Aegon has substantially improved its critical illness plan, according to critical illness comparison site CIExpert.
The site noted that, while for some time Aegon has "taken a back seat, watching competitors climb above it in the critical illness quality stakes", it has rallied and upgraded its plans with the addition of eight partial payment conditions, one new full payment condition with improvements to five existing definitions.
The partial payment conditions will not apply to children.
CIExpet concluded that Aegon is again in the mix when it comes to selecting a value-for-money critical illness plan adding that this is a major step forward for Aegon.
Alan Lakey, director of CIExpert, said: "It is good to see Aegon back at the front line. Over the past year there has been a swing towards quality and away from the ‘pile it high sell it cheap' attitude that prevailed a while back.
"It offers opportunities for advisers to reassess clients cover and also enables consumers to obtain wider cover that is more likely to result in a successful claim.
"After all, that is the point of taking out such a policy."
Policy changes and opinion:
New Full Payment Condition
Cardiac arrest- Cardiac arrest treated by implantation of a defibrillator
New Partial Payment Conditions - Payable in addition to the main benefit.
Accidental Hospitalisation - A payment of £5,000 if hospitalised for 28 consecutive days due to an accident.
Cerebral Aneurysm - Requires the treatment of a cerebral aneurysm by craniotomy or radiosurgery. Payment is the lower of £25,000 or 25% of the sum insured.
Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformation - Requires the treatment of an arteriovenous malformation of the brain by craniotomy or radiosurgery. Around 700 people undergo such treatment each year for this or the above condition. Payment is the lower of £25,000 or 25% of the sum insured.
Critical Fracture Cover - A single payment of £1,500 if an insured suffers a fractured skull, pelvis or neck.
Crohn's Disease - Crohn's Disease where there has been two or more bowel segment resections on separate occasions with ongoing symptoms. Payment is the lower of £12,500 or 12.5% of the sum insured.
Early Stage Prostate Cancer - Early stage prostate cancer (Gleason score 2 - 6) treated only by prostatectomy or interstitial beam therapy. Payment is the lower of £25,000 or 25% of the sum insured.
Partial Loss of Sight - Loss of sight to the extent that the better eye, even with the use of visual aids, has vision measured at 4/60 to 6/60 or has a visual field reduced to 200 or less of an arc. Payment is the lower of £12,500 or 12.5% of the sum insured.
Ulcerative Colitis - Ulcerative colitis treated by a total colectomy. Payment is the lower of £12,500 or 12.5% of the sum insured.
Existing Condition Improvements
Blindness - The ABI definition has been superseded and now meets a claim where the better eye has a Snellen measurement of 3/60 or worse or is measured between 4/60 and 6/60 as well as having a visual field reduced to 200 or less of an arc.
Loss of Hand or Foot - Aegon has joined the other quality offices that now pay a claim on the severance of just one limb.
Paralysis - This definition now pays on severance of one limb above the ankle or wrist as opposed to the previous two limbs.
Carcinoma in situ of the Breast - Aegon continues to insist on a full mastectomy but has increased the payment from £20,000/20% to the lower of £25,000 or 25% of the sum insured.
Children's Cover - A £5,000 death benefit has been included for children aged 30 days to 18 years (up to age 21 if in full-time education).
With child cover enhancements
£570 a month benefit
Asks Alan Lakey
Decided by 'independent' panel