Episode 3 | Vaping

Hi Everyone,

This is our third episode and it’s all about vaping. The most interesting thing is that Kathryn and Andrew have kind of switched roles in this one. Kathryn is more cautious about the underwriting of ecig users, than Andrew is!

Are you guessing who is telling the truth or lying, right?

In this episode we are focusing on e-cigarettes and what you need to know, if you use these and want insurance.

Our 3 key takeaways,

1. 5-6% of adults in the UK vape.

2. Some insurers may class very occasional smokers, as non-smokers.

3. Potential ratings for an ex-smoker that has previously had a heart attack.

As with all of our episodes, do you agree with us? Disagree with us? Send us a message and let us know your thoughts. We would also love for you to send us any questions that you want us to discuss on upcoming episodes.

Kathryn

Hi everyone, this is episode three and it’s all about smoking and e-cigarettes.  I’m Kathryn –

 

Andrew

And I’m Andrew and this is the Practical Protection podcast.  So good morning Kathryn.  How are you today?  How was your weekend?

 

Kathryn

I’m good thank you, I am good.  I’ve had a headache all weekend, three kids, and I seem to be feeling a bit better now they’re now at school and they’ve gone away.  I miss them terribly but – only half an hour and I’m already missing them, but I feel such a nice – nice to chill out actually and have a podcast.  It’s so nice!  How are you doing?

 

Andrew

Yeah I’m – I’m not so good this morning.  As I said just before we came on air, my – so my grandma passed away this morning.  She was ninety-six so – I still nevertheless had the chat with my mum about how surprising and shocking it is in this context.  So I think she was a smoker of about seventy years but in reality she was just like a fantastic, independent woman who has reinvented herself various times through the ages, probably the least – or the most recently when my grandad died twenty years ago and she definitely had as much fun in her last twenty years as she did in her first seventy-five.  So yeah, in spite of working around all of this it still always comes as a surprise I think at any age when it happens to someone you know and love.  But good to get – good to get into technical things as I think maybe people find work’s a good place to kind of hide and let those thoughts go in the background so, yeah –

 

Kathryn

Well I’m sure obviously from myself and I’m sure for everybody who’s listening, obviously we all pass over our sincere thoughts and hugs and everything.  You’re just going to get so many virtual hugs sent down this – to you and everything and obviously to your mum as well and to all your aunties and everything.  It’s not a – not an easy situation at all.

 

Andrew

Thank you.

 

Kathryn

So we have our truth or lie feature and I haven’t actually checked the Twitter poll in all fairness because I think the last time I checked, there’s was a whole of two people had responded and I think one of them may have been you Andrew!  So maybe Twitter polls aren’t my thing.  I can do other bits of social media – just not the polls.

 

Andrew

I’m committed to the podcast.  Yeah, I’m definitely committed to the podcast and I know that you are – the more things don’t work, the more determined you are to make them work.  So if anyone thinks ignoring this feature will make it go away they are sadly mistaken.  I think my – I think my truth or lie last time was that I am a bit of a night owl and that I haven’t been to bed before midnight in the last four years.

 

Kathryn

But yeah mine was that my family considered that – they will say that I am the mixture of being quite smart but having no common sense and that I can’t operate push/pull doors.  And I’ve had people tell me again, which one – who they think which of us – they all think that I’m telling the truth now which I’m – I’m kind of insulted people think I can’t operate push/pull doors but do you want to give your answer as to whether you’re telling the truth or not?

 

Andrew

So it’s a – mine is an absolute lie.  I was going to say I haven’t been up past midnight in the last four years.  I have always been an early riser and all the more so after kind of kids and everything so nowadays I tend to, you know, wake up, do an hour’s work and then be kind of making noise outside the kids’ doors wanting to play with them.

 

Kathryn

See I sneak, I’m a sneaker so I’m like, “Don’t wake them.  Just don’t wake them.”

 

Andrew

Oh no.  I just want people to play with.  So – hence this podcast, I am definitely lying which I guess means –

 

Kathryn

Yes, I can’t – yeah, I can’t basically – if I go out somewhere and there’s obviously – I can’t remember what the – can’t even think what they are – are they revolving doors that you can get in?  Those ones I’m quite happy with.  Push/pull doors I have no idea what it is and I do it but I’ve got thing and I’ve had it since I was a kid where my mum said I was an unusual child because you know when you get like as a – and I’m thinking of this ‘cos I’ve got a two-year old and you’ve got those like shape sorters and there’s like you have to get a circle in the circle and the square within the – you know.

 

Andrew

Yes.

 

Kathryn

I never worked with them well in the sense – and I’m sure people can probably appreciate this knowing me – I would always try and force the square into the circle shape and refuse to put it in the square and I would literally get the hammer and just bang at it repeatedly until it eventually didn’t do what I wanted to do and then I’d just shrug my shoulders and just go, “Well, I didn’t want it to go in there anyway.”  And I’d walk off from it.  So – so if you see me – anyone, if I’m going anywhere and you see me coming near a door, you know, just please don’t just stand and wait and laugh at me.  Try and maybe help me?

 

Andrew

I’ve just pictured yourself throwing yourself at a window now from that shape sorter analogy.

 

Kathryn

Absolutely!

 

Andrew

So it’s something that [inaudible 0:04:38]

 

Kathryn

Absolutely, why not?  Maybe we should just get – I should just get slides everywhere.  If all buildings could just have slides I’d probably be the only person that would like that.

 

Andrew

Yeah, yeah, I’m not – I must admit, I’d love to be surprised but I’m struggling kind of to try and find that emotion.

 

Kathryn

Mmm, mmm.  So today we are going to be talking about e-cigarettes, vaping and everything like that and I think this is going to be a really interesting one because you are completely and utterly leading this.  I know very little about this.  I did used to smoke – all gasps of horror everywhere – because I basically – my, well hopefully my mum won’t listen to this as she’ll hate me saying this – but I used to – obviously when I was younger I watched Grease and I was always like, “Oh my god, those women are just amazing.  I’m going to smoke.  I’m going to have one of those little smoke, you know, cigarette holder things and everything.  I’m going to be so cool.”  And my mum forbid me from ever smoking so naturally as soon as I was able to get anywhere away from her, I was smoking.

 

Andrew

Yeah I know.  I was never as cool as you Kathryn.  I remember really trying to smoke.  I think – I think only ever on my own like literally so that I could then go and, you know, be with the cool kids, which is probably, you know, still the kind of thing I do in life.  It’s like, “I’ll practice and then if I’m good enough then I might possibly do it in public.”  I just remember finding them utterly disgusting which obviously I was – I was lucky to have that experience.

 

Kathryn

They are hideous, I don’t think anyone has them and thinks, “Oh this tastes so amazing!”  Okay, I was always like, “I’m just going to be cool.”  I’m amazed as well ‘cos we live near a secondary school, I’m amazed at how many kids come out of the secondary school and – they’re not smoking, they’re vaping and I’m like looking at them and I’m thinking, “Why?”  And then kind of thinking, “Hang on a minute, why are you vaping?  Why aren’t you just having cigarettes?”  You know, and it’s not that I want them to have cigarettes but it just seems so bizarre to me that vaping is the new cool in a sense.  I don’t know.

 

Andrew

It’s interesting isn’t it?  I think that’s quite regional.  So – we’ll come on to vaping and use, I guess, at some point inevitably during this, but I guess anecdotally amongst my friends who are vapers or ex-smokers, there’s something in there that they would say – those with teenage kids, where vaping is something that their parents do and therefore is incredibly uncool.

 

Kathryn

Aah.

 

Andrew

So my footpath – like you I live near a secondary school and I must admit – and it’s not, you know, I think one of the problems with vaping is there’s so much anecdotal stuff –

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

But our footpath is still reassuringly cigarette-laden.

 

Kathryn

Strewn, bet that’s lovely.

 

Andrew

It’s changing all the time and that’s one of the – that’s why it’s interesting and important, both from an underwriting perspective to get the risk and from an adviser perspective to kind of recommend the best place to go.

 

Kathryn

Well I’ve got some – before you I let you loose with your underwriting and all this kind of stuff – so I’ve got some stats and things and just general comments and things that I’ve seen recently running up to this.  So I was doing some research and it says that roughly five to six percent of adults in the UK are vapers and that the primary reason that people start using them is that they’re wanting to quit smoking.  Only four percent of people who are trying to quit smoking go down the vaping route so there’s still ninety-six percent of people who are wanting to stop are still using obviously your older, more traditional methods I think.  I was also looking at some surprising statistics and I found these actually a little bit offensive and I thought it’s – sorry but it hits home to me sometimes why I don’t like statistics and why I’m very much more of a qualitative type person.  But I was looking at the Office of National Statistics and they were saying that people who are using vaping are – generally they’re saying that it’s people who are in manual jobs, live in social housing, of low education, they’re single and that they’re gay, lesbian or bisexual and they’re far more likely to be smokers.  And actually I say I found that quite offensive because I thought it kind of made it seem – I felt as like it was kind of negative towards those kind of groupings and also everybody that I know that’s a smoker doesn’t actually fit into any of those categories anyway.  So it just – it really, really surprised me.  I know, obviously statistics are statistics and that but it just – I don’t know, I didn’t like that.

 

Andrew

There’s so many different stories within the – as you say, the five percent of vape – people who do vape nowadays or in numbers terms – So I think my numbers, there’s roughly two million people who only vape and about another two million who smoke and vape and clearly within there there’s going to be massive, massive differences.

 

Kathryn

Okay.

 

Andrew

That said, yeah, there’s no hiding the fact that smoking has, you know, is more frequent among different socioeconomic groups and different groups and things like that so I guess at public health level those stats become useful.  I’m trying to think of a – like as for insurance where the protection gap is a crap number and thing to use in terms of just, you know – but it might help a new insurance company launch a business thing.  When you actually apply it to an individual it means nothing.  One thing that you talked about there of this people using –

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

Vaping to give up is I think something we’ll increasingly see.  So clearly – and I don’t think anyone would disagree, that the best thing to do is – the best thing to do is to be like me.  The best thing to do is never smoke, right?  Not even those one and a half cigarettes.  Never smoke anything and the best thing to do if you smoke today is to give up all smoking and no one, you know, not even the keenest vape enthusiast would claim anything else from a health perspective, from a physical health perspective.  In theory – oh sorry no, at the moment, there isn’t enough evidence to link vape products with successfully helping you give up smoking.  There’s quite a lot of anecdotal evidence and I think it is one of the things that vape companies are looking to develop, so you will now see, if you go around supermarkets, some vape-type products, e-liquids and things like that you put into your e-cigarettes, can now be sold in the – in the sort of pharmacies of supermarkets.  They’re not necessarily behind the tobacco counter.  They can’t be advertised as helping you give up smoking.  So I think things like that and how they’re positioned varies totally by different countries.  The UK has quite kind of relaxed progressive, if you want to use that word, laws and regulations around it but even here there still kind of can’t be that claim made yet in the way that, let’s say for Allen Carr, you know, giving up smoking things and other tools and techniques, they are used.  But there are increasingly links into GP surgeries and things like that and I – certainly if you look at the direction of travel, it wouldn’t be a surprise to me if you do see GPs sort of prescribing e-liquids or things like that in the not-too-distant future.

