Arranging Critical Illness Cover after an Abnormal Cervical Smear

What is an Abnormal Cervical Smear?

Cervical screening (a smear test) checks the health of the cervix. The cervix is the opening to the womb from the vagina. It’s not a test for cancer – it’s a test to help prevent cancer. Following a smear test which shows abnormal cells, the patient may be referred for a colposcopy.

A colposcopy is a simple procedure used to look at the cervix, the lower part of the womb at the top of the vagina. It’s often done if cervical screening finds abnormal cells in the cervix.

The results may show CIN.

Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)

The biopsy results may show cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). This is not cancer but identifies as an abnormal cervical smear. There are changes to the cells that cover the outside of the cervix (squamous cells). There are 3 grades of CIN and they relate to how deeply the abnormal cells have penetrated the skin covering the cervix.

  • CIN 1 – up to one-third of the thickness of the lining covering the cervix has abnormal cells
  •  2 – between one third and two-thirds of the skin covering the cervix has abnormal cells
  • 3 – the full thickness of the lining covering the cervix has abnormal cells

(Information available from Cancer Research UK)

Our client

We were approached by Mrs F, a 33-year-old lady who required a critical illness policy. She had recently had her second child and wanted the policy to provide some personal protection. Critical Illness policies pay out a lump sum if the policyholder is diagnosed with any of the serious medical conditions listed on the policy conditions.

The cover was of great interest to our client because this particular insurer pays out 50% of the sum assured (up to a maximum of £25,000), should one of her children be diagnosed with a listed serious condition. This would help to alleviate any financial difficulties, which typically arise when caring for a sick child – like not being able to go to work.

The most suitable policy

We agreed that a level term life or earlier critical illness policy with a sum assured of £50,000 over, a 10-year term would be suitable for her, and the insurer that we recommended offered the most comprehensive critical illness cover available on the market, for a monthly premium of £14.04.

We recommended that she took the policy out over a longer-term, preferably up until her children are fully independent but she felt that the 10-year term best suited her budget.  Plus she felt that her financial position is most vulnerable whilst her children are young.

Our process and advice

At Future Proof, we have access to specialist insurance companies who don’t deal directly with the public but can offer more specialised policies that are designed to provide cover where other major providers can’t.

Our research process involves us contacting many insurers to find out the best possible outcome for our clients, which avoids any nasty shocks later on during the underwriting process.

Would the insurer add a ‘loading’ to their standard premium? (this is an additional sum charged on top of their standard monthly premium to reflect their additional risk).

Might they decline the application? We want to avoid wasting time by making applications which may be declined.

Our client’s application process

Mrs F completed the insurer’s medical questions and disclosed that she had undergone treatment called a loop procedure (diathermy). This is where a colposcopist uses a thin wire loop to remove the abnormal cell zone of the cervix. A wire has an electrical current running through it, which cuts the tissue and seals the wound at the same time.

This procedure followed her cervical smear test which showed abnormal cells. The treatment was a success and a subsequent smear test showed no abnormalities.

The insurer only asked whether she had been advised to revert back to the normal interval of 3 years between smear tests and Mrs F confirmed that this was correct.

The insurer was willing to offer the critical illness cover but they excluded all possible claims for diagnosis of cervical cancer.  In view of her medical history, we felt this was an unacceptable decision and began our research with other Insurance companies to discuss how they would view her application.

Other Insurers took the view that they could offer standard terms with no exclusions if the abnormal cervical smear test showed CIN cells 1 or 2.* Cancer Research UK March 2020

A great outcome

We discussed this underwriting decision with the insurer who wanted to exclude cervical cancer, and they agreed that they would review their decision. However, this was on the basis of our customer providing further information regarding the smear.

Mrs F called her GP surgery and obtained all of the required medical information in a 5-minute call, and we passed this on to the Insurance Provider.

Subsequently, Mrs F and her children, are fully covered with a life or earlier critical illness policy which does not contain any exclusions.

It pays to speak to an expert who can act on your behalf to get the best possible outcome for you and your family.

We have up to date knowledge of the ever-changing landscape of underwriting for all providers in the UK and are committed to thorough research so that you don’t have to. What’s more, our advice comes with no obligation or hidden costs.  You don’t pay us directly but we do get paid by the insurer if you decide to start a policy with them.

All our case studies are based on actual client scenarios, many of which pre-date 2020.  We are confident that the acceptance decision made by the insurers would still be offered, although it is likely that the rates will have changed, your own circumstances will determine whether what amount will be payable by you and would be fully discussed with you before any plan is implemented.

Please note that any premiums mentioned are indicative only and based on this specific case study/ example, which is shown for information purposes only. Your own circumstances will determine whether the amount payable is more or less than the figure quoted.

Case ref: 105372017

Next steps

Whilst you are welcome to get a quote online, we would recommend you speak to one of our advisers.

Any quote that your adviser provides you with will take into account your circumstances and medical history, as well as your budget!

An online quote is just that – a quote – it isn’t a definite offer of cover. What really matters is the premium you are offered, after your application has been assessed.

Call Freephone 0800 644 4468 – Monday to Thursday from 09.00 to 19.00 and on Friday between 09.00 and 17.00.

Please feel free to read our Independent client reviews, or read about the team at Future Proof


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Take a look at our handy guides ‘What Cover is Right for me?’

Do you suffer from a medical condition and concerned you can’t secure Life Insurance?  Please view our ‘Medical Guides’ for further information.

Whilst we will make every endeavour to help someone to arrange insurance, there is no guarantee of success.  All applications are subject to underwriting.

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