Proof of progress on AIDS: HIV positive people will now be able to buy life insurance

Life insurance companies aren’t in the business of issuing policies for people who are likely to die soon. That’s why they ask applicants so many questions and review their medical histories before offering coverage. So it’s a real sign of progress in the battle against HIV/AIDS that Prudential, a mainline insurance company, will soon offer life insurance to people with HIV in the UK.

According to the Daily Telegraph (Insurer offers life cover to people with Aids virus)

The policy – from PruProtect, a joint venture between Prudential and a South African firm – will offer policyholders up to £250,000 of life cover for a maximum of 10 years.

Kevin Carr, the director of protection development at PruProtect, said: “We are pleased to be the first mainstream insurer to provide life cover for people living with HIV. I believe it is better to provide some cover for some people than nothing at all.”

The Terence Higgins Trust, a charity that raises money for HIV research, said: “We welcome this move from PruProtect and are glad to see an insurer that recognises the reality of living with HIV in the UK in the 21st century. We hope this will be the start of a wider move to offer appropriate financial products to people with HIV.”

Those affected by HIV and looking for life insurance should contact an independent financial adviser about the product. The Pru is not offering “standard” premiums – it says costs will be worked out on an individual basis, and will be dependent on medical history.

It added that people buying the new product would generally pay higher premiums than those buying traditional life insurance policies “to accurately and fairly reflect the risks involved”.

With the continued advancement in antiretroviral therapy in recent years, HIV/AIDS has gone from a sure death sentence to a serious, chronic illness. It’s a testament to the way a broad set of stakeholders: patients, physicians, pharmaceutical companies, not-for-profits, diagnostic companies, payers and governments have worked together over a sustained period to get us to this point. Look at the progress in HIV compared with the lack of advancement against other serious diseases like hepatitis and you’ll be even more impressed.

Congratulations to Prudential for recognizing the progress in a tangible way.

May 1, 2009

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