Offshore Workers Life Insurance

Health conditions high risk insurance offshore workers

We understand that being an offshore worker does not necessarily present any additional risk to your health, the safety standards in place are usually very high. It is our job to match your working tasks and the countries that you travel to, with an insurer that is going to work well for you.

Things we need to know:

  • What are your duties offshore?
  • How much of your year is spent offshore?
  • Which country are you based in offshore?
  • What transport do you take to your destination?
  • Do you work at heights?

Life Insurance for offshore workers can be rather straightforward to arrange, especially when your occupation is of low risk e.g. office administrator, cook, etc. If you fall under this category it is often possible to secure Life Insurance policies at standard terms. This is because you are seen as being at no increased risk of danger from your occupational duties, than someone who works onshore.

Insurers are more cautious about offering Life Insurance if your occupation duties have a high risk. This can because you work at heights or depths, with heavy machinery, with explosives or in foreign waters. If your regular working tasks include these activities then you may find that Life Insurance is offered at non-standard rates. This is when the insurer increases the monthly premiums for the policy, compared to the basic cost, to offset the perceived higher risk of you being in a fatal accident due to your occupation.

There is no one insurance provider who uniformly offers the best Life Insurance for offshore workers, with the market regularly changing acceptance terms to get one over the competition. In general, it is much better to speak with an insurance adviser, who can provide you with a fair analysis of the most up to date terms from insurers.

Get a Life Insurance Quote

Offshore Workers Critical Illness Cover

Critical Illness Cover for offshore workers is treated in much the same way as a Life Insurance application. If your work is classed as being high risk e.g. bell divers, roustabouts or roughnecks, then you may find that your Critical Illness policy comes with an occupational exclusion or premium increase. Typical exclusions could include loss of limbs, traumatic head injury and paralysis; the exclusion may only apply at times when you are actively working offshore. Offshore workers should be prepared that the claims definition Total Permanent Disability (TPD), could be unavailable with a Critical Illness policy. TPD is extremely difficult to make a successful claim on, for anyone, and we do not believe it should detract you from arranging the cover and being insured for conditions such as heart attack, cancer and strokes.

If you find that you are unable to arrange Critical Illness Cover on the standard insurance market, there are specialist insurers that we can arrange the cover with.

Get a Critical Illness Cover Quote

Offshore Workers Income Protection

Income Protection is available to offshore workers. For many occupations cover can be available at standard terms, however with some companies cover will come with a rotary aviation exclusion on the policy. This exclusion comes in two formats:

  1. No claim is paid if you are injured whilst travelling in a helicopter, or,
  2. No claim is paid if you are not approved to travel to the oil rig, due to illness.

This second exclusion is best understood by an example. An individual who is unable to continue to work on an oil rig due to the development of high blood pressure, and cannot travel by helicopter to the site, will not be able to make a claim. In most circumstances Income Protection can be offered on an own occupation definition. This means that in order to make a successful claim, you must be unable to do just your own occupation. You may also find that your Income Protection has a limit on the retirement age you can be covered until, for example to age 60.

Income Protection for offshore workers is a very specialist area and it is worth speaking to a qualified adviser before trying to place cover.

Get a Life Insurance Quote

If you find that Income Protection is not available to you due to your work offshore, then you may want to consider an Accident, Sickness and Unemployment policy. This policy can pay out a monthly income replacement for between 12 and 24 months, if you are unable to work due to ill health, disability or involuntary redundancy. If you are self-employed you may be restricted to an Accident and Sickness policy only with some insurers. It is very important that if you do look at arranging this kind of insurance, that you make sure that the amount of time that you spend abroad each year is acceptable to the insurer.

Get an Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Quote

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You can view a transcript for this CuraVision Offshore Worker video here.

What is Offshore Workers

Offshore workers are those individuals who work within the oil rig Industry and this page is focused towards people within this sector. If you are a member of Armed Forces please visit one of the following pages that are tailored specifically for your needs: Army, Navy, RAF.

Duties: Machine operator, engineering, welding, plumbing, cooking, first aid

Possible Risks

Some of the possible risks include:

  • Transport
  • Lack of medical facilities
  • Working at heights and/or depths
  • Chemical exposure

Example Occupations

  • Bell Divers
  • Boilermen
  • Cleaners
  • Cooks
  • Engineering Supervisors
  • Health and Safety Officers
  • Heavy Mechanical Engineers
  • Mechanics
  • Medical Personnel
  • Office-based Staff/Management
  • Operators (remote submersible)
  • Testers
  • Working in High Risk Countries

Further Reading and Research

Common Questions

1. I work at heights offshore, it's no different to me working up a building at home in the UK, but I've been declined life insurance. What are my options?

Speak with a different insurer. The UK Life Insurance market can be a funny thing at times, some insurers will not offer cover to offshore workers, some will. It sounds like you looked at one that isn't able to offer Life Insurance to offshore workers. Don't worry, there should be options for you on the standard market, and if not, there are specialist insurers that will be able to offer you Life Insurance.

2. I work offshore on a 4 week on, 4 week off rota. I'm based off West Africa. Can I get UK life insurance?

Yes you can. Whether you can get Life Insurance on the standard market, or will need to go to a specialist insurer, will depend on what it is you actually do e.g. administration, rope access or underwater pipeline maintenance. The insurer will want to know the exact location of where you work offshore, and may also want to know how long you stay in your stop over country, before travelling to the rig.

3. I'm due to start working offshore, but I am not sure where I am going to be based, it will probably be West Africa but I've seen contracts in the Gulf of Mexico too. Is there a better one for life insurance?

It depends. Insurers like to know the exact locations that you will be travelling to for your work, but they also understand that jobs are unpredictable. The main thing that the insurers are going to want to know, is what do you do. Are you working at heights? Are you using explosives? Are you moving heavy machinery? It is your working tasks that will be a real focus for the insurer, in deciding if they can offer you Life Insurance. Your location offshore will also be a large factor in what you are offered for Life Insurance. Danger levels change relatively quickly in different countries, so it isn't possible to say that any one place is more acceptable to insurers than others.

Client Reviews

The Special Risks Bureau has been rated 5.0 out of 5 based on 299 reviews.

Review by Simon on 29th January 2016

I was having a lot of trouble getting critical illness cover as I work on a rig. These guys really helped me and got cover sorted at a good price. - 5 Stars

You can read more of our reviews here.

For more information on specific health conditions, pastimes, occupations and countries please select here:


Kathryn Knowles, Managing Director

Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd

This page was written by Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd, an award-winning insurance adviser. To read more about Kathryn please see her bio here.