 

Kathryn

But I mean, I think for me, is – and this is obviously – we always come at this and I think everyone probably thinks that we’re probably going to do this, where I’m going to come on saying, “Give everybody insurance,” you know.  “Nobody’s a risk,” and that you’re probably there going, “Ooh, well, turn it down a bit Kathryn.”  Now we’re actually the opposite way in this I think in some ways.  I don’t think we’re like massively into each other’s ball area but, you know, I’m quite nervous and cautious about e-cigarettes because to me – to me there’s not enough research.  Just so like we were mentioning last week with some rare conditions like, you know, Ehlers-Danlos and things like that.  We said well actually the insurers are like this because there isn’t really enough research yet, they’ve not been funded enough, they’ve not done this.  With these cigarettes we still – it’s in such its infancy and the long-term risks of this.  I know that – I don’t know what this is fully but I know there’s something called popcorn lung or something that’s associated with vaping?  Do you – can you sort of like explain that side of it to me?

 

Andrew

For me as a risk person and putting that hat firmly on and the headphones in and not taking account into anything else then that first question is always what is the risk of this?  And it doesn’t matter whether it’s e-cigarettes, whether it’s Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, whether it’s anxiety – you kind of have to be completely blind to the emotion behind that and the stories behind that and just go, “Well,” as you say, “what’s the risk?”  And interestingly there, that kind of ends – takes us to a place on this where you do kind of go, the similarity for many underwriters and risk people is HIV on this as an emerging risk where there isn’t, you know, you go back to the nineties and noughties with HIV and go, “Well all of the trends there were looking positive but there wasn’t the twenty-five years’ worth of experience,” etcetera and that’s exactly where we are today with vaping and e-cigarettes and this whole world around this.  So to popcorn lung and things like that explicitly, you often have different sides between people who have been smoking for a long time and who then move to vaping.  You have different flavours and different things in different e-liquids globally and so – and you have the different technology of the different e-cigarettes and different kits globally.  So certainly when you throw the cast really wide, and you have legal and illegal liquids and home made kits, so as much as there’s kind of homebrew and as disgusting or occasionally pleasant as that can be, you know, amplify that many times by the – for e-cigarettes.  So much more so I guess than with the traditional medicine where you – where you, yes, have some ups and downs and some new treatments that end up having side effects.  Clearly here you also have all that unregulated piece and as I say this critical thing of going – you typically are looking at people who are – who have been smoking for twenty-five, thirty years anyway.  And it’s – and it’s unpicking all of that and that you need – that you need to try and be doing here while also, I think, in my opinion, recognising that for life insurers always to say, “Well, come back to us in twenty-five years’ time and we’ll have an answer” isn’t a good enough turnaround time, particularly when the reality is that whatever’s in e-cigarettes in twenty-five years will almost definitely be different to what’s in there now.  And that is a challenge because, yes it’s new stuff but it’s not hugely new now, you know.  There were – I think it started more in North America and you’ve certainly got sort of coming on for the best part of ten years’ experience of – for some individuals now.  So yeah, it’s time to sort of be brave and make decisions on things and recognise that things will still go wrong or right but I think – I think – I think frankly people are running out of time to wholly go, “This is new, we don’t know what’s going to happen.”

 

Kathryn

But a little bit of a side route as well though because, you know, obviously we were chatting – and I know we chatted about this previously between us.  In many ways I know that it’s really important for insurers to do this but in some ways you kind of think well how important is it in regards to what’s going on in people’s lungs and different things like that?  Because, you know, at the moment it’s a simple question.  Say like if somebody is – if somebody is a smoker, it’s very likely that their GP knows about it, different things like that.  But if someone’s a social smoker, the GP’s probably not going to know about it and they could easily just say no on those forms and insurers aren’t going to know any different really.  But there was something else that we – I say we spoke about when we were talking about – one of my team brought it up, Jade, and it was an incredible question when we were chatting.  And she basically said, “Well, do insurers price differently for people who are living in London compared to us here?”  Because, well, do we get up in – up in Yorkshire by the sea, you know, where we’re just all out in nature and everything, do we get charged the same as someone in the middle of London who is amongst all that congestion and everything?  And I watched a QI recently and on it Sandy Toksvig was saying that there was the stats to say that one twenty-minute journey on the Underground is equivalent to smoking a cigarette.  So all those people who are commuting, doing the Underground, you know, all day every day, couple of hours every day you know, they’re in equivalent doing potentially just as much damage to their lungs as someone who is a smoker.  So kind of where – where do we draw the line with this or is there potentially areas that insurers are missing in regards to it?

 

Andrew

So there’s definitely areas that insurers are missing with regards to risk.  Postcode pricing has been talked about for a long time for a number of different reasons and yeah, I guess you start from the, you know, people in Glasgow on average die a long time before people in Surrey and that’s irrespective of what’s in their lungs.  That’s a lot about lifestyle and it’s a lot about the medical questions that we ask anyway so I guess the first thing there is are we double counting?  So if we were to start charging more, is the risk that actually you double count and for a lot of those lung conditions you’d expect to see symptoms by the times we underwrite them anyway.  So the reality is those people are probably going to disclose more people living in London – he pauses slightly to know whether this will be true – you would expect more people living in London, in Central London, to disclose lung problems than people living by the lovely sea in Yorkshire.  Now that’s not wholly true and obviously it will, you know, it will affect people at different points in their lives.  It does become – that specific example does become one of the challenges with having different rates or approaches for vapers to smokers, to non-smokers.  So the traditional tests for smoking that insurers will often randomly select people to see when they disclose, if they’re being treated or lying, is the cotinine test.  And that just checks to see if there’s nicotine in your blood or in your urine, sorry.

 

Kathryn

Hang on, I thought the cotinine test was a swab in your cheek?

 

Andrew

Yeah sorry, it can be all those different things, so yeah –

 

Kathryn

Oh right, okay.

 

Andrew

No I’ve – yeah, sorry.  As I go down the – I always start – as an underwriter I always start by wanting to stick needles into people and then I gradually come back from that, so yeah, sorry.

 

Kathryn

Oh, I’m glad you’re not my underwriter then!

 

Andrew

But that’s on a – so – but going forwards then I think one of the challenges is – so when you look at other tests that are a bit smarter frankly than just seeing if there’s nicotine in your blood because nicotine isn’t actually something that kills you, nicotine is something you get addicted to.  Then when you look at those things and that’s where you often do hit this kind of – well they either vape or they live in Central London.  You know, there’s lots of bad things or lots of interesting things, let’s say, in their lungs but identifying exactly what can be difficult.  So that’s been one of the challenges – is finding tests that kind of conclusively show what’s happening.  Because I think you do end up with a lot of these things where you go – you could price more accurately taking some of those things into account but is it socially acceptable or what’s the general benefit to it etcetera?  So that’s kind of where we end up on those.

 

Kathryn

Alan Lakey came out in Cover recently with some pretty shocking statistics actually of how much smoking can increase the chance of cancer so I believe it was for – he talked about something called pack years in regards to cigarette smoking.  I’ve never heard that before and so it was really interesting to see that.  I’m not even going to pretend that I understand the calculations.  I’ve just, you know, I can’t do it in my head sort of because we’re just chatting because it’s – I don’t know enough about it yet.  But so I say, if you were a smoker it increases the risk of lung cancer in men by 1,600% and then the risk of cervical cancer increases by forty-six percent if you’re a smoker compared to fifteen percent if you have – for breast cancer and I thought those were really surprising because obviously the prevalence of things like breast cancer and prostate cancer get so much more attention because they happen so much more often but actually smoking seems to increase the chance of these other cancers dramatically and I don’t think – I was really surprised when I saw those statistics.  I don’t think people necessarily know those figures to-hand and I’m surprised that we don’t have them more to-hand just generally.

 

 

Andrew

I think that’s why I get passionate and angry about what insurers are doing at the moment and I don’t get passionate and angry about insurance all that often.  The single best thing a smoker can do for their health is to give up smoking all together.  It’s not to take up running, it’s not to improve their diet, it’s to give up smoking.  And to the pack years thing, no, even if you’ve been smoking for forty years, once you stop smoking for one month, six months, one year, the impact – and it is one of those – it’s where we need a video podcast, if you go and Google the images of lungs at different time periods after you give up smoking, it’s incredible.  Whether you look at existing policy holders for insurers where insurers are quite happy to kind of throw out lots of potentially useful support services, value added services, but with one or two exceptions they don’t really engage with smokers about the prospect of them giving up smoking.  Maybe even more worryingly for insurers, you have this sort of almost – sort of dirty secret where you go, “Well, so what’s in it for the insurers and existing policy holder?”  Or if that insurer persuades and helps someone to give up smoking, the good advice at twelve months later would say, “Right, good news, now it’s time to go and rebroke your policy and get you non-smoking terms.”  Which is all – that’s exactly what an adviser should do in those situations subject to the health not having changed but they kind of – the economics for that insurer become very difficult in that situation.  And I think that’s the key thing to get over with these things is the fact today is that most insurers still deal with vapers exactly as they do with smokers but that doesn’t mean that every actuary or underwriter or every insurer thinks that vaping is the same risk as smoking.  I’ll say hardly any do.  I don’t know any who do believe that but by the time you kind of pull apart all the different bits of pricing and the market and everything like that, it becomes very difficult to offer those terms but what – but what you end up is, you are today, I believe, in a place where those – that five percent of people, those two million people are effectively subsidising ninety-five percent of people.  I don’t think that’s fair.  I don’t think that’s right and that’s where I’ve kind of come to on it – that’s my passion and anger over and I’ll revert now to my risk hat.

