Friends Life, now part of Aviva, has enhanced its Protect+ critical illness cover with the addition of a market-first benefit called extra care cover.
Extra care cover provides additional financial support to those customers whose critical illness or total and permanent disability is severe and life-changing.
A lump sum of £50,000, paid in addition to the main sum assured, will be provided for those customers who are left with severe, permanent symptoms as a result of their critical illness or total permanent disability.
It's also in place for customers who are diagnosed with certain conditions at a young age.
Friends Life said that the £50,000 can provide further financial support to help with expenses such as home adaptions, further treatment or lost income.
The £50,000 is a level benefit per person, per membership and is paid regardless of the sum assured.
It can only be paid to customers who have already made a successful critical illness cover or total permanent disability cover claim and who are left with severe, permanent symptoms that meet the extra care cover definition.
There are three scenarios where customers would be eligible for the benefit:
• The customer meets the definition for loss of independence or the customer is diagnosed with dementia, Parkinson's disease or motor neurone disease under the age of 50.
• Before the first anniversary of the diagnosis of the critical illness or total permanent disability, the customer is diagnosed with locked in syndrome, permanent vegetative state or minimally conscious state.
• On the first anniversary of when the customer was diagnosed with a critical illness or total permanent disability, they are suffering from permanent severe heart failure or the permanent loss of independence and the total and permanent loss of the ability to routinely perform at least three activities of daily living.
Robert Morrison, chief underwriter for protection at Aviva said: "We have developed this market-leading enhancement as our claims experience shows that while some customers go on to lead a normal life after a short-term severe illness, other customers have progressive conditions where their health deteriorates over time, greatly impacting their lifestyle and family finances.
"While the severity and life changing nature of some conditions was our driver for introducing the benefit, it is also designed to help when a condition is diagnosed at a relatively young age, for example dementia or Parkinson's disease under the age of 50.
"Extra Care Cover will give additional peace of mind to those customers who are left with severe and permanent symptoms, helping them cope financially with the necessary adjustments to their daily lives."