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Insuring the IVF boom

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Wed 21 Nov 2012 –  Twins insurance covers the costs associated with multiple births.

A new insurance product underwritten by a Lloyd’s coverholder in the US gives parents a financial payout in the event they give birth to twins.

New Life Agency’s Newborn Twins Insurance provides coverage for twins born to parents who do not qualify for US-based medical insurance as non-residents. The $50, 000 premium buys $1m worth of coverage, with a $50, 000 fully-refundable deductible.   At a time when the number of multiple births is increasing as a result of IVF and other demographic factors, the product covers the additional medical costs associated with newborn twins.  

More multiple births  

The number of multiple births in the UK has risen by 7% in a decade. There were 15.7 multiple births per 1, 000 women in 2010 – an increase of 6.8% since 2000.

In the 24 years from 1980 to 2004, the number of multiple births in Britain increased by a massive 56%, according to organisation Twins UK. However, since the introduction of new rules on embryo transfer, the incidence of triplets has declined.   In the US, the “twinning rate” is even higher than in the UK, at 33.1 per 1, 000 live births. In 2009 Nadya Suleman became infamous as “Octomom” after giving birth to the second ever set of octuplets to be born alive in the US.

A major contributor to the increase in multiple births is assisted reproduction such as IVF, ICSI, and fertility drugs. On average, one in four IVF pregnancies results in either twins or triplets, compared to one in 80 where the baby is conceived naturally.   Other causes for the increase are a rising overall birth rate, an increase in maternal age (the chance of multiple births increases as women get older) and advances in medical care – more babies now survive, even those that are born extremely prematurely.

Medical complications and cost  

Typically, there are more medical complications associated with multiple births. These include miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and cerebral palsy. Birth complications can mean long-term care costs.   A couple in Michigan who insured against this outcome had twins and received a payout from their insurers. They insured against this happening again at a higher rate and promptly had twins for the second time.

“There has been a definite need for twins coverage in the marketplace ” says Gary Hickox, chief executive of Lloyd’s coverholder New Life Insurance Agency. “We listened and have developed a specific insurance targeted to meeting the needs of those parents and their babies worldwide.”

(source: Lloyd’s of London website)

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