A direct-to-consumer online protection provider has responded to criticism that its critical illness cover is too basic, by stressing that the product will continue to develop as its simple online processes evolve.
Online provider Beagle Street is reviewing its cover conditions - some criticised it for simply replicating ABI definitions - but will only add conditions or widen wordings that add value.
Matthew Gledhill, managing director at Beagle Street, said: "The one thing we are interested in is developing the online access to cover online, making it as easy as possible and driving down cost. What I want to do is to deliver as much cover as possible, provided the technology supports it so it does not affect the process.
"Our aim is not to compete with more complex product propositions out there. We are aiming at a different part of the market that is not covered currently and who would not seek financial advice."
Gledhill said Beagle Street's simple critical illness product was not easy to create, but ultimately came down to questioning what conditions "genuinely" provided cover and eliminating complication factors.
He said: "This is about simple products but it is also very much about simple processes in making protection more accessible. And some cover is better than none."
Beagle Street's online process for its critical illness cover works on a basis of roughly 10,000 medical questions, using technology to streamline the customer application experience.
According to the online provider, average customer time through its term assurance and critical illness offering, beginnign to end, was approximately 11 minutes.
Emma Thomson, life office relationship director at LifeSearch, said: "For consumers who are on a tight budget, Beagle Street's critical illness proposition offers a good alternative to the mainstream providers, covering the main illnesses that lead to claims.
"Efficient processes are important as lengthy and complex underwriting puts many people off. Beagle Street's simple approach enables consumers to find out quickly whether they can get cover or not."
Beagle Street's critical illness plan currently offers 23 conditions including children's cover up to £25,000. The definitions abides closely to ABI model wordings and aims to be a low-cost simple, direct-to-consumer plan.
Alan Lakey, partner principal at Highclere Financial Services and founder of CIExpert, stated in March that Beagle Street's cover was less comprehensive than other plans that used "superior and wider" claims language.
Friends Life, Aviva, LV= and Ageas offer critical illness plans that cover 48, 44, 44 and 42 conditions respectively.
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What is normal?
According to gender and different ages