Our friends at Shine Cancer Support offer incredible support for those diagnosed with cancer in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s throughout the UK and Ireland, and they also host a fun podcast called ‘Not Your Grandma’s Cancer Show’, aimed at sharing experiences and information with other young adults with cancer.
Hosted by the lovely Tatum de Roeck, there’s already been a great variety within the podcast series, covering things from mental health following diagnosis, to ‘scanxiety’ and most recently – travel and travel insurance with cancer.
The latest instalment in the series featured our very own Fiona Macrae, who is also a Shine member, and saw her speak about her own experience with breast cancer and struggling to find travel insurance after diagnosis – which led her to founding Insurancewith.
The podcast also addressed issues with travelling after cancer. Like Fiona’s, many consultants recommend getting away after treatment and managing some recovery time away from home and the continuing reminder of things like hospital appointments and prescription slips, as this can really help with the recovery process.
Getting travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions is known for being more difficult, especially when you are looking to cover something like cancer. When insurers use medical screening questions which can not only be upsetting, but which also try and fit a sometimes complex medical situation into a price bracket, customers are often put off the entire experience. When travel insurance companies later turn them down for cover, many travel without the appropriate cover.
Fiona spoke about how her experience with trying to get travel insurance after a diagnosis inspired the idea of a travel insurance company which accurately assessed the customer’s medical situation:
“Working in insurance, I thought the underwriters would have assessed the risks [of breast cancer]. I worked in household insurance and we assessed a lot of risks – if you lived in a flood area, we assessed that risk and those circumstances to get to the right rate to quote somebody. So I took on that approach, but no one was assessing that cancer risk. It was probably on that first holiday when I started to think about insurers actually assessing the risk of things like breast cancer. Sitting by the pool reading my travel documents thinking, ‘It’s not that complicated, I’m not insuring anybody’s life, we only need to make sure they’re going to be well enough for the next six months – for a holiday – because not many people will book any more than six or twelve months in advance for travel insurance. When I got back home I was talking to more people about it, and they said ‘What you’re saying makes sense’. Then, I met a travel underwriter and I said ‘You seem to ask to ask the same question no matter what type of cancer you’ve got… Well I’ve had breast cancer and that has a different outcome to someone who has lung cancer or prostate cancer and the treatment is different so how can you ask the same questions?’”
“We started by changing the questions for breast cancer first, and offering cover for people who were waiting for surgery for their breast cancer, providing their chemo had been finished for more than 4 weeks. And people who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer but wanted a break before treatment started – so it’s also about offering those people cover. We don’t see the need to penalise someone just for visiting a doctor or being ill. Asking someone how often they’ve been to the doctor in the last twelve months has no bearing on how much of a risk they may or may not be.”
At Insurancewith, we believe that accurately assessing a person’s medical situation is what lies at keeping our rates as low as possible. That’s why we have our specialist medical screening system, and our award-winning 1-2-1 medical screening system which allows those with more complex or serious conditions to get cover by speaking directly to a medical underwriter.
Fiona added: “The travel insurance industry is changing as a whole, more and more people are following our lead and doing the same thing that we’re doing, and that’s brilliant. I wanted to give people with cancer a choice – whether they choose my company or another company, as long as they have a choice, and a fair price”
You can find out more about Shine Cancer Support and their radio podcast, ‘Not Your Grandma’s Cancer Show’ on their website here, or Facebook and Twitter feeds.