Cover for the elderly: Age UK insured the last surviving Tommy

Age UK takes a less profit-driven approach to providing insurance cover to older people

Harry Patch
Harry Patch

When the First World War veteran Harry Patch, the last surviving Tommy, made his final trip to the battlefields of Belgium at the age of 108, Age UK Enterprises, the social enterprise arm of Age UK, provided his travel insurance.

Many insurance companies are reluctant to provide cover for older people, but Age UK takes a less profit-driven approach.

"Our message is that people ought to be enjoying their retirement," says Gordon Morris, managing director of Age UK Enterprises.

The organisation provided 597 insurance policies for people aged over 100 and 30,930 policies for people over 90 in 2009/10.

It provides winter sports cover through the underwriter Ageas and offers dangerous activities protection for holidaymakers of all ages who fancy indulging in hobbies such as mountain biking, white-water rafting and gliding.

Age Concern England and Help the Aged, which merged to form Age UK, started offering insurance because older people were often refused cover by profit-driven companies that considered them too risky.

"Why should you say to people who are over 65 'you can't go skiing'?" asks Morris. "We need to find ways of enabling people to take risks.

"We don't set out to be the cheapest, but we prove it can be done."

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