Figures show that as of January 2017, more than 100,000 strokes happen in the UK each year; which is the equivalent to around one stroke every five minutes. A stroke has also been identified as the fourth leading cause of death in the UK, according to the Stroke Association.
And if those facts didn’t shock you, you will find it even more alarming to hear that stroke survivors are at a greater risk of another one occurring within the first 30 days, and it is known that 1 in 5 survivors will experience one within 5 years.
However, despite this overwhelming figure, it only takes one stroke to realize the importance of life insurance. Many people do not expect a stroke to happen to them, and as a result many people go without protection for themselves and their families, even though statistics suggest that the chance of a stroke occurring is more likely to happen than people think.
The good news is, that if you are a director or an employee of a Limited Company, draw an income or dividend, and are a small business with less than 5 employees, you could benefit from a life insurance plan that also happens to be very tax efficient. Life insurance can now be put through the business and treated as an allowable business expense so that families are covered to keep commitments, like mortgages and to make sure they are looked after, in the unfortunate event that something would happen to you, you can still leave a legacy.
Luckily, there are insurance policies out there for people with ill-health including a Relevant Life and Relevant Life with Critical Illness Plan, an insurance policy that allows companies to offer a death-in-service benefit to its employees. It’s set up by the company and pays out a tax-free lump sum on the death, or diagnosis of a terminal illness of the person insured. The proceeds go directly to the employee’s family or financial dependents and the policy will count as a business expense, so it’s tax deductible and does not count towards annual or lifetime pension allowances.
Life insurance policies following a stroke
If you were to have a stroke, the possibility of obtaining a life insurance policy tends to reduce significantly. Applying for life insurance coverage, with the objective of achieving a reduced rate should be avoided. Your health is a determining factor in an application for life insurance, and underwriters will consider the type of stroke you had, in order to assess your application.
To determine what you will pay for your life insurance policy, there are lots of deciding factors that insurance companies will look for. It can be a lengthy process, especially if you have had a severe health complication like a stroke, but getting covered for life insurance is possible. Insurance companies divide strokes into ‘full strokes’ and a regular ‘stroke’ and mini-strokes (TIAs). TIAs can be seen as a red flag for more serious and life-changing health concerns, a history of TIAs in your medical records indicates that you are likely to have a ‘full-stroke’, which can be more damaging to your chances of obtaining an insurance policy, as it may look like you are just about to get coverage before something more sinister happens to you. And if it’s been less than a year since your last stroke, an insurance company will not even consider your application, as strokes and TIAs have a high possibility of occurring again within the first 12 months. So companies are likely to postpone your application until you have had a clean bill of health for at least that long.
What is a stroke?
A stroke is a serious, life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Strokes are a medical emergency, and urgent treatment is required immediately, when a stroke occurs, as the sooner treatment is received the less damage will be caused, and thinking fast can potentially save lives.
Different types of strokes
There are two main types of stroke: ischaemic, which is the most common type of stroke, which is caused by a blocked vessel in the brain and starves the brain of oxygen. The other type is haemorrhagic, which is due to bleeding in the brain. About 85% of all strokes are ischaemic and 15% haemorrhagic.
There is also a related condition known as a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), where the blood supply to the brain is temporarily interrupted. This is what causes a mini-stroke, that often lasts between a few minutes and several hours. TIAs should not be taken lightly, as they are often a warning sign of something more serious, like a full stroke, happening in the near future. A TIA should be treated as seriously as a full stroke. Symptoms of a mini-stroke usually disappear within 24 hours, however, they should not be ignored. Seek medical advice as soon as possible, even if the symptoms of a mini-stroke subside, as 1 in 12 people could have a stroke within a week of having a TIA.
Who is more at risk of a stroke?
Around a quarter of strokes occur in people of working age and men are at higher risk of having a stroke at a younger age, than women. But, there is a great number of stroke related deaths in women. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the average age for men to have a stroke is 74 and the average age for women to have a stroke is 80.
Reducing the risk of a stroke
The likelihood of a stroke occurring can be reduced by making changes to your lifestyle and leading a healthier. Factors such as eating healthier, exercising regularly, not smoking – as smoking doubles the risk of death from stroke, and consuming alcohol in moderation as regular consumption of large quantities of alcohol significantly increases the risk of having a stroke, can all reduce the chances of a stroke occurring.
To find out more about tax efficient life & critical insurance, contact us at C&D Business Protection Specialists on 0330 043 4321 or visit our website www.businessinsuranceltd.co.uk