Aegon says it is continuing its drive back to the top of the protection insurance market with improvements to its proposition. Enhancements to its critical illness cover include:
* One new condition has been added, taking the total number of conditions covered to 43. The new condition is cardiac arrest, treated by implantation of a defibrillator.
* In addition there are now 11 partial sum insured benefits. These include critical fracture cover, which Aegon describes as a ‘unique benefit offering payment for specified significant fractures’. This pays £1,500 for a fractured skull, pelvis or neck. Other partial payments now included are for accidental hospitalisation (£5,000 if hospitalised for 28 days due to an accident); cerebral aneurysm (treated by craniotomy or radiosurgery), where payment is the lower of £25K and 25% of the sum insured; cerebral arteriovenous malformation (treated by craniotomy or radiosurgery) – where payment is the lower of £25K and 25% of the sum insured; Crohn’s disease where there has been two or more bowel segment resections on separate occasions with ongoing symptoms (which pays the lower of £12,500 and 12.5% of the sum insured); early stage prostate cancer (Gleason score 2-6) – paying the lower of £25K and 25% of the sum insured; partial loss of sight (paying the lower of £12.5K/12.5%); ulcerative colitis (£12.5k/12.5%).
* Four ABI+ definitions have been added. This takes the total to 18 and the four new conditions are: blindness; loss of hand or foot; paralysis of a limb; and motor neurone disease
* Increased cover options to mastectomy for carcinoma in situ and children’s critical illness protection.
Aegon now claims to have the highest age limit in the market (age 74) and says it will underwrite sums insured up to £4m. Despite the individual changes made, Aegon says it is the ‘full picture’ that makes its CI plan stand out and it has also promised ‘more to come’. The changes made affect business as well as personal plans. There is only one standard exclusion, which is alcohol and drug abuse.
What They Say
An Aegon spokesman said: “These improvements are driven by feedback from advisers and our desire to pay more claims and offer the broadest level of cover to our customers.” He added: “Price may be the key factor in a life policy, but there are many other facets for consideration when it comes to a critical illness policy. While the changes have added value to the overall CI cover, it’s the full picture that makes our CI cover stand out.”
What We Say
"Aegon has slipped in the past in the CI market and these changes are part of its attempt to remedy that and become front of mind again. Largely they succeed, with new conditions added and wider definitions too. It all adds up to more people being able to claim if they suffer what they or their doctor might think of as a critical illness.
"As with all CI plans however, there’s a caveat. That is simply that CI cover is now extremely complex. Want to know what is covered? Then you have 12 A4 pages of definitions to read. To be fair, Aegon includes not just the definition of each condition covered but also a commentary about what it means in practice. But it adds up to customers and intermediaries struggling to know what is covered and how much any improvements really add up to.
"That said, Aegon is working hard to get back to the top of the protection market and these changes will certainly help."