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Life insurance policies must not exclude suicide

11th April 2017

FCA welcomes opportunity to collaborate

PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide is calling for the insurance industry to stop selling life insurance that excludes death by suicide.

We believe the insurance industry will be persuaded to change their policies once they understand the issue. This should not be a matter that requires them to press for government legislation.

PAPYRUS has been pressing for a change to the way in which conclusions are reached in cases of suicide. Suicide was decriminalised in 1961; yet coroners today must use the Criminal Standard of Proof, ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, to reach a conclusion of suicide.

When PAPYRUS started its campaign in 2012 insurance companies sold life insurance that excluded suicide for the first 18 months, (which we felt was not unreasonable) but now they are selling insurance that completely excludes suicide.

PAPYRUS believes this to be unacceptable because it discriminates against young men, who are much more likely to end their life by suicide.

”We know that 79 per cent of deaths by suicide are by young men. Having suffered the unimaginable loss of a partner or husband to suicide, a young wife, perhaps with young children, must face the awful financial difficulties that follow,” says Stephen Habgood, PAPYRUS chairman.

 “Excluding suicide is prejudicial to men, just as it would be prejudicial to women to exclude breast cancer. It is also wrong when selling an insurance policy to treat a mental health condition in a different way than you would treat a physical condition,” emphasised Stephen Habgood.

Andrew Bailey, CEO of the Financial Conduct Authority said: "I am grateful to PAPYRUS for raising such an important issue with us. I hope that working together we can make progress to improve the situation for the families left behind." 

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Suicide is the biggest killer of young people - male and female - under 35 in the UK. Many thousands more attempt or contemplate suicide, harm themselves or suffer alone, afraid to speak openly about how they are feeling.

We are the national charity for the prevention of young suicide. We draw from the experience of many who have been touched personally by young suicide across the UK and speak on their behalf in our campaigns and in our work. We need more people who share our aims to join us to strengthen our voice - together we can save young lives.

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