Raft of critical illness condition enhancements and changes available to existing customers
Guardian has plans to launch a more competitive combined life and critical illness (CI) cover option to sit alongside its stand-alone life and CI products later this month, it was announced at the COVER Protection & Health Summit today.
Speaking at our flagship conference, Guardian's interim CEO also revealed that there will also be a number of enhancements made to the CI existing proposition for existing customers, including three new full pay-out conditions and improvements to children's CI cover.
The new combined cover offering gives people access to protection with a single pay-out. A claim can be made in the event of the policyholder's death or diagnosis of a critical or terminal illness, whichever comes first.
The insurer said the introduction of this option follows adviser feedback from the mortgage market.
Katya MacLean said: "A big part of Guardian's journey to date has been based on listening. So, we're really pleased, just over a year since launch, to be introducing a new type of cover requested by our mortgage partners. Being a Guardian policy, our combined cover benefits from the quality we've become renowned for - simple definitions, many of which pay out on the word of a UK consultant; cover upgrade; our dual life approach; and the ability to add children's critical illness cover. But because it pays out just once, we're able to offer it more competitively than the stand-alone options which have the possibility of multiple payouts."
Jeff Woods, campaigns and propositions director, The Sesame Bankhall Group, added: "For mortgage advisers, the protection conversation tends to follow a mortgage sale, and many clients simply want to protect their debt. Our advisers tell us they love Guardian's high-quality approach - the clear definitions and the promise to treat existing customers fairly - and want a version of the product that best suits their needs. It's great that Guardian is now offering a combined product at a competitive price and it's certainly going to be appealing to our advisers. We're fortunate to work with a partner who listens and so clearly values our feedback."
Critical illness enhancements
Available to existing customers, the three new full pay-out conditions added to CI include gastro-intestinal stromal tumour, neuroendocrine tumours and ulcerative colitis.
There will be improvements to a number of definitions including cardiomyopathy, intensive care eligibility, low-grade prostate cancer, Parkinson's disease and cancer (metastatic non-melanoma skin uplifted from additional to full payment).
Guardian also announced the age range of children's CI will be extended to all children up to age 23, regardless of full-time education status; the indexation cap that restricted the sum assured to a maximum of £100,000 will be removed and the blindness definition has been enhanced.
Alan Lakey, director, CIExpert, said: "Guardian's restructuring shows a number of positive changes. The most compelling being the removal of the active surveillance/watchful waiting exclusion for low grade prostate cancer. Also valuable is the intensive care eligibility change to seven days from the previous 10. The cardiomyopathy definition has also been widened. The removal of the restriction that children needed to be in full time education is also a welcome move that we have advocated across the industry."
Market standard definitions
Also following adviser feedback, a small number of its conditions have been brought in line with market standard definitions. These include benign brain tumour and dementia including Alzheimer's.
Type 1 insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is now paid as an additional condition.
Critical illness buy-back has been removed, as has reserved cover.
Lakey said that the various improvements are balanced by the change to the benign brain tumour definition which no longer pays on diagnosis but on undergoing some form of treatment. "Also Type 1 diabetes has been changed from 100% to additional payment status," he said.
"However, most newsworthy is the fact that all these improvements will be made available to Guardian's existing customers, as this is the first time that Guardian's cover upgrade has ever been applied. Cover upgrade is one of Guardian's real USPs and I strongly believe it will enhance consumer confidence and help repair the reputation of the industry," concluded Lakey.
With child cover enhancements
£570 a month benefit
Asks Alan Lakey
Decided by 'independent' panel