Refused Life Insurance

I am so angry I could cry. I am just in the process of buying my first house. All is well and I work full time etc. Two things have happened that have upset me. I was diagnosed with Mild MS and what they call a CIS Clinically Isolated Syndrome of the brain stem. I have been good with very few problems except a recent bout of Occipital Neuralgia ( Scan in process ) Anyway I had to declare to the life insurers I had had a neurological problem and they have refused me life cover! I do not have RRMS Ihave benign MS and if that is classed as MS at all. They are basing this decision on a maybe or a possibly and I think its outragous. I might get run over, I my die from a heart attack, I might have a plane drop out of the sky onto my head. Can anyone help me in complaining about this decision?

Hi Bexster,

I think the first step is to be clear exactly what you have been diagnosed with, as this all sounds a bit confused.

There is no such diagnosis as "mild MS" and a diagnosis of "benign MS" is only possible retrospectively, after a long period (10 years or more) without significant problems.  If you have only been diagnosed fairly recently (i.e. definitely under ten years), it is not possible to say at this moment that your condition is "benign", as MS is notoriously unpredictable, and only time will tell.

Another possibility, as you hint, is that you have not been diagnosed witn MS at all, but only with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS).  This is an MS-like attack, but one which does not satisfy the "multiple" aspect of multiple sclerosis, because there's only been one episode.

People who've had CIS do carry a higher risk of going on to develop MS proper (any subsequent attack will confirm it), but not all of them ever do.  But it's definitely enough of a risk to give an insurance company a concern.  They're not going to insure against something when there's already been a warning sign, even if that sign may not ALWAYS lead to the risk materialising.

Sorry to use this analogy, with the tragedy that's in the news, but you wouldn't insure a boat that put to sea with reports of leaks, would you?  After all, it may make it safely, but it's not something you'd want to bet on - not if your business depends on getting it right most of the time.

Likewise, an insurer isn't going to insure against a condition that's already been hinted at.

I think your best bet is to shop around.  I believe you can still get life insurance with a CIS or MS diagnosis, but that it will specifically exclude MS, or any complication resulting from it.  That means you'd still be covered for the heart attack, or the plane dropping on your head, but not for neurological disease.

It's really great that you're doing so well, but it's not enough for an insurer to overlook that there have been issues.

The MS Society, in collaboration with a third party insurer, does offer life assurance specifically geared to people with MS:

(Link is to elsewhere on this site).

BUT, I have no idea how competitive it is on price, so you may be able to negotiate a better deal elsewhere.

It's not impossible to get, just more difficult, and there will be some exclusions.



Ditto to everything Tina said.

If you just state "neurological problem" you will almost certainly get refused - it might be something with a very short lifespan.

MS generally shortens a person's life span by a small amount (4-7 years?) so life insurance might be more expensive, but there will definitely be people who offer it. Please shop about. Get your diagnosis properly confirmed first though - I don't think it's possible to have MS and a CIS of the brain stem. (Could be wrong though!)

Karen x

I used to work in insurance and thought I knew how it all worked. I recently applied for life & critical illness cover, expecting MS to be excluded but other non-related illnesses to be covered. Instead, I was refused critical illness cover completely and offered life cover with a higher (double) premium! So apparently MS means I can’t be covered for cancer, heart attack, etc. etc. and I’m twice as likely to die! I was furious (the term only took me to the ripe old age of 52!).

If you just need life cover, you should be able to get something somewhere but it may need a lot of research first. Good luck!

Hi Bexster

I've created a new post as I've also been looking into health/critical illness insurance. I'm not diagnosed. Like yourself I'm finding this to be a bit of a minefield. Have you had any luck with yours?