 

Kathryn

Well I think, you know, we do have it where obviously there is an insurer that will look at e-cigarette users as non-smokers so you know there is that progression there.  There was also Gary Pitman from AIG who was contacting me because he was giving us feedback, lovely feedback on the podcast, thank you Gary.  And he was saying, obviously for themselves, you know, on a sort of case-by-case kind of consideration, obviously they will look at it – so if someone comes and says, “Well look I have a cigar on my birthday and at Christmas,” they won’t necessarily class them as a smoker and I think that’s a really positive – I mean, I do think if you’re a smoker then you are obviously a much higher risk and I fully understand why you pay more.  Vapers, I – I’m a little on the bench but, you know, I’m happy to be told – you know, I will bow to your knowledge and say – and be okay about them not being stuff like priced, you know.  Maybe there could be like a half-way pricing for vapers, maybe?  As a – until we know a bit more, or something, or maybe just a slow rating?  But, you know, I think that kind of thing of an insurer having that opportunity to go, “You know what, actually, you know, we get it.  Sometimes you may have a nice cigar or you may do this.”  I’m not sure how I feel about maybe if someone goes over to Amsterdam for a weekend or anything like that, but it would be interesting – it’s good that they have that kind of flexibility at times to understand that life happens, we can’t all be, you know, living perfectly and eating five fruit and veg a day and all this kind of stuff.  You know, sometimes we want to do stuff and actually just live and if by living that means like once a year, twice a year, having a cigar or something, then why not just enjoy yourself?  It’s not going to do a massively huge detriment to your health hopefully, touch wood.  I’m going to have someone say to me now that it will do.

 

Andrew

Yeah.  No, and it’s not going to and the reason – so traditionally there’s – in the UK there’s always been this binary approach to smoking from an insurance perspective.  So you either are a smoker or you aren’t and as you say and allude to and to kind of reiterate for people who aren’t familiar, then that question is have you had a cigarette, other tobacco product or nicotine replacement product in the last twelve months?  And it’s – in theory is literally a ‘yes’ and you are a smoker and a ‘no’ and you are not a smoker.  Clearly, that makes no sense at all from a risk perspective but the main reason for justifying that does come back to this testing and being able to know if the person may have told the truth or not.

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

So that’s where we’ve kind of settled.  In other markets around the world, different approaches are taken.  In quite a lot of markets there’s still just aggregate rates.  So smokers and non-smokers are all charged the same and a lot of that does come back to your – to your kind of well how, you know, what incentive is there to be honest?  And in some cultures there is just a – well it’s not worth asking someone because they’ll all lie and, you know, we know there’s more than 0.5% of smokers in our population.

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

So the only fair way to deal with it is to do that.  I still think that looking forwards in the UK, the way to go is to have – certainly in IFA-land, is to have more than two, not two or less different grades and it – and I absolutely think that vaping falls between smoking and not smoking and probably social smoking is another category within there as well.

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

And because – for both social smoking and vaping, and again this isn’t – this is – this does go into certainly for vaping being too early to tell – but one of the worries that insurers have is, “Well if you’re still vaping products with nicotine in, you are or you must be more likely –”

 

Kathryn

To smoke.

 

Andrew

That you’ll –

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

Take up smoking again.

 

Kathryn

I suppose for – it must be hard for insurers as well though when it came to a claim wouldn’t it because if they do introduce another level, so say like if someone says, “Well I’m a social smoker so I’m only going to get this percentage rating,” and then someone actually is a full smoker, how is the insurer going to know and the same with like the e-cigarettes?  You know, there could be people who are having – obviously I know there’s some insurers I think who treat e-cigarettes with – that are nicotine-free – different to people who are using e-cigarettes with nicotine in them.  And it all comes down to how.  How would we possibly – you know, how are they going to know at that claim stage that it’s – even though as an adviser and as yourself, you know you could be sat here thinking, “Oh it’s really frustrating because clearly someone have a nicotine-free e-cigarette is less risk than someone who is smoking.”  It does all come down to probably that proof of – and when it comes to the claim.  If, you know, if they do die from – obviously from probably cancer, we’re assuming that’s going to be the biggest risk here – how do we then know that they have been truthful at the start and that their premiums and – you know, everything else has been fairly allocated?

 

Andrew

So that is a risk.  As a pragmatist, I’d still go down and go, well you could run that argument for quite a lot of existing questions that we ask and because we’ve always asked them then we don’t maybe throw that challenge at those existing questions quite as much.  There may well be ways that you, you know, bluntly and it’s not commonly used in claims departments today, but sometimes people will look on social media accounts and things like that and frankly vaping and smoking is the kind of thing that you may well get a sense of if someone is certainly doing it regularly or frequently.  I think sometimes those arguments, while valid, are used to defend the status quo and not to change things.  If the alternative is knowingly unfairly charging a group of people more than you would otherwise charge them, then that feels like at least something where in a – in a competitive market, people should be actively taking different positions.  And as you say, some insurers are and I think the practical bit of this podcast is very much a – keep your eyes on what’s happening at the frontline, understand the insurers’ sometimes slightly different questions and slightly different question wording as to what’s moving here and stay in touch with them on it.  Bluntly, and I guess you’ll have maybe more frontline experience than me as it is, I think where insurers do move on stuff like this, they probably aren’t going to shout about it and advertise it because it’s not, you know, it’s not like some of the other subjects we’ll talk about – mental health let’s say, where insurers kind of want the good publicity of it.  They are nervous about what might happen so they kind of – they’ll want to do some but I don’t think any insurer is going to move in the near short-term –

 

Kathryn

I would agree.

 

Andrew

You know, “We want a hundred percent of vapers coming to us.”  So they do great, but I expect it’s more likely that you’re going to pick up a question wording change and go, “Does this really mean this?” to a BDM or – and then great.

 

Kathryn

Well you never know.  So there we go.  Oh a call to insurers now, if you’re happy to be a vaper supporter then let us know, but I mean this is really something that you’re passionate about isn’t it?  You’ve been two other podcasts recently I think about this.

 

Andrew

I got into this partly – initially through working with the Institute of Faculty of Actuaries who have a – who have a workstream specifically on this that published something last week that I think was out through The Actuary magazine, so end of February 2020.  But also, yeah, since then as happens, you become a – I guess a bit of a specialist.  So I did work – some work last year with a tobacco firm who have a vape product and are looking at how insurers could – could get into this.  So, you know, that’s a, I guess, a declared interest on this.  I’m not working with them at the moment but I think, you know, to me the science becomes pretty overwhelming and as I say, the reasons for insurers doing it are pretty well understood and it’s not because of the science, it’s because of the business model, is the primary reason.  Yeah, and so I guess including that – so there’s AMUS, Association Medical Underwriting Society, something like that, a podcast that I did with Neil Daniels who’s an actuary who leads that committee and a brilliant lady called Dr Sharon Cox who works at London South Bank University going through the science and why things aren’t moving quicker.  So if you – if you kind of like this but want less of the fluff and want more of the science as to what’s really going on when you breathe these things in then certainly I will push that AMUS one as and when it comes to light.

 

 

Kathryn

We can put a link for it on the website as well.

 

Andrew

Yeah.

 

Kathryn

So people can see whereabouts it is.

 

Andrew

Yeah that would be really good.  And I guess one of the things – I can’t even remember if anyone said this on that podcast, I think it was more – it became my kind of thing for the two weeks after that was it’s a bit, you know, because often the argument is that lots of the same ingredients are in these things so how can it be so much better?  Someone came up with the, “Well it’s like potatoes, you know, and depending on how you cook potatoes and what you – what other ingredients you put on them, quite clearly if all you eat is cheesy chips that’s quite a different risk to if all you eat is steamed potatoes, you know, new potatoes.”  And I think that’s –

 

Kathryn

Oh but cheesy chips are tempting.

 

Andrew

I was going to say – I’m now thinking of cheesy chip years and how many –

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

And new underwriting –

 

Kathryn

The new level of underwriting, “So what do you eat?  How do you eat your chips?”  Curry?  Salt and vinegar?

 

Andrew

I think [inaudible 0:32:20]  You know we’ve grown up understanding, hopefully, that one of those is quite good and one of those is definitely not good.

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

And I think there is just some of that relearning from an understandably cynical or, sorry, sceptical – and rightly sceptical population that goes, “Well hang on, you know, a) a lot of these companies, tobacco companies don’t exactly have a great track record with telling the truth to the public about the health of their products and b) well if eighty percent of what’s in them is kind of the same then how can it be so different?”  But yeah, I’m comfortable, very comfortable with the science, I think more importantly – much more importantly than that, very intelligent people who have done a lot of research into this are increasingly comfortable.  And I think we need to react.

 

Kathryn

Fantastic.  And do you have some case studies or something you were going to chat about?  Because I’ve got a question about somebody as well, case study-wise.

 

Andrew

Yeah, I guess my case studies probably are partly deliberately to highlight some of the madness of what’s going on but also to consider how you and people like you would react.  So to take my first one, to say someone who’s – let’s say who’s fifty-five years old and has smoked for thirty-five years.  Couple of years ago they had a heart attack and so gave up smoking and so now are a non-smoker.  Non-smoking, fifty-five-year old.  How would you expect to see that happen and I guess I can do the risk bit as well.

 

Kathryn

Oh, how would I – what would I expect for a client?

 

Andrew

What – if they came to you at Cura –

 

Kathryn

Oh you’re putting me on the spot here.

 

Andrew

What would you – would you – yeah I am.  It’s nice.  I get to go first for once so –

 

Kathryn

Oh right, so do you mean I [inaudible 0:34:05] with the questions I’d ask them and things like that or do you mean?  Yeah –

 

Andrew

Yeah.

 

Kathryn

So I mean obviously if someone comes to us and they’re in that situation, we would be asking them how many cigarettes they used to smoke, when they gave up smoking, things like that, if they’re using any alternatives or anything, but in regards to the heart attack we would be asking them when they were diagnosed with the heart attack, if it was just the one time, if it had happened multiple times.  Other things like, you know, have they had any lasting complications at all from it?  It depends upon, you know, sometimes it depends on the level of cover they want but if it’s, you know, a kind of a straightforward heart attack then it probably would be – it is much more simpler than possibly trying to say to them, “Right, have you actually had any permanent damage done to any of the valves or anything around the heart?”  You know, what the doctors are saying to them now.  Are they saying now that they are a non-smoker?  That everything is brilliant or are they still saying, “Well actually, you’re a non-smoker, fantastic, but your cholesterol is still like quite a high level, quite a dangerous level.  Your blood pressure is still quite –”  The medications that they have to take possibly.  Any restrictions that they have in regards to being able to work, stuff like that.  That’s kind of – we’d go and – sorry, asking all the different bits and everything and I hope that’s everything I’ve covered over.  I can imagine Alan listening to this and just going, “You’ve missed out that one!”  And I’m thinking, I’m put on the spot, I wasn’t expecting this.

