Love Yourself This Valentine’s!

February 14th is Valentine’s Day. Hurrah for love!

Rather than worrying about how you are going to get out of the house after the mountain of cards arrive, why don’t you ask yourself a question?

When was the last time you did something to love yourself?

That could mean getting up a little earlier to fit in some exercise, eating healthier, drinking more water, doing some peaceful meditation or going to get a general health check-up.

Most of the time you only get your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar or BMI (height to weight ratio) checked if you have gone to the doctors for something specific…. Maybe you’ve never had need to go at all, so don’t know how your health stands. But did you know there are other options available for you to get a general health check-up? This could be at your local GP surgery, a pharmacy or your local gym might even have the option. It doesn’t have to cost the earth either.

If you do this regularly you can find out if there are any signs to show that these readings are heading in the wrong direction and put some actions into place to correct it, before it gets out of control.  Once these levels get to the point where you need medical intervention, they often carry a number of other health risks, which is why it is so important to keep a check on them.  We’re all so busy with work and family that we often put our own health to the bottom of the priority list!

Insurance companies now look at ways to encourage their policy holders to be healthier and some will even reward you with up front discounts on your premiums. With discounts on other products and services, if you are doing what you can to be active and engage in your health you’ll be rewarded.

What if I already have high blood pressure/ high cholesterol/ high BMI/ high blood sugar levels?

Don’t worry. This doesn’t necessary mean that you can’t get insurance. The insurance companies look at each application on an individual basis and if they can see that you have this under control they will often still look to offer you insurance. There might be some terms attached to the cover, but by getting independent advice you can make sure that you are going to the insurance company that will offer you the best terms of cover for your own circumstances. But remember to answer the medical questions honestly on your insurance application to make sure that you are fully covered if you ever need to make a claim. Talk to your adviser if you have concerns and they can give you the best advice.

So, remember this Valentine’s Day to show yourself some love!

Critical Illness Spotlight: Cervical Cancer Claims

With a big focus on cervical cancer throughout the month of January, we take a look at the cover provided on a critical illness policy and how a cervical cancer claim would be assessed.

Cancer claims make up the largest percentage of claims paid on a critical illness policy by the UK’s insurance companies, making up around 65% of all claims (around 55% for males and 77% for females.)*

But when is a claim an eligible claim?

The Association of British Insurers have set the wording for the definition of a cancer claim as:

Any malignant tumour positively diagnosed with histological confirmation and characterised by the uncontrolled growth of malignant cells and the invasion of tissue. The term malignant tumour includes leukaemia, sarcoma and lymphoma except cutaneous lymphoma (lymphoma confined to the skin).

For the above definition, the following are not covered:

All cancers which are histologically classified as any of the following:

  • pre-malignant;
  • non-invasive;
  • cancer in situ;
  • having borderline malignancy; or
  • having low malignant potential

If the diagnosis meets this definition, a policy holder would receive 100% of the monies they are insured for.

However, with regular screening and advances in medicine it isn’t unusual for a female to find out they have early stage cervical cancer. If this means an abnormal smear, where there is an indication of abnormal pre-cancerous cells, then they wouldn’t be eligible to claim at this point. There are many treatments available to remove cells, but at this stage none of these treatments would be aggressive enough to warrant a claim on the policy.

However, over the years insurers have added cover for early stage cancers to their policies, giving policy holders an amount of additional cover should treatment be needed for an early stage cancer. In the case of cervical cancer, a claim for a carcinoma in situ of the cervix would trigger this, but only if the treatment needed is a trachelectomy or hysterectomy.

Insurers recognise that needing either of these operations would mean frequent hospital visits and a good few weeks off work to recover. To compensate for that they’ll pay the policy holder a percentage of their full cover amount, usually around 25%, up to a maximum of £25,000. This is paid in addition to the main cover, not deducted from it.


Lucy has a critical illness policy and her current level of cover is £80,000. She has been diagnosed with carcinoma in situ of the cervix and needs a hysterectomy to remove it.

Her insurer, Royal London, will pay her 25% of her sum assured under their terms and conditions, giving her £20,000.

A few months later Lucy finds out that the operation wasn’t successful and the cancer has now become invasive, meeting the definition of a full claim. Royal London will now pay Lucy the £80,000 that she is insured for. This means Lucy has received £100,000 from Royal London.

Some older policies may not have the additional cover for early stage cancers, so it is always worthwhile reviewing any existing cover with your adviser, to ensure it’s as comprehensive as it could be.

Additional Help

Insurance companies are there to provide financial help at a time when it is needed, however they have innovated over the years to provide practical and emotional support too. The type of support available could be:

  • Support from a nurse adviser who will ensure you are fully aware of your condition and the treatment you’ll receive – a shoulder to lean on when you need it most
  • Access to world leading specialists who can offer a second medical opinion
  • Counselling
  • Complimentary therapies to help you get back on your feet

For more information on critical illness cover please contact our specialists on:

01332 416470 or



*CI Expert 2019

The Need for Insurance

One of the big questions we ask our clients is:

 “If one of you died or couldn’t work due to illness, what financial impact would this have on you? What would the emotional consequences be?”

Sometimes it’s a difficult question to answer and it needs a lot of thought. We can look at your finances and make a good guess because we know that bills have to be paid. The emotional fall-out is often something far removed from you, unless you have been close to someone who has been through ill health.

One way to survive the financial impact is to put in place insurances that will do things like:

  • replace your income if you are ill
  • give your family a lump sum of money if you die
  • pay off debts if you are ill or die

Insurance has come a long way in the last 5 years with many insurance companies offering a range of support services to help you to get back on your feet quicker. This could be access to therapies, counselling and second medical opinions.

