The Hunger Games: Why insurers should forget fasting medical tests.

24 Nov 2017

Traditionally insurers have requested fasting glucose and lipids but we think it’s time to forget fasting, writes Square Health’s Dr Anne King.

Several studies have shown fasting is not necessary so why inconvenience our clients?


There are enough hurdles on the path from initial conversation to acceptance where the customer can stumble and drop out on the road to going on risk. Fasting medicals is one we should eliminate.


Medicals should be convenient, easy and simple. Getting rid of fasting medical tests is the next step.


With over 4 million people in the UK living with diabetes securing life cover for people living with a chronic condition such as Diabetes is not always straightforward and can involve detailed medical questionnaires; they can face policy exclusions, additional premiums or being declined, depending on the nature of their condition and how well they manage their health.


Instead of requesting a fasting medical, Insurers should use the customers:

a) HbA1c blood test result. This does not require fasting and gives an indication of blood glucose levels over a prolonged period.  HbA1c blood test result would make it easier for advisers to help their customers with diabetes to secure life cover.

b) non-fasting lipid levels. Several studies have shown there appears to be little difference between fasting and non-fasting lipid levels. As part of its updated guidance on ‘Cardiovascular disease: risk assessment and reduction, including lipid modification’, NICE indicated that a fasting sample is not needed and non-HDL cholesterol should be reported as part of the lipid profile.


As the insurance industry is continually striving to make it as easy as possible for people to obtain insurance, wanting to keep blood testing to a minimum is a worthy cause and one some companies are beginning to take up.


Mark Dennison of adviser firm LightBlueUK concurs: “We would certainly encourage insurers to try to make the customer journey through the medical and underwriting process as simple as possible. Losing clients due to the lethargy and complexity of the process is frustrating for all concerned. While it is an important part of the adviser’s skillset to make sure the client is informed and engaged throughout the process, for many people there comes a point when the application journey feels more like a tedious waste of time.“


The full article is available to read here