Getting the facts on HIV
Thousands of people living with HIV in the UK are benefiting from better use of data to set their insurance premiums
Management of HIV has changed hugely in the last ten years according to Rosalie Hayes, campaigns and policy officer for the UK’s National AIDS Trust. “Nowadays, if you are diagnosed promptly and on effective treatment, you can expect normal life expectancy,” she says. “We encourage people to think about it as a manageable and long term condition.”
However, despite huge strides in treatment and prognosis, the insurance industry was initially slow to react. “People were coming to us and saying that they could not get cover, or if they could, that the premiums were very high,” Hayes says. “Our concern was that the refusals and the high premiums did not accurately reflect the risk.”
Thanks to the use of more up-to-date data on HIV outcomes, it is now easier for those with the condition to obtain life and travel insurance, with life insurance available since 2009. The Association of British Insurers has produced a guide for consumers, urging them not to cancel their life insurance as soon as they find out they are HIV positive, and informing them that it is now possible to obtain life insurance when you already have a diagnosis.
However, Hayes hopes that insurers will continue to take into account new and better data about those living with HIV to make other types of insurance more widely available for customers. “It is still extremely hard to get income protection insurance or critical illness cover, even though our own research suggests that those who are HIV positive are slightly less likely to take time off work sick,” she says. 5