New medical conditions, clearer definitions, and improvements to payment conditions, as well as children's cover enhancements, have been added to Old Mutual Wealth's critical illness cover (CIC).
Additional Care Benefit, an additional £50,000 (or benefit amount if lower) paid to claimants suffering long-term illness to pay for extra care, is also included as part of CIC.
All upgrades come as standard without the need to bolt on additional cover and mental health coverage has been added. Old Mutual's 'There For You' service, offering extra services such as serious illness support, bereavement support and second medical opinion, is also available alongside the policy.
The idea is to make CIC "more than just a product", with "high-quality product services" at the heart of the policy, Paul Roberts, head of protection at Old Mutual Wealth (Quilter), told PA's sister title COVER.
Five new medical conditions for full payment have been added, including brain injury due to trauma, anoxia or hypoxia (resulting in permanent symptoms), heart failure (of specified severity), interstitial lung disease, mental illness (of specified severity) and syringomyelia or syringobulbia requiring surgery.
Twelve new additional payments have been added too. These consist of:
- aortic aneurysm (with endovascular repair)
- brain abscess drained via craniotomy
- cancer in situ of the larynx
- Cauda Equina syndrome (with permanent symptoms)
- drug-resistant epilepsy (with specified surgery)
- gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST) or neuroendocrine tumour (NET) of low malignant potential (with surgery)
- Guillain-Barré syndrome (with persisting clinical symptoms)
- haematoma of the brain - with surgery
- heartbeat abnormalities with permanent pacemaker insertion
- myasthenia gravis (with persisting clinical symptoms)
- removal of one or more lobes of the lung (for disease or trauma)
- skin cancer (advanced stage as specified)
Old Mutual Wealth has also enhanced, simplified and clarified cancer in situ (CIS) - with surgery - coverage across a number of CIS definitions.
Children's cover comes as standard and will be extended to the child's 22nd birthday and across eight new definitions including cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and spina bifida.
There's additional children's cover enhancements for advance illness cover of £10,000, new child life cover of £5,000 in addition to a CIC claim, double payment if treatment is required overseas and 'First Time' cover.
Improvement to payment conditions include multiple sclerosis (now paid on diagnosis), coma (including medically induced comas), diabetes (requirement for 12 months of insulin injections removed) and intensive care (duration reduced from 10 to seven days).
Coverage for mental health follows criteria such as an admission to a psychiatric ward (14 consecutive nights), chronic unremitting symptoms, no response to comprehensive management and treatment (for longer than a year) and the inability to work for at least a year.
Comprehensive as standard
"We all hope that a critical illness won't happen to us or our loved ones," said Paul Roberts. "However, while we hope for the best, it is prudent to prepare for the worst. Our cover aims to be comprehensive as standard, avoiding the need to gamble by choosing which bolt on you may or more importantly may not want to include.
"Over the past year we have assessed our customer feedback and claims experiences to better understand how we can improve our products. We have then designed our upgrade to not only provide cover for a wide-ranging set of illnesses but so that it also provides additional financial support for longer term illnesses, children's cover and options to reinstate cover after a claim. Similarly, as standard, we include our There For You service which allows people to seek emotional support, or practical advice at any time."
According to Adam Higgs, head of adviser services research at F&TRC, Old Mutual Wealth has made "a significant move" by simplifying its wordings and broadening definitions for the higher incidence conditions.
"Specifically, improved wordings for heart attack, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and motor neurone disease has resulted in Old Mutual Wealth competing with the most comprehensive plans in the market," he said.
"It is great to see innovation, especially when it makes protection easier to purchase. The addition of ‘First Time Cover' where any child covered under the plan can take out their own policy, underwriting free within six months of their 22nd birthday, is extremely welcome. This could be a great initiative to help the younger generation become more involved in protection."
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