 

Andrew

No – and I think the honest point there is to go, actually, that’s at least as much or more than most insurance companies are going to ask.  Which is why you do what you do.  But almost – to most insurers still today, that person comes through as a non-smoker and that smoking history in particular –

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

Is almost – is almost forgotten and it might be that within – when assessing the heart attacks and those extra questions that those things are taken into account.  Someone who hasn’t been smoking all that time is on average a better risk and therefore actually when that decision comes to be made for that individual, they’re going to be treated as a non-smoker who’s had a heart attack and therefore probably get surprisingly good terms I suspect.  So I think you’d potentially be looking at kind of a plus 100, plus 150 loading for that person.  If they were continuing to smoke now, then you’d see a very different story.  So I think really just wanting to emphasise, wherever you are in life, whatever the prompt for that decision, then insurance does quite quickly become available and at a cheaper point.  So that was that one.  I guess then to show the other side of things and I’ll just kind of quickly talk through.  So looking at say a thirty-year-old who’s smoked for let’s say, let’s be realistic, let’s say they’ve probably smoked for ten years or admitting to smoke for ten years and then switched to vaping and only vaping for the last three years and are currently in good health.  So I think – I think we’re saying there that for most – for most of the market, then those people are still going to – that individual is still going to be charged smoker rates, potentially depending on what type of e-cigarettes they vape then – and what’s in those – then that may affect whether they can get cover.  And if you go to the right adviser or broker then you may well be able to find that – those vaper rates or even non-smoker rates available to that person.

 

Kathryn

It’s quite a difference with that last one as well because it’s not just this case of going, “Ah right, well they’ve had a heart attack, ah they’re a vaper now.  Right I need to go for where I can get them as a non-smoker.”  Because it could be that, you know, the insurers that can offer the – I’m not saying it is but I’m just, you know, off the top of my head just saying it could be that the insurers that can offer potentially the non-smoker rates actually rate the heart attack much less favourably than someone who can accept them as a smoker.  So it may be – I wouldn’t say automatically launch yourself towards a, “Ooh they’re a vaper, I must go here.”  You know, there is other risks that need to be obviously taken into account as well.

 

Andrew

If you have a smoker or if you have someone whose health is changing, then always make sure your next policy – don’t lapse that existing policy.  So I think quite often you hear stories where, yeah, someone has – someone is now a non-smoker and – but has had health conditions in the interim and that question as to whether to lapse the existing policy or not is, you know, shouldn’t be rushed.

 

Kathryn

Absolutely.  The other thing I wanted to just check with you, so we’ve had this question before, is what happens if someone’s a non-smoker and they take out the policy – not necessarily what happens, what should happen if someone is a non-smoker, takes out the policy but then starts smoking maybe two years down the line?  Is there a duty on them to inform the insurer?

 

Andrew

So no, there’s no duty on them to inform.  Let’s go back to – in the same way as if they decided they wanted to start jumping out of planes or travelling to ridiculous places that due to disclosure is entirely at the outset and not at any point.

 

Kathryn

I know we’ve had it before when we’ve spoken to insurers and they have said, “Oh no, no, no, we must know if, you know, if they suddenly become a smoker.”  And we were just kind of like, “What?”  You know, it’s – hang on a minute!  So I think that’s – have you got any more case studies?  I think that was pretty much – and we covered over mine in the middle of chatting about yours anyway so that was quite good for me.  So, so next time that we have a chat we’ll have just been on the Cover Mental Health conference together on panel?

 

Andrew

Yes, yes.

 

Kathryn

Nice.

 

Andrew

Yes, literally, physically see each other.

 

Kathryn

I know, it will be very strange.

 

Andrew

Rather than [inaudible 0:39:24].  Yes and no, looking forward to that.  I – did – you weren’t at the last Cover Mental Health one were you?  I know you’ve done Cover events before.

 

Kathryn

No, no I wasn’t able to attend and – assuming most people know but not everyone knows, I do have three young children.  They are eight, five and two and almost all of the grandparents have health conditions so it is really hard for me to actually get down to London.  I think probably, sort of towards the end of this year when Zachary starts going to school properly it will become almost impossible for me to come down unless people want to start arranging things in like half terms and during the summer and things like that, then I can definitely come down and I can just come down en masse like usual but no, I wasn’t able to get to the last one unfortunately.  I’m assuming it was very good though.  I read about it afterwards and it seemed excellent.

 

 

Andrew

Yeah, I know, I – you always risk offending every other event you’ve been to.  Let’s go – it’s in my top three events of last year and I can –

 

Kathryn

Brilliant.

 

Andrew

Pretend that I can say that about seven times about things but it genuinely was, in terms of number of takeaways, just interest and actually having some very different sort of speakers and all of that so I’m really looking forward to it this year.  I like the idea of events during half terms as well.  I think –

 

Kathryn

Yes.

 

Andrew

One of those – at the moment people are so structured in the, “You can only do events outside school holidays –”

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

But actually yes, as a working parent it would be great if I had an excuse to get away from the kids in the holidays, which I think is what you –

 

Kathryn

I’d be bringing them with me!

 

Andrew

Okay, well each to their own.

 

Kathryn

Well yeah, I mean the thing is as well though, is – and I’m not saying this is just purely women instead of men, but obviously I think it is still generally the case that women tend to be more the ones that are looking after the children and so it would just open up opportunities for so much more women and especially from us who, you know, obviously it takes me a good generally five hours to get to London.  You know, it’s not easy when you have kids because then there is always that worry as well when you’ve got kids that if something happens to them then you’re five hours away and it’s not easy to us – well we are, it is not – as you know Andrew when you came and saw us – it was much easier to take the car than it is to try and get the trains to where we are.  It’s not easy, but on that kind of line of thought as well, I just want to do a bit of a shout-out because it’s International Women’s Day on 8th March and I really want to do a shout-out to Greta Thunberg and I know she won’t hear this, I know she won’t see it or anything but I just think – I come from an environmental background, that’s where my PhD is, in Environmental Business Management.  And I just think she’s doing so much – such incredible work and I don’t know if you saw any of the stuff that she has and it follows on from that social media bullying that we were talking about last week after obviously the very unfortunate death of Caroline Flack.  And this – I saw these Tweets on – obviously on Twitter and it was about Greta and it was about this group of gentlemen at an oil company that have been sharing and posting this cartoon that’s been created of her, of her being viciously sexually assaulted because they disagree with the fact obviously of what she – the fact that she is trying to raise climate awareness and things.  And I just thought, you know, I wanted to say that, you know, good on her and, you know, that I’m sure that there’s many, many women like me who absolutely stand with her and just, you know, it’s just unbelievable what we’re seeing at the moment.  And I really hope that, especially as well coming up to the mental health conference and everything that we’re going to at some point, I don’t know how – but we see some kind of a change of tide with the way that social media is going at the moment.  Because it is so easy for people to hide behind avatars and it’s so easy for people – when we’re face-to-face, we have social constructs in a sense that are built into us that stop us from saying things and from filtering things sometimes.  And it just feels at the moment that social media has just given people – not, I think, not the majority of people – but given nasty people that opportunity to just not have any kind of filter on what they say anymore.  And I think she’s an incredible young woman and to carry on doing what she’s doing and with what she must be facing with the communications towards her I think is just incredible.

 

Andrew

Wholly, wholly agree.  Wholly agree with all of that.  And it is – as you say, with – once you have children yourselves and I guess seeing people like that, it just does make you realise how much of an inspiration they can be to our children and to others in a way frankly that we will never be.

 

Kathryn

Absolutely.

 

Andrew

But equally yeah, it’s terrifying, you know, that – to see some of the – some of the stuff that’s thrown at her and people like her.

 

Kathryn

Absolutely.  So going on to a more lighter note then, just to finish this off.  We have our truth or lie feature which we know – we know everybody loves so, so much.

 

Andrew

And this is specifically designed around the fact we’re going to be at an event together, right?  So it’s a physical event together so we thought we should have something physical this time – in the next fortnight.

 

Kathryn

Everybody’s going to be – well based upon these answers, that everyone’s going to be looking at us really, really closely Andrew, it’s going to be a little bit whoo!  Okay then, so mine is that I have seven tattoos.

 

Andrew

Okay.  And mine is that I have one piercing.

 

Kathryn

You see I like yours because – and the main reason as well Andrew is that we all know you and we know you don’t have your ears pierced or any facial piercings so my mind and everyone else’s mind is now wondering – I’m just wondering if you’ve got, you know, full-on nipples going that’s it, yeah.  Everyone’s going to be looking at your shirt now and seeing if –

 

Andrew

There’s going to be some odd greetings, probably corona virus-legitimate greetings but at the mental health –

 

Kathryn

Everyone’s going to be hugging you aren’t they?  They’re going to be hugging you and stuff like rubbing ever so slightly against your chest like, “Has he got one?  Has he got one?”  Don’t do that.

 

Andrew

I look forward to that.

 

Kathryn

Do not rub against Andrew.  Right then, so all over and done with then for this one.

 

Andrew

Yes.  Yeah so thank you all for listening.  We really hope that you found this useful.  This is good, right?  So this is where, much to listeners’ surprise, there is a script for this bit, so I get to read out.  If you have any questions that you want us to discuss or if you want to disagree with Andrew, please do send us a message.

 

Kathryn

Hastily written whilst being attacked by a two-year-old.

 

Andrew

I think it’s still entirely fair.  I’m not going to dare suggest anyone would ever disagree with you Kathryn.

 

Kathryn

Thank you.  I like that.  I don’t like being disagreed with, I’m sure most people could tell that.  We are going to be back in two weeks and if you would like a reminder of the next episode then please do get in contact.  We’ll put you on to our notifications list.  We’re going to be chatting about mental health and we’re going to try and keep it to the – well under an hour.  As I’m sure you can appreciate, I am extremely opinionated when it comes to mental health and I’m sure that Andrew will have to reign me in at times.  And we are both going to be on Covers’ upcoming Mental Health conference and we look forward to seeing many of you there.  Please do grab us, drop us any messages.  You can obviously see us all on social media and you can visit us on our brand new website which is www.practical-protection.co.uk.  I can’t ever do that without trying to do the Catherine Tate voice, you know where she used to do it on that show and she did it while she was – she was always doing like w.w.w.-dot.  I just – I try really hard each time not to do it and I’m convinced that I am.  So I shall leave you all that, with my Catherine Tate impression and speak to you all very soon.  So, see you later.

 

Andrew

Thanks all, take care, bye.

