‘This is a brave modification because there remains a hardcore of ‘condition counters’ who refuse to analyse plan details and subtleties,’ says Alan Lakey
Aviva today announces that it has simplified its critical illness and life insurance with critical illness for new business, with a view to making it easier and quicker for advisers to explain the product to their clients. The provider says the move comes in response to consumer and adviser feedback regarding their understanding of the conditions and benefits.
According to CIExpert director Alan Lakey, the changes, which include streamlining the plan design by incorporating a number of existing conditions into wider ‘umbrella' headings, represent a "welcome move". He adds a cautionary note, however, for advisers on the importance of quality over quantity.
"Aviva has been leading the way in recent years, being the first to remove both HIV and Loss of Speech," says Lakey. "Aviva's actions have reduced the numbers of conditions within the standard plan from 36 to 34 and within the upgraded plan from 87 to 71.
The concept of grouping conditions was first introduced by Scottish Widows in January
"This is a brave modification because there remains a hardcore of ‘condition counters' who refuse to analyse plan details and subtleties. Obviously, they will miss the fact that, despite numbers reducing, the plan now offers wider cover."
The concept of grouping conditions was first introduced by Scottish Widows in January, says Lakey adding: "it is clear that insurers - having become acquainted with the potential for confusion due to the complexity and perpetually changing content - are now looking to simplify".
Aviva has also organised all conditions into seven groupings - brain & central nervous system, mental health, senses, heart & circulatory system, organs, cancer, auto-immune disorders and children's cover.
Lakey adds: "Terminal illness has sensibly been removed as a named condition and accelerated surgery benefit, which was previously included as a benefit, has now been incorporated within the relevant condition wordings. The Guaranteed Insurability Options have also been adjusted to include rental increases as a trigger. Additionally, children under legal guardianship will now be included."
- Merged the traumatic brain injury and brain injury due to anoxia/hypoxia definitions into one single brain injury definition, maintaining the current level of cover.
- Merged the stroke and spinal stroke definitions into a single stroke definition, maintaining the current level of cover.
- Amalgamated 16 previous standalone less advanced cancers into the following two conditions: Less advanced cancer in situ with surgery and low malignant tumour of gastro-intestinal stromal (GIST) and neuroendocrine (NET) types.
- Kept other less advanced cancers as separate conditions because they undergo treatments other than surgery, such as radiotherapy, cryotherapy.
Supporting client conversations
The insurer also says it is changing its customer documents to include clear, logical groupings of the critical illness definitions.
Advisers will be able to access a streamlined suite of protection documents and support materials, aimed at helping them have effective, holistic protection conversations with clients. These will include a new interactive critical illness presentation to demonstrate to customers how the product works, what it covers and the options available to them; and a new interactive case study guide which allows advisers to click and share Aviva's current protection claims stories with their customers.
Mark Cracknell, Aviva head of protection sales, said: "We know that the complex nature of critical illness cover across the market can lead to customer confusion over which illnesses are covered on a policy. The last eight years in particular has seen an expansion of plans and cover, with increased definitions adding a complexity that is often difficult for advisers and their customers to navigate.
"At Aviva we are constantly challenging ourselves to make things clearer and simpler for customers while keeping our focus on product quality, coverage and flexibility. We've listened to our customers and our adviser colleagues and these changes are being implemented to ensure that advisers and customers have a clear and full understanding of their cover."
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