Life - Articles - Value added benefits supporting mental health conversations

Value Added Benefits (VABs) as part of critical illness and life insurance cover are helping to ease conversations about mental health and provide vital support, new research from HSBC Life (UK) Limited (“HSBC Life (UK)”) shows.

 Its study found nearly one in three protection advisers (31%) believe access to mental health support is one of the most valued benefits offered through VAB packages, behind financial wellness support at 40%.

 Over two-fifths of advisers (47%) also believe continued financial stress, driven by on-going cost of living pressures, will substantially lead to an increase in demand over the next two years for medical guidance/advice offered through VABs support services.

 Separate research with consumers found that 70% of adults aged 18 to 64 would be comfortable speaking to a private healthcare counsellor face-to-face or online about mental health issues. Such services are available through VABs demonstrating their importance to protection insurance and potential protection insurance customers.

 HSBC Life (UK)’s research, which coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK (13-19 May), found nearly two-fifths (36%) of adults would value access to mental health support through protection policies.

 Mitchell Barker, Chief Distribution Officer at HSBC Life (UK) Ltd, said: “The protection insurance sector is rapidly adapting to changes in attitudes towards mental health. Value Added Benefits are an important part of that transformation by offering access to counselling for customers as part of their cover.

 “At HSBC Life (UK), we have recently changed our digital rules for mental illness disclosures made during a life and critical illness cover application to remove the stigma of mental illness. In our view, seeking treatment for mental health should be seen as a positive and not a barrier to a customer’s protection needs. Since this change has been implemented, we have seen a significant increase in customers being accepted for standard terms at application stage.”

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