 

 

[Music to fade]

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Episode 3 | Vaping

Hi Everyone,

This is our third episode and it's all about vaping. The most interesting thing is that Kathryn and Andrew have kind of switched roles in this one. Kathryn is more cautious about the underwriting of ecig users, than Andrew is!

Are you guessing who is telling the truth or lying, right?

In this episode we are focusing on e-cigarettes and what you need to know, if you use these and want insurance.

Our 3 key takeaways,

1. 5-6% of adults in the UK vape.

2. Some insurers may class very occasional smokers, as non-smokers.

3. Potential ratings for an ex-smoker that has previously had a heart attack.

As with all of our episodes, do you agree with us? Disagree with us? Send us a message and let us know your thoughts. We would also love for you to send us any questions that you want us to discuss on upcoming episodes.

Kathryn

Hi everyone, this is episode three and it’s all about smoking and e-cigarettes.  I’m Kathryn –

 

Andrew

And I’m Andrew and this is the Practical Protection podcast.  So good morning Kathryn.  How are you today?  How was your weekend?

 

Kathryn

I’m good thank you, I am good.  I’ve had a headache all weekend, three kids, and I seem to be feeling a bit better now they’re now at school and they’ve gone away.  I miss them terribly but – only half an hour and I’m already missing them, but I feel such a nice – nice to chill out actually and have a podcast.  It’s so nice!  How are you doing?

 

Andrew

Yeah I’m – I’m not so good this morning.  As I said just before we came on air, my – so my grandma passed away this morning.  She was ninety-six so – I still nevertheless had the chat with my mum about how surprising and shocking it is in this context.  So I think she was a smoker of about seventy years but in reality she was just like a fantastic, independent woman who has reinvented herself various times through the ages, probably the least – or the most recently when my grandad died twenty years ago and she definitely had as much fun in her last twenty years as she did in her first seventy-five.  So yeah, in spite of working around all of this it still always comes as a surprise I think at any age when it happens to someone you know and love.  But good to get – good to get into technical things as I think maybe people find work’s a good place to kind of hide and let those thoughts go in the background so, yeah –

 

Kathryn

Well I’m sure obviously from myself and I’m sure for everybody who’s listening, obviously we all pass over our sincere thoughts and hugs and everything.  You’re just going to get so many virtual hugs sent down this – to you and everything and obviously to your mum as well and to all your aunties and everything.  It’s not a – not an easy situation at all.

 

Andrew

Thank you.

 

Kathryn

So we have our truth or lie feature and I haven’t actually checked the Twitter poll in all fairness because I think the last time I checked, there’s was a whole of two people had responded and I think one of them may have been you Andrew!  So maybe Twitter polls aren’t my thing.  I can do other bits of social media – just not the polls.

 

Andrew

I’m committed to the podcast.  Yeah, I’m definitely committed to the podcast and I know that you are – the more things don’t work, the more determined you are to make them work.  So if anyone thinks ignoring this feature will make it go away they are sadly mistaken.  I think my – I think my truth or lie last time was that I am a bit of a night owl and that I haven’t been to bed before midnight in the last four years.

 

Kathryn

But yeah mine was that my family considered that – they will say that I am the mixture of being quite smart but having no common sense and that I can’t operate push/pull doors.  And I’ve had people tell me again, which one – who they think which of us – they all think that I’m telling the truth now which I’m – I’m kind of insulted people think I can’t operate push/pull doors but do you want to give your answer as to whether you’re telling the truth or not?

 

Andrew

So it’s a – mine is an absolute lie.  I was going to say I haven’t been up past midnight in the last four years.  I have always been an early riser and all the more so after kind of kids and everything so nowadays I tend to, you know, wake up, do an hour’s work and then be kind of making noise outside the kids’ doors wanting to play with them.

 

Kathryn

See I sneak, I’m a sneaker so I’m like, “Don’t wake them.  Just don’t wake them.”

 

Andrew

Oh no.  I just want people to play with.  So – hence this podcast, I am definitely lying which I guess means –

 

Kathryn

Yes, I can’t – yeah, I can’t basically – if I go out somewhere and there’s obviously – I can’t remember what the – can’t even think what they are – are they revolving doors that you can get in?  Those ones I’m quite happy with.  Push/pull doors I have no idea what it is and I do it but I’ve got thing and I’ve had it since I was a kid where my mum said I was an unusual child because you know when you get like as a – and I’m thinking of this ‘cos I’ve got a two-year old and you’ve got those like shape sorters and there’s like you have to get a circle in the circle and the square within the – you know.

 

Andrew

Yes.

 

Kathryn

I never worked with them well in the sense – and I’m sure people can probably appreciate this knowing me – I would always try and force the square into the circle shape and refuse to put it in the square and I would literally get the hammer and just bang at it repeatedly until it eventually didn’t do what I wanted to do and then I’d just shrug my shoulders and just go, “Well, I didn’t want it to go in there anyway.”  And I’d walk off from it.  So – so if you see me – anyone, if I’m going anywhere and you see me coming near a door, you know, just please don’t just stand and wait and laugh at me.  Try and maybe help me?

 

Andrew

I’ve just pictured yourself throwing yourself at a window now from that shape sorter analogy.

 

Kathryn

Absolutely!

 

Andrew

So it’s something that [inaudible 0:04:38]

 

Kathryn

Absolutely, why not?  Maybe we should just get – I should just get slides everywhere.  If all buildings could just have slides I’d probably be the only person that would like that.

 

Andrew

Yeah, yeah, I’m not – I must admit, I’d love to be surprised but I’m struggling kind of to try and find that emotion.

 

Kathryn

Mmm, mmm.  So today we are going to be talking about e-cigarettes, vaping and everything like that and I think this is going to be a really interesting one because you are completely and utterly leading this.  I know very little about this.  I did used to smoke – all gasps of horror everywhere – because I basically – my, well hopefully my mum won’t listen to this as she’ll hate me saying this – but I used to – obviously when I was younger I watched Grease and I was always like, “Oh my god, those women are just amazing.  I’m going to smoke.  I’m going to have one of those little smoke, you know, cigarette holder things and everything.  I’m going to be so cool.”  And my mum forbid me from ever smoking so naturally as soon as I was able to get anywhere away from her, I was smoking.

 

Andrew

Yeah I know.  I was never as cool as you Kathryn.  I remember really trying to smoke.  I think – I think only ever on my own like literally so that I could then go and, you know, be with the cool kids, which is probably, you know, still the kind of thing I do in life.  It’s like, “I’ll practice and then if I’m good enough then I might possibly do it in public.”  I just remember finding them utterly disgusting which obviously I was – I was lucky to have that experience.

 

Kathryn

They are hideous, I don’t think anyone has them and thinks, “Oh this tastes so amazing!”  Okay, I was always like, “I’m just going to be cool.”  I’m amazed as well ‘cos we live near a secondary school, I’m amazed at how many kids come out of the secondary school and – they’re not smoking, they’re vaping and I’m like looking at them and I’m thinking, “Why?”  And then kind of thinking, “Hang on a minute, why are you vaping?  Why aren’t you just having cigarettes?”  You know, and it’s not that I want them to have cigarettes but it just seems so bizarre to me that vaping is the new cool in a sense.  I don’t know.

 

Andrew

It’s interesting isn’t it?  I think that’s quite regional.  So – we’ll come on to vaping and use, I guess, at some point inevitably during this, but I guess anecdotally amongst my friends who are vapers or ex-smokers, there’s something in there that they would say – those with teenage kids, where vaping is something that their parents do and therefore is incredibly uncool.

 

Kathryn

Aah.

 

Andrew

So my footpath – like you I live near a secondary school and I must admit – and it’s not, you know, I think one of the problems with vaping is there’s so much anecdotal stuff –

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

But our footpath is still reassuringly cigarette-laden.

 

Kathryn

Strewn, bet that’s lovely.

 

Andrew

It’s changing all the time and that’s one of the – that’s why it’s interesting and important, both from an underwriting perspective to get the risk and from an adviser perspective to kind of recommend the best place to go.

 

Kathryn

Well I’ve got some – before you I let you loose with your underwriting and all this kind of stuff – so I’ve got some stats and things and just general comments and things that I’ve seen recently running up to this.  So I was doing some research and it says that roughly five to six percent of adults in the UK are vapers and that the primary reason that people start using them is that they’re wanting to quit smoking.  Only four percent of people who are trying to quit smoking go down the vaping route so there’s still ninety-six percent of people who are wanting to stop are still using obviously your older, more traditional methods I think.  I was also looking at some surprising statistics and I found these actually a little bit offensive and I thought it’s – sorry but it hits home to me sometimes why I don’t like statistics and why I’m very much more of a qualitative type person.  But I was looking at the Office of National Statistics and they were saying that people who are using vaping are – generally they’re saying that it’s people who are in manual jobs, live in social housing, of low education, they’re single and that they’re gay, lesbian or bisexual and they’re far more likely to be smokers.  And actually I say I found that quite offensive because I thought it kind of made it seem – I felt as like it was kind of negative towards those kind of groupings and also everybody that I know that’s a smoker doesn’t actually fit into any of those categories anyway.  So it just – it really, really surprised me.  I know, obviously statistics are statistics and that but it just – I don’t know, I didn’t like that.

 

Andrew

There’s so many different stories within the – as you say, the five percent of vape – people who do vape nowadays or in numbers terms – So I think my numbers, there’s roughly two million people who only vape and about another two million who smoke and vape and clearly within there there’s going to be massive, massive differences.

 

Kathryn

Okay.

 

Andrew

That said, yeah, there’s no hiding the fact that smoking has, you know, is more frequent among different socioeconomic groups and different groups and things like that so I guess at public health level those stats become useful.  I’m trying to think of a – like as for insurance where the protection gap is a crap number and thing to use in terms of just, you know – but it might help a new insurance company launch a business thing.  When you actually apply it to an individual it means nothing.  One thing that you talked about there of this people using –

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

Vaping to give up is I think something we’ll increasingly see.  So clearly – and I don’t think anyone would disagree, that the best thing to do is – the best thing to do is to be like me.  The best thing to do is never smoke, right?  Not even those one and a half cigarettes.  Never smoke anything and the best thing to do if you smoke today is to give up all smoking and no one, you know, not even the keenest vape enthusiast would claim anything else from a health perspective, from a physical health perspective.  In theory – oh sorry no, at the moment, there isn’t enough evidence to link vape products with successfully helping you give up smoking.  There’s quite a lot of anecdotal evidence and I think it is one of the things that vape companies are looking to develop, so you will now see, if you go around supermarkets, some vape-type products, e-liquids and things like that you put into your e-cigarettes, can now be sold in the – in the sort of pharmacies of supermarkets.  They’re not necessarily behind the tobacco counter.  They can’t be advertised as helping you give up smoking.  So I think things like that and how they’re positioned varies totally by different countries.  The UK has quite kind of relaxed progressive, if you want to use that word, laws and regulations around it but even here there still kind of can’t be that claim made yet in the way that, let’s say for Allen Carr, you know, giving up smoking things and other tools and techniques, they are used.  But there are increasingly links into GP surgeries and things like that and I – certainly if you look at the direction of travel, it wouldn’t be a surprise to me if you do see GPs sort of prescribing e-liquids or things like that in the not-too-distant future.

