Option for members to reduce their benefit level for up to three months in light of financial challenges
After three months, cover for British Friendly members opting for the new benefit reduction option will revert for to the original benefit amount without any underwriting required.
The move is an extension of the mutual's relaxation of its premium holiday (career break) option introduced in March in light of the financial challenges posed by the Covid-19 crisis.
Members who have paid at least three month's premiums will be able to qualify for the new benefit reduction allowance. This has also been applied for those seeking a premium holiday.
Additionally, British Friendly has increased support for those who suspend their cover by taking a premium holiday. Members on a premium holiday will now be able to maintain their access to Square Health's health and wellbeing services (including virtual GP consultations and counselling) through the insurer's discretionary Mutual Benefits programme until the end of 2020.
Alan Knowles, chairman of the Protection Distribution Group (PDG), said: "We're pleased British Friendly is taking this sensible and practical step. This new benefit reduction option will help to keep clients on-risk when they may be experiencing financial hardship. It is the right thing to do."
Emma Thomson, product strategist at British Friendly, said: "Helping members who are experiencing financial difficulties is a priority for us. We want to give our members alternatives to simply cancelling their policies because they can no longer afford them. This new initiative provides specific help to those who need to reduce their outgoings in the short-term whilst still enabling them to claim if they need to.
She added: "We also launched several underwriting innovations in April, which is all part of our effort to help advisers and members to buy and retain the benefits of income protection."
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