The PPP - Huntington's disease

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The PPP – Huntington’s disease

Huntington’s disease

Ahead of Scottish Huntington’s Awareness Day, today’s episode of the Practical Protection Podcast focuses on Huntington’s disease. Kathryn is joined by regular co-host Matt Rann, and they discuss how this might impact your access to insurance.

To start things off, Kathryn goes on to talk about what exactly Huntington’s disease is. This is a hereditary neurological disorder usually diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 50.

Kathryn and Matt talk about some of the symptoms that might be experienced such as muscular movements, clumsiness, lack of concentration and changes of mood. This condition is progressive, and as with most conditions symptoms can vary from person to person. They also discuss how these can be similar to symptoms of other conditions, such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. To be diagnosed with Huntington’s, you would undergo a genetic test to confirm.

Matt explains what it actually means for this to be a genetic disorder, and the difference between a diagnostic and predictive test. A diagnostic test is used to confirm a diagnosis if you have been experiencing symptoms. A predictive test is used to predict your risk of developing Huntington’s disease. 

When applying for protection insurance, an insurer will ask about your family medical history, including the diagnosis of Huntington’s disease for an immediate blood relative before the age of 65 (sometimes age 60). Usually an insurer is not able to ask about any genetic tests that you’ve had, though if you’re applying for a sum assured of more than £500,000 then insurers can specifically ask about testing for the Huntington’s gene.

Kathryn talks about clients having asked if having a predictive test could get better terms from the insurer. As advisers it’s quite important to know what advice to give when it comes to medical conditions. Though this could be a very positive experience for the client, it could also be a negative experience. The answer is that if you have had a negative genetic test, it can be a good idea to volunteer this information to the insurer, as it might improve the terms that you are offered.

Kathryn has also had a number of clients asking about critical illness cover, and if this covers Huntington’s disease. It’s quite interesting that Huntington’s isn’t actually covered as a critical illness. Matt shares with us his thoughts over why this is.

To bring the episode to an end, Kathryn talks us through a couple of case studies.

  • A person in their 50s needing life insurance because of their specific circumstances. They had a family history of a parent and a sibling being diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, one in their 30s and one in their 40s. A policy was arranged providing them with £250,000 over 16 years with a premium of £55 per month.

  • A person in their mid 30s came to Cura needing life insurance. They had a parent diagnosed with Huntington’s in their 40s and had also been tested positive themselves. They also had depression as a result of their test results. We arranged a life insurance policy covering them for £80,000 for 30 years with a monthly premium of just £22.

To catch anything else said in the episode you can listen below or find more of the episodes on the Practical Protection Podcast website.

If you have listened to this as part of your work, you can claim a CPD certificate on the website, thanks to our sponsors Octo Members.

If you want to know more about how to arrange protection insurance, take a look at Kathryn’s Protection Insurance in Practice course.

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The PPP – Huntington’s disease