Money: Life policy cost 50pc extra

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Indy Lifestyle Online
George Riddoch, 30, graduated from Glasgow University, with an honours degree in computer science and programming, but after failing to find regular employment has started his own graphic design and printing company.

He has cerebral palsy and needs a wheelchair. "People are afraid of disability," he says. "They see my wheelchair before they see me. Have I been discriminated against by insurers? Yes is the answer. I can give two examples.

"Firstly, when going on foreign holidays with my mother, she has been required to carry a letter from our doctor stating that I am fit to travel. I am healthy, and take no regular medication. Why don't they require the same of people who are not disabled, but obese, or heavy smokers? This kind of thing contributes to the sense of inferiority which many of the disabled grow up with.

"Secondly, when applying for life insurance with Royal Insurance my premiums were loaded by 50 per cent over 40 years, with the loading decreasing by 1 per cent each year. This meant that if I survived the policy term, I would still end up paying more than a non-disabled person. I also considered taking a personal pension with Lincoln National, until it came to the cost of waiver of contribution benefit on the policy. This insures pension contributions if you are unable to work due to ill-health, and they put the cost up so high I decided not to go ahead. I now have both life cover and pension provision with Co-operative Insurance Services, who have treated me fairly.

"But financial advisers have done little for me: I've had to become my own expert on these subjects.

"My message to other disabled people is that they should not accept what they are first offered by insurance companies. If they look around they may well find a better offer. They should remember that they are buying something, not being done a favour by an insurer. Stand up for yourselves and have a sense of your own value!"

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