 

Kathryn

But I mean, I think for me, is – and this is obviously – we always come at this and I think everyone probably thinks that we’re probably going to do this, where I’m going to come on saying, “Give everybody insurance,” you know.  “Nobody’s a risk,” and that you’re probably there going, “Ooh, well, turn it down a bit Kathryn.”  Now we’re actually the opposite way in this I think in some ways.  I don’t think we’re like massively into each other’s ball area but, you know, I’m quite nervous and cautious about e-cigarettes because to me – to me there’s not enough research.  Just so like we were mentioning last week with some rare conditions like, you know, Ehlers-Danlos and things like that.  We said well actually the insurers are like this because there isn’t really enough research yet, they’ve not been funded enough, they’ve not done this.  With these cigarettes we still – it’s in such its infancy and the long-term risks of this.  I know that – I don’t know what this is fully but I know there’s something called popcorn lung or something that’s associated with vaping?  Do you – can you sort of like explain that side of it to me?

 

Andrew

For me as a risk person and putting that hat firmly on and the headphones in and not taking account into anything else then that first question is always what is the risk of this?  And it doesn’t matter whether it’s e-cigarettes, whether it’s Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, whether it’s anxiety – you kind of have to be completely blind to the emotion behind that and the stories behind that and just go, “Well,” as you say, “what’s the risk?”  And interestingly there, that kind of ends – takes us to a place on this where you do kind of go, the similarity for many underwriters and risk people is HIV on this as an emerging risk where there isn’t, you know, you go back to the nineties and noughties with HIV and go, “Well all of the trends there were looking positive but there wasn’t the twenty-five years’ worth of experience,” etcetera and that’s exactly where we are today with vaping and e-cigarettes and this whole world around this.  So to popcorn lung and things like that explicitly, you often have different sides between people who have been smoking for a long time and who then move to vaping.  You have different flavours and different things in different e-liquids globally and so – and you have the different technology of the different e-cigarettes and different kits globally.  So certainly when you throw the cast really wide, and you have legal and illegal liquids and home made kits, so as much as there’s kind of homebrew and as disgusting or occasionally pleasant as that can be, you know, amplify that many times by the – for e-cigarettes.  So much more so I guess than with the traditional medicine where you – where you, yes, have some ups and downs and some new treatments that end up having side effects.  Clearly here you also have all that unregulated piece and as I say this critical thing of going – you typically are looking at people who are – who have been smoking for twenty-five, thirty years anyway.  And it’s – and it’s unpicking all of that and that you need – that you need to try and be doing here while also, I think, in my opinion, recognising that for life insurers always to say, “Well, come back to us in twenty-five years’ time and we’ll have an answer” isn’t a good enough turnaround time, particularly when the reality is that whatever’s in e-cigarettes in twenty-five years will almost definitely be different to what’s in there now.  And that is a challenge because, yes it’s new stuff but it’s not hugely new now, you know.  There were – I think it started more in North America and you’ve certainly got sort of coming on for the best part of ten years’ experience of – for some individuals now.  So yeah, it’s time to sort of be brave and make decisions on things and recognise that things will still go wrong or right but I think – I think – I think frankly people are running out of time to wholly go, “This is new, we don’t know what’s going to happen.”

 

Kathryn

But a little bit of a side route as well though because, you know, obviously we were chatting – and I know we chatted about this previously between us.  In many ways I know that it’s really important for insurers to do this but in some ways you kind of think well how important is it in regards to what’s going on in people’s lungs and different things like that?  Because, you know, at the moment it’s a simple question.  Say like if somebody is – if somebody is a smoker, it’s very likely that their GP knows about it, different things like that.  But if someone’s a social smoker, the GP’s probably not going to know about it and they could easily just say no on those forms and insurers aren’t going to know any different really.  But there was something else that we – I say we spoke about when we were talking about – one of my team brought it up, Jade, and it was an incredible question when we were chatting.  And she basically said, “Well, do insurers price differently for people who are living in London compared to us here?”  Because, well, do we get up in – up in Yorkshire by the sea, you know, where we’re just all out in nature and everything, do we get charged the same as someone in the middle of London who is amongst all that congestion and everything?  And I watched a QI recently and on it Sandy Toksvig was saying that there was the stats to say that one twenty-minute journey on the Underground is equivalent to smoking a cigarette.  So all those people who are commuting, doing the Underground, you know, all day every day, couple of hours every day you know, they’re in equivalent doing potentially just as much damage to their lungs as someone who is a smoker.  So kind of where – where do we draw the line with this or is there potentially areas that insurers are missing in regards to it?

 

Andrew

So there’s definitely areas that insurers are missing with regards to risk.  Postcode pricing has been talked about for a long time for a number of different reasons and yeah, I guess you start from the, you know, people in Glasgow on average die a long time before people in Surrey and that’s irrespective of what’s in their lungs.  That’s a lot about lifestyle and it’s a lot about the medical questions that we ask anyway so I guess the first thing there is are we double counting?  So if we were to start charging more, is the risk that actually you double count and for a lot of those lung conditions you’d expect to see symptoms by the times we underwrite them anyway.  So the reality is those people are probably going to disclose more people living in London – he pauses slightly to know whether this will be true – you would expect more people living in London, in Central London, to disclose lung problems than people living by the lovely sea in Yorkshire.  Now that’s not wholly true and obviously it will, you know, it will affect people at different points in their lives.  It does become – that specific example does become one of the challenges with having different rates or approaches for vapers to smokers, to non-smokers.  So the traditional tests for smoking that insurers will often randomly select people to see when they disclose, if they’re being treated or lying, is the cotinine test.  And that just checks to see if there’s nicotine in your blood or in your urine, sorry.

 

Kathryn

Hang on, I thought the cotinine test was a swab in your cheek?

 

Andrew

Yeah sorry, it can be all those different things, so yeah –

 

Kathryn

Oh right, okay.

 

Andrew

No I’ve – yeah, sorry.  As I go down the – I always start – as an underwriter I always start by wanting to stick needles into people and then I gradually come back from that, so yeah, sorry.

 

Kathryn

Oh, I’m glad you’re not my underwriter then!

 

Andrew

But that’s on a – so – but going forwards then I think one of the challenges is – so when you look at other tests that are a bit smarter frankly than just seeing if there’s nicotine in your blood because nicotine isn’t actually something that kills you, nicotine is something you get addicted to.  Then when you look at those things and that’s where you often do hit this kind of – well they either vape or they live in Central London.  You know, there’s lots of bad things or lots of interesting things, let’s say, in their lungs but identifying exactly what can be difficult.  So that’s been one of the challenges – is finding tests that kind of conclusively show what’s happening.  Because I think you do end up with a lot of these things where you go – you could price more accurately taking some of those things into account but is it socially acceptable or what’s the general benefit to it etcetera?  So that’s kind of where we end up on those.

 

Kathryn

Alan Lakey came out in Cover recently with some pretty shocking statistics actually of how much smoking can increase the chance of cancer so I believe it was for – he talked about something called pack years in regards to cigarette smoking.  I’ve never heard that before and so it was really interesting to see that.  I’m not even going to pretend that I understand the calculations.  I’ve just, you know, I can’t do it in my head sort of because we’re just chatting because it’s – I don’t know enough about it yet.  But so I say, if you were a smoker it increases the risk of lung cancer in men by 1,600% and then the risk of cervical cancer increases by forty-six percent if you’re a smoker compared to fifteen percent if you have – for breast cancer and I thought those were really surprising because obviously the prevalence of things like breast cancer and prostate cancer get so much more attention because they happen so much more often but actually smoking seems to increase the chance of these other cancers dramatically and I don’t think – I was really surprised when I saw those statistics.  I don’t think people necessarily know those figures to-hand and I’m surprised that we don’t have them more to-hand just generally.

 

 

Andrew

I think that’s why I get passionate and angry about what insurers are doing at the moment and I don’t get passionate and angry about insurance all that often.  The single best thing a smoker can do for their health is to give up smoking all together.  It’s not to take up running, it’s not to improve their diet, it’s to give up smoking.  And to the pack years thing, no, even if you’ve been smoking for forty years, once you stop smoking for one month, six months, one year, the impact – and it is one of those – it’s where we need a video podcast, if you go and Google the images of lungs at different time periods after you give up smoking, it’s incredible.  Whether you look at existing policy holders for insurers where insurers are quite happy to kind of throw out lots of potentially useful support services, value added services, but with one or two exceptions they don’t really engage with smokers about the prospect of them giving up smoking.  Maybe even more worryingly for insurers, you have this sort of almost – sort of dirty secret where you go, “Well, so what’s in it for the insurers and existing policy holder?”  Or if that insurer persuades and helps someone to give up smoking, the good advice at twelve months later would say, “Right, good news, now it’s time to go and rebroke your policy and get you non-smoking terms.”  Which is all – that’s exactly what an adviser should do in those situations subject to the health not having changed but they kind of – the economics for that insurer become very difficult in that situation.  And I think that’s the key thing to get over with these things is the fact today is that most insurers still deal with vapers exactly as they do with smokers but that doesn’t mean that every actuary or underwriter or every insurer thinks that vaping is the same risk as smoking.  I’ll say hardly any do.  I don’t know any who do believe that but by the time you kind of pull apart all the different bits of pricing and the market and everything like that, it becomes very difficult to offer those terms but what – but what you end up is, you are today, I believe, in a place where those – that five percent of people, those two million people are effectively subsidising ninety-five percent of people.  I don’t think that’s fair.  I don’t think that’s right and that’s where I’ve kind of come to on it – that’s my passion and anger over and I’ll revert now to my risk hat.

