British Friendly has added a further benefits programme – core to its Income Protection (IP) proposition – by adding a new feature, Bereavement Benefit.
The new benefit applies to both new and existing insured members at no extra cost. British Friendly says the move is timely as the Government’s Widowed Parent’s Allowance, Bereavement Allowance and Bereavement Payment were replaced with Bereavement Support Payment in April, meaning three out of four newly widowed parents may be worse off.
Bereavement Benefit is a discretionary benefit designed to provide a lump sum to members who suffer the loss of their spouse, partner or child. The amount payable will be a lump sum equal to thirteen times the member’s weekly Income Protection benefit with a minimum payment of £1,000.
Bereavement Benefit is part of British Friendly’s Mutual Support programme that launched in February and sits alongside the Death Benefit (which pays out six months’ benefit if the member dies), Care Assistance Benefit and healthcare services provided by Square Health.
In February, British Friendly added Mutual Benefits – a range of practical lifestyle benefits designed to provide support to income protection policyholders. Members are allocated Health Support Points each year, which can then be used to access a range of services provided by British Friendly’s support partner, Square Health. Services include Virtual GP consultations, a second opinion on a medical diagnosis, physiotherapy or counselling. The programme also provides information and tools for members.
British Friendly offers three types of IP: Long Term Protect (Traditional IP), Short Term Protect (benefit periods of 1, 2 or 5 years or to age 70) and Breathing Space (IP benefit of up to £250 a week with no need to prove income).
What They Say
Head of product and propositions, Nick Telfer, said: "With Bereavement Benefit we are building on the work we’ve done to return value to our members by further enhancing their cover so that it is inclusive and protects against events that impact them as well as their wider family.
"We want to grow the appeal of income protection in the intermediary market and help advisers to win and retain customers. We believe initiatives like Bereavement Benefit help to achieve these goals."
What We Say
"IP cover has at last started selling in greater numbers and that alone will mean more advisers looking at it again. British Friendly is one of the more innovative friendly societies and its Mutual Benefits Programme – launched earlier this year – is already being developed to offer further features.
"Mutual Benefits is a discretionary programme and encourages members to engage and also offers them annual points which can be swapped for benefits such as virtual GP consultations, physiotherapy and counselling. Should the discretionary element be of concern? – not necessarily – it means British Friendly can add and change benefits, whereas if benefits were fixed it would probably have to be much more cautious before offering any new benefit.
"Some of the literature is a little clunky, but overall this is developing into a powerful practical benefit that many people will engage with and benefit from. Watch out though for premiums rising every January – some won’t like that, although it means cheaper premiums upfront and most people expect insurance premiums to rise annually anyway."