British Friendly has updated its existing plans by adding a new Care Assistance Benefit at no extra cost. The discretionary benefit pays a flat £125 a week where the customer’s partner or child (up to age 18) needs care for 35 or more hours a week for a continuous period of four weeks or more. If agreed, the claim is paid back to day one and pays out for a maximum of 26 weeks over the life of the policy.
Claims are simple – there is no need for State benefits to be paid to anyone nor is there an ADL (activities of daily living) type test. Nor does the customer have to give up working. Instead, all that is required is confirmation from a medical professional that full-time care is needed. Pre-existing conditions are excluded however.
The new benefit follows the earlier introduction of a Death Benefit. This pays six months’ income protection benefit as a lump sum if the customer dies while holding a policy. The minimum payout is £1,000. The benefit is not paid on suicide within 12 months of taking out a policy. Members may nominate individuals to receive the benefit, with the nomination form available online or through the post.
Both new benefits are discretionary, which means the society could withdraw the benefit at any time. Again, it’s hard to criticise that – smaller mutuals need to have the flexibility to change if things don’t turn out as they had hoped. The alternative might simply have been not to introduce the benefits at all – and brokers and IFAs can be relied on to encourage all providers to look to offer the best for all their customers at all times.
What They Say
Distribution and marketing director Iain Clark said: “We saw the opportunity to offer a new and improved version of carer’s cover where you do not need to give up work or be subjected to an ADL assessment to claim. Importantly we are offering this benefit to all our members aged between 18-60, not just new members. Existing clients will have Care Assistance Benefit added to their policies automatically at no extra cost, and we will notify them of the new benefit.”
What We Say
"Both new benefits are provided at no extra cost and apply to existing as well as to new customers. It is hard therefore not to like them!
"In fact, both benefits are useful additions too. Care is most likely to be needed for a parent over age 70 but to some extent that can be planned for. Having to care for a child or partner is more likely to be unexpected and, while the benefit will not last forever, payments that could total £3,250 can go a long way towards helping manage a very difficult and expensive situation.
"Similarly, the death benefit is also relatively small but could make a difference – especially as using a nomination form can ensure it is paid out quickly and to the right person."