But what does this help look like in real life?

Seven Families was a charity led campaign to provide a tax-free income, for one year, to seven people who had lost their income because of a serious or long-term illness or disability. Working with many of the UK’s insurance companies, the seven families were given a replacement income and help via the support services available to raise awareness of how insurance can help at a desperate time.

The campaign aimed to highlight the need for people to plan financially in case they become too ill to earn an income – supporting those who hadn’t taken insurance out.

One of those families was the Pickford family.

Paul Pickford from Bolton was fit and healthy and ran a car dealership. In November 2012 at the age of 42 he suffered a brain stem stroke while at work. He is now paralysed and cared for by his wife, Vicky.

Having no insurance in place, Paul’s family was helped by the campaign. His heart breaking journey can be watched on the 7 families website

The need for advice

From speaking to our clients it is obvious to us that many people don’t know what insurance is out there – or how it really benefits them.

Lack of knowledge means that people don’t take out insurance and therefore leave themselves in a very vulnerable financial position should the worst happen.

As professional advisers we are passionate about educating you about the risks of not putting insurance in place. We work with you to put in place cover that ensures you aren’t worrying about money on top of the worry of ill health.

If you have no financial protection in place, or want to review what you do have, we can help.

Contact us today for a comprehensive review by our award winning advisers. 

John & Krystine’s Claim Story

John & Krystine’s Story

In September 2017 John was diagnosed with bowel cancer. In their words, this is how the critical illness cover we set up for them has helped them through this devastating time.

“We are so thankful to Fiona for recommending our AVIVA critical illness insurance policy. We never actually believed we would ever have to use the policy, but in September 17 we did. Words can’t express the horror and terror you feel when you are told you have cancer, it’s just not something you think will happen to you.

John has now had three operations and is awaiting chemotherapy. Thanks to our policy our mortgage has now been fully paid off, which is a huge weight off our minds. This has also meant that I have been able to reduce my full time working hours down to part time to enable me to be at home more for John & our sons.  Words can’t express what a difficult time this is for us, but knowing that we don’t have to make any mortgage payments is just amazing.

Thanks Fiona for all your help and support and ensuring we were fully covered. We can’t recommend Hollybeck enough, not only are you highly professional, but you have given a personal service that you just don’t get everywhere.”

When we set up policies for our lovely clients, we honestly hope they never have to claim. But, when they do we are there to help them every step of the way. From helping with claim forms, to chasing the insurer until the money is paid to them, we try to take away any stress we can at this difficult time.

We are sending lots of love and positive thoughts to John, Krystine and their family.




Life Insurance – Do I Need It?

Life Insurance – Do I Need It?

You’ve probably heard of life insurance but what is it exactly and most importantly how would it benefit you?

What is Life Insurance and what is it used for?

In a nutshell life insurance pays out a sum of money if you die. This money is typically paid to your partner, spouse or children and it protects them from financial hardship and an uncertain future in the event of you dying.

Protecting your Family

If you are married or in a relationship and have children who are financially dependent on you then the chances are, life insurance is vital. If you died would your spouse or partner struggle to pay the rent or mortgage? Would they still be able to go on a family holiday each year? Could they afford to pay for after school clubs, swimming lessons, birthday and Christmas presents, university fees, utility bills, run a car, buy groceries and all the other expenses life throws at us?

It’s easy to underestimate how much running a household and raising a family costs. Try punching your details into this handy life insurance calculator by Aviva and you may be shocked at just how much these costs could amount to.

Stay at Home Mums & Dads

You may think that if you don’t work there’s no need to take out life insurance. But if you died who would look after your children? Would your partner have additional childcare costs? Perhaps they would want to work less hours and spend more time with your children, especially at such a tragic time. Would this be possible financially though? A life insurance payout could give your family options and relieve the financial stress at a very difficult time.

Protecting your Home

One of the biggest purchases you’re likely to make is your house. Whether it’s your first house or you’re moving to a new one, buying your own home is an incredible feeling. It’s where you keep everything that’s personal to you, where you raise your children, it’s your safe haven. It’s also a financial investment and over the years you’ll accumulate an increasing amount of equity in the bricks and mortar of your house. So naturally it makes sense to safeguard this emotionally and financially valuable asset.

A mortgage life insurance policy would pay your mortgage off if you die. So if you die before your mortgage is repaid your spouse or partner can pay off the remaining debt and live mortgage free, significantly reducing financial pressure on your family.

Inheritance Tax Planning

When you die everything you own forms part of your estate. If this is valued at more than the inheritance tax threshold (currently set at £325,000 for an individual and £650,000 for a married couple as of 2017) you will be taxed at a whopping 40%! This is a hefty price to pay for savings and investments that you’ve worked hard to build up over your lifetime and it could mean that you leave your family much less than you had hoped to.

A life insurance policy can be set up in a certain way so that it doesn’t form part of your estate for tax purposes. This policy can then be used to pay your inheritance tax bill making it a very tax efficient way to protect your family’s inheritance.

Single People with No Dependants

If you’re single and nobody depends on you financially life insurance isn’t something you’ll generally need. There are other types of insurance such as Income Protection and Critical Illness Cover that would benefit you though. If you’d like to learn more about these please fill in the form below or give us a call.

Do you Need Life Insurance?

If you’ve read this far you can probably decide for yourself whether you need life insurance. If you are still unsure and would like some free advice or if you’d like us to find the right life insurance policy for you at the best price give us a call on 01332 416470 or simply fill in the form below and we’ll get in touch.