 

Kathryn

Well I think, you know, we do have it where obviously there is an insurer that will look at e-cigarette users as non-smokers so you know there is that progression there.  There was also Gary Pitman from AIG who was contacting me because he was giving us feedback, lovely feedback on the podcast, thank you Gary.  And he was saying, obviously for themselves, you know, on a sort of case-by-case kind of consideration, obviously they will look at it – so if someone comes and says, “Well look I have a cigar on my birthday and at Christmas,” they won’t necessarily class them as a smoker and I think that’s a really positive – I mean, I do think if you’re a smoker then you are obviously a much higher risk and I fully understand why you pay more.  Vapers, I – I’m a little on the bench but, you know, I’m happy to be told – you know, I will bow to your knowledge and say – and be okay about them not being stuff like priced, you know.  Maybe there could be like a half-way pricing for vapers, maybe?  As a – until we know a bit more, or something, or maybe just a slow rating?  But, you know, I think that kind of thing of an insurer having that opportunity to go, “You know what, actually, you know, we get it.  Sometimes you may have a nice cigar or you may do this.”  I’m not sure how I feel about maybe if someone goes over to Amsterdam for a weekend or anything like that, but it would be interesting – it’s good that they have that kind of flexibility at times to understand that life happens, we can’t all be, you know, living perfectly and eating five fruit and veg a day and all this kind of stuff.  You know, sometimes we want to do stuff and actually just live and if by living that means like once a year, twice a year, having a cigar or something, then why not just enjoy yourself?  It’s not going to do a massively huge detriment to your health hopefully, touch wood.  I’m going to have someone say to me now that it will do.

 

Andrew

Yeah.  No, and it’s not going to and the reason – so traditionally there’s – in the UK there’s always been this binary approach to smoking from an insurance perspective.  So you either are a smoker or you aren’t and as you say and allude to and to kind of reiterate for people who aren’t familiar, then that question is have you had a cigarette, other tobacco product or nicotine replacement product in the last twelve months?  And it’s – in theory is literally a ‘yes’ and you are a smoker and a ‘no’ and you are not a smoker.  Clearly, that makes no sense at all from a risk perspective but the main reason for justifying that does come back to this testing and being able to know if the person may have told the truth or not.

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

So that’s where we’ve kind of settled.  In other markets around the world, different approaches are taken.  In quite a lot of markets there’s still just aggregate rates.  So smokers and non-smokers are all charged the same and a lot of that does come back to your – to your kind of well how, you know, what incentive is there to be honest?  And in some cultures there is just a – well it’s not worth asking someone because they’ll all lie and, you know, we know there’s more than 0.5% of smokers in our population.

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

So the only fair way to deal with it is to do that.  I still think that looking forwards in the UK, the way to go is to have – certainly in IFA-land, is to have more than two, not two or less different grades and it – and I absolutely think that vaping falls between smoking and not smoking and probably social smoking is another category within there as well.

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

And because – for both social smoking and vaping, and again this isn’t – this is – this does go into certainly for vaping being too early to tell – but one of the worries that insurers have is, “Well if you’re still vaping products with nicotine in, you are or you must be more likely –”

 

Kathryn

To smoke.

 

Andrew

That you’ll –

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

Take up smoking again.

 

Kathryn

I suppose for – it must be hard for insurers as well though when it came to a claim wouldn’t it because if they do introduce another level, so say like if someone says, “Well I’m a social smoker so I’m only going to get this percentage rating,” and then someone actually is a full smoker, how is the insurer going to know and the same with like the e-cigarettes?  You know, there could be people who are having – obviously I know there’s some insurers I think who treat e-cigarettes with – that are nicotine-free – different to people who are using e-cigarettes with nicotine in them.  And it all comes down to how.  How would we possibly – you know, how are they going to know at that claim stage that it’s – even though as an adviser and as yourself, you know you could be sat here thinking, “Oh it’s really frustrating because clearly someone have a nicotine-free e-cigarette is less risk than someone who is smoking.”  It does all come down to probably that proof of – and when it comes to the claim.  If, you know, if they do die from – obviously from probably cancer, we’re assuming that’s going to be the biggest risk here – how do we then know that they have been truthful at the start and that their premiums and – you know, everything else has been fairly allocated?

 

Andrew

So that is a risk.  As a pragmatist, I’d still go down and go, well you could run that argument for quite a lot of existing questions that we ask and because we’ve always asked them then we don’t maybe throw that challenge at those existing questions quite as much.  There may well be ways that you, you know, bluntly and it’s not commonly used in claims departments today, but sometimes people will look on social media accounts and things like that and frankly vaping and smoking is the kind of thing that you may well get a sense of if someone is certainly doing it regularly or frequently.  I think sometimes those arguments, while valid, are used to defend the status quo and not to change things.  If the alternative is knowingly unfairly charging a group of people more than you would otherwise charge them, then that feels like at least something where in a – in a competitive market, people should be actively taking different positions.  And as you say, some insurers are and I think the practical bit of this podcast is very much a – keep your eyes on what’s happening at the frontline, understand the insurers’ sometimes slightly different questions and slightly different question wording as to what’s moving here and stay in touch with them on it.  Bluntly, and I guess you’ll have maybe more frontline experience than me as it is, I think where insurers do move on stuff like this, they probably aren’t going to shout about it and advertise it because it’s not, you know, it’s not like some of the other subjects we’ll talk about – mental health let’s say, where insurers kind of want the good publicity of it.  They are nervous about what might happen so they kind of – they’ll want to do some but I don’t think any insurer is going to move in the near short-term –

 

Kathryn

I would agree.

 

Andrew

You know, “We want a hundred percent of vapers coming to us.”  So they do great, but I expect it’s more likely that you’re going to pick up a question wording change and go, “Does this really mean this?” to a BDM or – and then great.

 

Kathryn

Well you never know.  So there we go.  Oh a call to insurers now, if you’re happy to be a vaper supporter then let us know, but I mean this is really something that you’re passionate about isn’t it?  You’ve been two other podcasts recently I think about this.

 

Andrew

I got into this partly – initially through working with the Institute of Faculty of Actuaries who have a – who have a workstream specifically on this that published something last week that I think was out through The Actuary magazine, so end of February 2020.  But also, yeah, since then as happens, you become a – I guess a bit of a specialist.  So I did work – some work last year with a tobacco firm who have a vape product and are looking at how insurers could – could get into this.  So, you know, that’s a, I guess, a declared interest on this.  I’m not working with them at the moment but I think, you know, to me the science becomes pretty overwhelming and as I say, the reasons for insurers doing it are pretty well understood and it’s not because of the science, it’s because of the business model, is the primary reason.  Yeah, and so I guess including that – so there’s AMUS, Association Medical Underwriting Society, something like that, a podcast that I did with Neil Daniels who’s an actuary who leads that committee and a brilliant lady called Dr Sharon Cox who works at London South Bank University going through the science and why things aren’t moving quicker.  So if you – if you kind of like this but want less of the fluff and want more of the science as to what’s really going on when you breathe these things in then certainly I will push that AMUS one as and when it comes to light.

 

 

Kathryn

We can put a link for it on the website as well.

 

Andrew

Yeah.

 

Kathryn

So people can see whereabouts it is.

 

Andrew

Yeah that would be really good.  And I guess one of the things – I can’t even remember if anyone said this on that podcast, I think it was more – it became my kind of thing for the two weeks after that was it’s a bit, you know, because often the argument is that lots of the same ingredients are in these things so how can it be so much better?  Someone came up with the, “Well it’s like potatoes, you know, and depending on how you cook potatoes and what you – what other ingredients you put on them, quite clearly if all you eat is cheesy chips that’s quite a different risk to if all you eat is steamed potatoes, you know, new potatoes.”  And I think that’s –

 

Kathryn

Oh but cheesy chips are tempting.

 

Andrew

I was going to say – I’m now thinking of cheesy chip years and how many –

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

And new underwriting –

 

Kathryn

The new level of underwriting, “So what do you eat?  How do you eat your chips?”  Curry?  Salt and vinegar?

 

Andrew

I think [inaudible 0:32:20]  You know we’ve grown up understanding, hopefully, that one of those is quite good and one of those is definitely not good.

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

And I think there is just some of that relearning from an understandably cynical or, sorry, sceptical – and rightly sceptical population that goes, “Well hang on, you know, a) a lot of these companies, tobacco companies don’t exactly have a great track record with telling the truth to the public about the health of their products and b) well if eighty percent of what’s in them is kind of the same then how can it be so different?”  But yeah, I’m comfortable, very comfortable with the science, I think more importantly – much more importantly than that, very intelligent people who have done a lot of research into this are increasingly comfortable.  And I think we need to react.

 

Kathryn

Fantastic.  And do you have some case studies or something you were going to chat about?  Because I’ve got a question about somebody as well, case study-wise.

 

Andrew

Yeah, I guess my case studies probably are partly deliberately to highlight some of the madness of what’s going on but also to consider how you and people like you would react.  So to take my first one, to say someone who’s – let’s say who’s fifty-five years old and has smoked for thirty-five years.  Couple of years ago they had a heart attack and so gave up smoking and so now are a non-smoker.  Non-smoking, fifty-five-year old.  How would you expect to see that happen and I guess I can do the risk bit as well.

 

Kathryn

Oh, how would I – what would I expect for a client?

 

Andrew

What – if they came to you at Cura –

 

Kathryn

Oh you’re putting me on the spot here.

 

Andrew

What would you – would you – yeah I am.  It’s nice.  I get to go first for once so –

 

Kathryn

Oh right, so do you mean I [inaudible 0:34:05] with the questions I’d ask them and things like that or do you mean?  Yeah –

 

Andrew

Yeah.

 

Kathryn

So I mean obviously if someone comes to us and they’re in that situation, we would be asking them how many cigarettes they used to smoke, when they gave up smoking, things like that, if they’re using any alternatives or anything, but in regards to the heart attack we would be asking them when they were diagnosed with the heart attack, if it was just the one time, if it had happened multiple times.  Other things like, you know, have they had any lasting complications at all from it?  It depends upon, you know, sometimes it depends on the level of cover they want but if it’s, you know, a kind of a straightforward heart attack then it probably would be – it is much more simpler than possibly trying to say to them, “Right, have you actually had any permanent damage done to any of the valves or anything around the heart?”  You know, what the doctors are saying to them now.  Are they saying now that they are a non-smoker?  That everything is brilliant or are they still saying, “Well actually, you’re a non-smoker, fantastic, but your cholesterol is still like quite a high level, quite a dangerous level.  Your blood pressure is still quite –”  The medications that they have to take possibly.  Any restrictions that they have in regards to being able to work, stuff like that.  That’s kind of – we’d go and – sorry, asking all the different bits and everything and I hope that’s everything I’ve covered over.  I can imagine Alan listening to this and just going, “You’ve missed out that one!”  And I’m thinking, I’m put on the spot, I wasn’t expecting this.

