Comment by Joseph Lu, longevity expert at Legal & General.
24 August 2011
Joseph Lu, longevity expert at Legal & General commenting on the new procedure announced today by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, NICE, which recommends the use of 24-hour blood pressure monitoring instead of a series of tests carried out in clinics, said:
"The new guidelines on identifying cases of hypertension is the biggest shake-up in blood pressure diagnosis in more than a century. We welcome this move, as it should result in more accurate diagnosis of those people with high blood pressure.
We like other insurers, consider those people with high blood pressure to have a higher health risk and as a result their life expectancy is calculated to be less than that of a person with normal blood pressure levels. This is then reflected in the rates and terms we offer customers.
The improved diagnosis will mean that in going forward we will be able to use this more accurate assessment in the calculations we make to estimate a person's life expectancy. This can then be reflected, for example, in the annuity rates we offer retirees so those customers with high blood pressure receive an uplift in the pension annuity payment they receive based on the actual risk they present."
Legal & General as a leading annuity provider, offer customers enhanced annuities, which take into consideration a customer's health and lifestyle risks. For example, our Annuity Plus product offers extra pension income based on assessing five common lifestyle health risks. Customers are able to qualify for an uplift in their pension income if they are a smoker or have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high/low body mass. Taking these factors into account a customer could benefit with an annuity income that is up to 22% a year higher because these health risks are considered.
If the health risks are more serious then a higher income maybe offered by arranging an enhanced annuity. They offer the potentially for larger increases to pension income if one or more medical conditions are considered and the increase in income may then be up to 40% a year extra.
More information on the enhanced annuities available from Legal & General is online at http://www.legalandgeneral.com/annuities/enhanced-annuities/annuity-plus or by calling 0800 048 0302 or by contacting a financial adviser.
Notes to editors
One in three adults in the UK has high blood pressure. Around a third of them don't know that they have it, as there are no obvious symptoms. Blood Pressure Association (BPA), 2011
High blood pressure is blood pressure that is 140/90 mmHg or above each time it is taken.Patient.co.uk, 2011
32% of men and 29% of women have high blood pressure. The only way to know if you have the condition is to have blood pressure regularly measured. BPA, 2011
For more information please contact:
t: +44 (0) 1737 375369
m: +44 (0) 7788 926790