What then has occurred since my last update last year?
Back in October, Guardian made substantial alterations to its plan. When it entered the market with a top quality and ground-breaking design it was, unsurprisingly, the dearest plan out there and this swayed many advisers to look elsewhere.
The October changes sought to resolve this problem by also offering an accelerated plan, as opposed to the previous dearer life and critical illness plan.
On the negative side Guardian stopped paying benign brain tumour claims on diagnosis alone, made Type 1 Diabetes an additional payment instead of a 100 per cent condition and also reduced the efficacy of its skin cancer wording.
On the plus side, it added ulcerative colitis and two additional early-stage cancers. However, the most beneficial change was to allow an early-stage prostate cancer claim without the requirement for treatment.
As a result the policy remains of a high quality and is now available at an appreciably lower cost.
Cirencester and Vitality
Cirencester Friendly Society introduced children’s critical illness insurance at no additional cost to both new and existing plans.
A fixed payment of £2,500 is made to the policyholder if a relevant child suffers from one of ten named conditions.
An extremely valuable benefit to parents whose child is critically ill and understandably take time from working.
Vitality also made changes with four new conditions included and improvements to six conditions. Moreover, twenty-three conditions are now being paid upon admission to an NHS waiting list.
January 2020 kicked off with two major insurers effecting wholesale changes to their plans.
First was LV= with a timely upgrade – after focusing on income protection in recent years LV= had not made serious changes since 2013 and as a result its plan had been slipping down the quality tables.
This modernisation involved adding nine new conditions, uplifting two other conditions and adding nine additional payment conditions.
Furthermore, it increased the additional condition payment level to the lower of £30,000 or 50 per cent of the insurance figure.
Another worthwhile alteration involved doubling the payment – up to an additional value of £200,000 – for those diagnosed with one of four neurological conditions before age 55 as well as the introduction of a £5,000 child death benefit.
Meanwhile, Scottish Widows made changes to its Protect range.
The alterations cannot be described as an upgrade, rather they redesigned the plan concept by consolidating various conditions within umbrella headings.
As an example, a one called Heart and Vascular Surgeries of Major Severity incorporates six previous stand-alone conditions. In total, 23 previous conditions now sit within seven umbrella groupings.
Scottish Widows also added four new conditions, upgraded the child death benefit to £10,000 from £5,000 and increased additional condition and child cover to the lower of £30,000 or 25 per cent of the insurance.
Five neurological conditions enjoy a 50 per cent boost up to a maximum additional £200,000 if diagnosed before age 45 and seven conditions will pay out once admitted to an NHS waiting list.
The consolidation of conditions serves as a warning to those advisers that lazily count condition numbers believing it to be a sound method of selection – we urge advisers to use a competent sourcing system or undertake proper analysis themselves.