 

Andrew

No – and I think the honest point there is to go, actually, that’s at least as much or more than most insurance companies are going to ask.  Which is why you do what you do.  But almost – to most insurers still today, that person comes through as a non-smoker and that smoking history in particular –

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

Is almost – is almost forgotten and it might be that within – when assessing the heart attacks and those extra questions that those things are taken into account.  Someone who hasn’t been smoking all that time is on average a better risk and therefore actually when that decision comes to be made for that individual, they’re going to be treated as a non-smoker who’s had a heart attack and therefore probably get surprisingly good terms I suspect.  So I think you’d potentially be looking at kind of a plus 100, plus 150 loading for that person.  If they were continuing to smoke now, then you’d see a very different story.  So I think really just wanting to emphasise, wherever you are in life, whatever the prompt for that decision, then insurance does quite quickly become available and at a cheaper point.  So that was that one.  I guess then to show the other side of things and I’ll just kind of quickly talk through.  So looking at say a thirty-year-old who’s smoked for let’s say, let’s be realistic, let’s say they’ve probably smoked for ten years or admitting to smoke for ten years and then switched to vaping and only vaping for the last three years and are currently in good health.  So I think – I think we’re saying there that for most – for most of the market, then those people are still going to – that individual is still going to be charged smoker rates, potentially depending on what type of e-cigarettes they vape then – and what’s in those – then that may affect whether they can get cover.  And if you go to the right adviser or broker then you may well be able to find that – those vaper rates or even non-smoker rates available to that person.

 

Kathryn

It’s quite a difference with that last one as well because it’s not just this case of going, “Ah right, well they’ve had a heart attack, ah they’re a vaper now.  Right I need to go for where I can get them as a non-smoker.”  Because it could be that, you know, the insurers that can offer the – I’m not saying it is but I’m just, you know, off the top of my head just saying it could be that the insurers that can offer potentially the non-smoker rates actually rate the heart attack much less favourably than someone who can accept them as a smoker.  So it may be – I wouldn’t say automatically launch yourself towards a, “Ooh they’re a vaper, I must go here.”  You know, there is other risks that need to be obviously taken into account as well.

 

Andrew

If you have a smoker or if you have someone whose health is changing, then always make sure your next policy – don’t lapse that existing policy.  So I think quite often you hear stories where, yeah, someone has – someone is now a non-smoker and – but has had health conditions in the interim and that question as to whether to lapse the existing policy or not is, you know, shouldn’t be rushed.

 

Kathryn

Absolutely.  The other thing I wanted to just check with you, so we’ve had this question before, is what happens if someone’s a non-smoker and they take out the policy – not necessarily what happens, what should happen if someone is a non-smoker, takes out the policy but then starts smoking maybe two years down the line?  Is there a duty on them to inform the insurer?

 

Andrew

So no, there’s no duty on them to inform.  Let’s go back to – in the same way as if they decided they wanted to start jumping out of planes or travelling to ridiculous places that due to disclosure is entirely at the outset and not at any point.

 

Kathryn

I know we’ve had it before when we’ve spoken to insurers and they have said, “Oh no, no, no, we must know if, you know, if they suddenly become a smoker.”  And we were just kind of like, “What?”  You know, it’s – hang on a minute!  So I think that’s – have you got any more case studies?  I think that was pretty much – and we covered over mine in the middle of chatting about yours anyway so that was quite good for me.  So, so next time that we have a chat we’ll have just been on the Cover Mental Health conference together on panel?

 

Andrew

Yes, yes.

 

Kathryn

Nice.

 

Andrew

Yes, literally, physically see each other.

 

Kathryn

I know, it will be very strange.

 

Andrew

Rather than [inaudible 0:39:24].  Yes and no, looking forward to that.  I – did – you weren’t at the last Cover Mental Health one were you?  I know you’ve done Cover events before.

 

Kathryn

No, no I wasn’t able to attend and – assuming most people know but not everyone knows, I do have three young children.  They are eight, five and two and almost all of the grandparents have health conditions so it is really hard for me to actually get down to London.  I think probably, sort of towards the end of this year when Zachary starts going to school properly it will become almost impossible for me to come down unless people want to start arranging things in like half terms and during the summer and things like that, then I can definitely come down and I can just come down en masse like usual but no, I wasn’t able to get to the last one unfortunately.  I’m assuming it was very good though.  I read about it afterwards and it seemed excellent.

 

 

Andrew

Yeah, I know, I – you always risk offending every other event you’ve been to.  Let’s go – it’s in my top three events of last year and I can –

 

Kathryn

Brilliant.

 

Andrew

Pretend that I can say that about seven times about things but it genuinely was, in terms of number of takeaways, just interest and actually having some very different sort of speakers and all of that so I’m really looking forward to it this year.  I like the idea of events during half terms as well.  I think –

 

Kathryn

Yes.

 

Andrew

One of those – at the moment people are so structured in the, “You can only do events outside school holidays –”

 

Kathryn

Yeah.

 

Andrew

But actually yes, as a working parent it would be great if I had an excuse to get away from the kids in the holidays, which I think is what you –

 

Kathryn

I’d be bringing them with me!

 

Andrew

Okay, well each to their own.

 

Kathryn

Well yeah, I mean the thing is as well though, is – and I’m not saying this is just purely women instead of men, but obviously I think it is still generally the case that women tend to be more the ones that are looking after the children and so it would just open up opportunities for so much more women and especially from us who, you know, obviously it takes me a good generally five hours to get to London.  You know, it’s not easy when you have kids because then there is always that worry as well when you’ve got kids that if something happens to them then you’re five hours away and it’s not easy to us – well we are, it is not – as you know Andrew when you came and saw us – it was much easier to take the car than it is to try and get the trains to where we are.  It’s not easy, but on that kind of line of thought as well, I just want to do a bit of a shout-out because it’s International Women’s Day on 8th March and I really want to do a shout-out to Greta Thunberg and I know she won’t hear this, I know she won’t see it or anything but I just think – I come from an environmental background, that’s where my PhD is, in Environmental Business Management.  And I just think she’s doing so much – such incredible work and I don’t know if you saw any of the stuff that she has and it follows on from that social media bullying that we were talking about last week after obviously the very unfortunate death of Caroline Flack.  And this – I saw these Tweets on – obviously on Twitter and it was about Greta and it was about this group of gentlemen at an oil company that have been sharing and posting this cartoon that’s been created of her, of her being viciously sexually assaulted because they disagree with the fact obviously of what she – the fact that she is trying to raise climate awareness and things.  And I just thought, you know, I wanted to say that, you know, good on her and, you know, that I’m sure that there’s many, many women like me who absolutely stand with her and just, you know, it’s just unbelievable what we’re seeing at the moment.  And I really hope that, especially as well coming up to the mental health conference and everything that we’re going to at some point, I don’t know how – but we see some kind of a change of tide with the way that social media is going at the moment.  Because it is so easy for people to hide behind avatars and it’s so easy for people – when we’re face-to-face, we have social constructs in a sense that are built into us that stop us from saying things and from filtering things sometimes.  And it just feels at the moment that social media has just given people – not, I think, not the majority of people – but given nasty people that opportunity to just not have any kind of filter on what they say anymore.  And I think she’s an incredible young woman and to carry on doing what she’s doing and with what she must be facing with the communications towards her I think is just incredible.

 

Andrew

Wholly, wholly agree.  Wholly agree with all of that.  And it is – as you say, with – once you have children yourselves and I guess seeing people like that, it just does make you realise how much of an inspiration they can be to our children and to others in a way frankly that we will never be.

 

Kathryn

Absolutely.

 

Andrew

But equally yeah, it’s terrifying, you know, that – to see some of the – some of the stuff that’s thrown at her and people like her.

 

Kathryn

Absolutely.  So going on to a more lighter note then, just to finish this off.  We have our truth or lie feature which we know – we know everybody loves so, so much.

 

Andrew

And this is specifically designed around the fact we’re going to be at an event together, right?  So it’s a physical event together so we thought we should have something physical this time – in the next fortnight.

 

Kathryn

Everybody’s going to be – well based upon these answers, that everyone’s going to be looking at us really, really closely Andrew, it’s going to be a little bit whoo!  Okay then, so mine is that I have seven tattoos.

 

Andrew

Okay.  And mine is that I have one piercing.

 

Kathryn

You see I like yours because – and the main reason as well Andrew is that we all know you and we know you don’t have your ears pierced or any facial piercings so my mind and everyone else’s mind is now wondering – I’m just wondering if you’ve got, you know, full-on nipples going that’s it, yeah.  Everyone’s going to be looking at your shirt now and seeing if –

 

Andrew

There’s going to be some odd greetings, probably corona virus-legitimate greetings but at the mental health –

 

Kathryn

Everyone’s going to be hugging you aren’t they?  They’re going to be hugging you and stuff like rubbing ever so slightly against your chest like, “Has he got one?  Has he got one?”  Don’t do that.

 

Andrew

I look forward to that.

 

Kathryn

Do not rub against Andrew.  Right then, so all over and done with then for this one.

 

Andrew

Yes.  Yeah so thank you all for listening.  We really hope that you found this useful.  This is good, right?  So this is where, much to listeners’ surprise, there is a script for this bit, so I get to read out.  If you have any questions that you want us to discuss or if you want to disagree with Andrew, please do send us a message.

 

Kathryn

Hastily written whilst being attacked by a two-year-old.

 

Andrew

I think it’s still entirely fair.  I’m not going to dare suggest anyone would ever disagree with you Kathryn.

 

Kathryn

Thank you.  I like that.  I don’t like being disagreed with, I’m sure most people could tell that.  We are going to be back in two weeks and if you would like a reminder of the next episode then please do get in contact.  We’ll put you on to our notifications list.  We’re going to be chatting about mental health and we’re going to try and keep it to the – well under an hour.  As I’m sure you can appreciate, I am extremely opinionated when it comes to mental health and I’m sure that Andrew will have to reign me in at times.  And we are both going to be on Covers’ upcoming Mental Health conference and we look forward to seeing many of you there.  Please do grab us, drop us any messages.  You can obviously see us all on social media and you can visit us on our brand new website which is www.practical-protection.co.uk.  I can’t ever do that without trying to do the Catherine Tate voice, you know where she used to do it on that show and she did it while she was – she was always doing like w.w.w.-dot.  I just – I try really hard each time not to do it and I’m convinced that I am.  So I shall leave you all that, with my Catherine Tate impression and speak to you all very soon.  So, see you later.

 

Andrew

Thanks all, take care, bye.

 

 

[Music to fade]