Aviva’s latest critical illness (CI) changes focus on those critical illnesses that are responsible for the vast majority of CI claims. Other changes have also been made and in total include:
* The definitions for stroke and multiple sclerosis (MS) have been widened in order to pay even more claims. For MS, there is no longer any need to present continuous symptoms for at least three months. For stroke, clients no longer need to show permanent symptoms. Both changes mean more claims will be paid and potentially more quickly too.
* Four new critical conditions have been added. The four are: carcinoma in situ of the cervix requiring treatment with hysterectomy; carcinoma in situ of the testicle requiring surgical removal of one or both testicles; arteriovenous malformation (AVM) of the brain with specific treatment, and cerebral aneurysm with specified treatment. In each case, the plan pays a partial payment up to £20,000, with the plan remaining in full force afterwards. Aviva says it chose to add these benefits because, in each case, without treatment, the condition can lead to one of the top five critical illnesses.
* The previous 18 month restriction on terminal illness claims has been removed. That restriction meant that claims made in the last 18 months of a plan’s life would not be paid. Now, they are.
* Earlier, in July 2013, Aviva lowered the threshold of troponin levels required in order to pay a heart attack claim.
* In total Aviva’s CI plan now covers a total of 57 conditions, including 18 additional (partial payment) benefits.
What They Say
Chief underwriter Robert Morrison said: “We’re continually looking for ways to improve our cover in a way that will make a real difference to our customers. It’s our business to pay claims, so our latest enhancements have been developed to make sure that more customers will receive a payment at a time when they need it most.”
What We Say
"Many CI providers are now accustomed to periodically looking at the scope of their plan and extending it a bit. They do that by adding conditions, widening definitions or by reducing exclusions. Many now also offer partial payments for conditions that are serious but, if you like, Championship rather than Premiership conditions.
"All of which is good news for clients and their advisers, provided that premiums remain competitive. But, and it’s quite a big but, while we can be confident that these changes (and the same applies to all CI providers who improve their plans) will mean more people will be able to claim if they suffer a critical illness, what we don’t know is how many. In other words, will these latest changes result in 10% more claims, or 0.001% more claims or something in-between? Without something to compare it to, it is difficult to know how many of these changes are merely window dressing.
"Of course, if your client can successfully claim in future when otherwise they would not have been able to do so, that's a 100% result. But how often will that happen?
"Let’s not look gift horses in the mouth though, so roll on ever-widening CI cover - as long as it really benefits clients."