Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland cancer survivors' high price for insurance

By Aaron Tinney

Cancer sufferers are being charged more than three times the normal price for holiday insurance by travel insurers, a study has found.

Macmillan Cancer Support said many insurers even denied victims cover, with others charging high rates in the hope customers would look elsewhere.

Its survey of more than 2,000 people who have had cancer found more than 2% of UK holidaymakers who applied for travel insurance following a cancer diagnosis were unlikely to get a policy at all - even if they had been diagnosed 10 years ago. Another 1% of those who had ever had cancer were charged more than £1,133 for travel cover - when the average price for those who have never suffered the illness was more than three times lower, at around £373.

Declan Murnin from Co Down was diagnosed with cancer five years ago.

He said he was initially turned down for travel insurance and now has to pay higher travel insurance premiums despite being free of bladder cancer for the past 18 months.

He added: "After successful surgery and treatment I was going on a family holiday.

"Initially I was turned down for holiday insurance as I was asked if I had a pre-existing medical condition and had any surgery in the past five years or any hospital appointments due.

"After a lot of searching we found a company that would cover pre-existing conditions but the premium was much higher than before.

"I was diagnosed five years ago and I'm cancer free for 18 months now but still pay higher premiums than before.

"The questions usually ask if you've had a cancer diagnosis or any treatment or an ongoing review in the past five to 10 years, so it's something I have to live with despite the fact that I consider myself to be completely back to normal, working and leading a full, healthy life," he added.

Macmillan accused the insurance industry of failing to keep up with the scientific advances that mean people who have had cancer go on to live active, healthy lives.

It is calling on the insurance industry to ensure they are not priced out of cover.

Head of services for Macmillan in Northern Ireland, Heather Monteverde, warned that getting travel insurance for people with cancer "can turn a dream holiday into a nightmare".

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