection policies.

The insurance companies will not charge an additional premium and will not turn down cover as a result of these previous cancers. However, it is important to note that if the client has other medical issues, that they may result in an increased premium or refusal of cover, even if the cancer history is disregarded.

 

What are the criteria in order to qualify for the code of practice?

  • Treatment must have ended more than seven years prior to the application for mortgage protection ( more than five years if the applicant was under 18 at the time of diagnosis)

  • the insured amount cannot exceed €500,000 per applicant

  • the policy must be connected to a mortgage on a PPR ( principal private residence)

  • the application is for a new individual decreasing term life protection policy (serious illness cover cannot be included in the policy)

The applicants are still legally obliged to answer the questions in the application form honestly and with reasonable care. However, once the necessary criteria are met, the Insurance companies will underwrite the policy and give the applicant a premium rate (as if the cancer never happened)

 

1What is the Code?

 Since 6 December 2023, a new Code of Practice on Mortgage Protection insurance for cancer survivors has come into effect. This means, companies that provide Mortgage Protection insurance can ignore a cancer diagnosis if treatment finished more than 7 years ago, or more than 5 years if you were diagnosed when you were under 18. The Code has been introduced to help cancer survivors to get Mortgage Protection cover.


2. What changes will Insurance companies make to their underwriting as a result of the implementation of this Code?

 In line with the “Insurance Ireland Code of Practice for Underwriting Mortgage Protection Insurance for Cancer Survivors”, Insurance companies will disregard any disclosed cancer diagnosis where all of the following circumstances apply; a. The application is for a new personal decreasing term life insurance policy (Mortgage Protection only), covering the risk of death only. No other product type is covered by the code e.g. Serious illness cover b. The application is to cover a mortgage on the applicant’s (PPR) principle private residence. A principal private residence is where the applicant lives most or all of the time. The Code does not apply to mortgages for second homes or for buy-to-let properties. c. The sum insured applied for is the lower of the mortgage amount or €500,000. d. Treatment for cancer ended more than seven years prior to the application or more than five years prior to the application if the applicant was under 18 at the time of diagnosis. If all the above criteria are met the insurance company will disregard the cancer diagnosis and no additional premium will be charged as a result of the cancer diagnosis, with an application for decreasing term life (Mortgage Protection).


3. How is ‘end of treatment’ defined?

 End of Treatment means the applicant is in complete remission* and active treatment** ended more than seven years prior to the date of the application, or more than 5 years prior to the date of application, if the life assured was under age 18 at the time of diagnosis. Complete remission is determined by a cancer survivor’s treating oncologist. This includes the absence of signs and symptoms related to a cancer diagnosis which may be determined by, but not limited to, physical examination, radiological investigation, and serum biomarkers. * The term “active treatment” represents the use of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, biological agents, immunotherapy, bone marrow transplant or any evidence-based medical approaches to cure a cancer. These therapies may have been employed in both the primary (adjuvant and neoadjuvant) settings and secondary setting. The term “active treatment” excludes anti-hormonal medications, or any form of preventative therapy or medicine designed to reduce recurrence risk following complete remission.


4. When did the Insurance Ireland Code of Practice for Underwriting Mortgage Protection Insurance for Cancer Survivors come into effect?

6th December 2023.


5. What product does this code apply to?

 The Code applies to Mortgage Protection Cover only. Normal underwriting applies for all other products.


6. I need a Mortgage Protection policy for more than €500,000 and I meet the criteria for the Code. What should I do?

 Please contact a Financial Broker (e.g Citywide Financial) to arrange this. We will need your application form, including the disclosure of your cancer diagnosis. €500,000 will be accepted under the criteria of the code and the balance will be subject to normal underwriting requirements.


7 If I am already in progress of taking out a policy, does the Code apply to me?

Please contact your Financial Broker. You will need to let them know if you have a Mortgage Protection application in progress which meets the criteria. This will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


8. I have an existing Mortgage Protection policy, which was rated due to a history of cancer. I now meet the Code criteria, what should I do?

 Please contact your Financial Broker. We will need a new application form, including the disclosure of your cancer diagnosis. Just to note that the new application will be based on your current age. (not the age when you took out your original cover)


9. My application was originally postponed or declined however I believe that I would now fall under the criteria for the new Code of Practice. What should I do?

 Contact your Financial Advisor to arrange this. We will need a new application form, including the disclosure of your cancer diagnosis.


10. My policy issued before 6th December 2023 however it has now lapsed. Can I reinstate this policy and avail of the new Code of Practice?

The Code of Practice only applies to new Mortgage Protection applications keyed on or after 6th December 2023.


Rob O’Neill

01 5138710

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