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International industrial rope access trade association

Income protection for people working at heights has a number of factors that need to be considered when choosing the insurer to place cover with. We have recently joined with IRATA (membership no 142) to offer tailored advice to their members.

Whether you are a rope access technician, abseiler, scaffolder, tree surgeon, window cleaner etc you need to make sure that you approach an insurer for your Income Protection needs that suits your circumstances. The insurer that you approach will want to know the following details about your work:

  • Onshore/offshore
  • Abroad or based in the UK
  • Max height you have ever worked
  • Average height that you work at

There are a few insurers who understand that there are significant safety measures in place when you work at heights, whilst others remain cautious of the potential added risk of equipment failure and environmental factors. As with any insurance it is important to shop around and make sure that you choose an insurer that offers the best terms and premiums for your situation.


Some key points to ask about your cover:

Claim definition

wind turbine working at height

You want a policy that gives you an own occupation claim definition, which will mean that if you are unable to do your job specifically due to illness or injury then you can make a claim. Other definitions are much harder to claim on.

Claim length

There is no end to the various types of Income Protection policies on the market, some pay claims of 1 year, 2 years, 5 years or to the end of the policy term. Ideally you want a policy that will pay a claim until your expected retirement age. Where cost is a major factor however a limited claim option can be a good option.

Deferred period

This is the time period that you need to wait from being unable to work until you actually start receiving your claim benefits; generally 1 day, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 13 weeks, 26 weeks or 52 weeks. Some (but not all) insurers may insist on a minimum 13 week deferment due to your occupation and if so you need to make sure that you have financial resources to last this period if you are unable to work.

Policy term

If it is within your budget then the best option is for you to choose a policy term that matches your expected retirement age. Some companies may limit the term available to you but again this does depend on your duties and where you work.


Other things to consider:

At the moment there is one insurer in the market who can offer people working at heights life and critical illness cover at standard terms, regardless of time spent at heights, without an occupational exclusion. The underwriting stance of this insurer is due to change later this year and it is highly likely that these terms will no longer be available to those working at heights. We would highly recommend that anyone working at heights who is in need of life insurance and critical illness cover, start looking to arrange this cover shortly before the occupational exclusion comes into force.

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