Old Mutual has introduced over 80 changes to its critical illness cover. The main changes are:
Five new full payment medical conditions have been added. These pay out on:
* Brain injury due to trauma, anoxia or hypoxia – resulting in permanent symptoms.
* Heart failure – of specified severity.
* Interstitial lung disease.
* Mental illness – of specified severity [see below].
* Syringomyelia or syringobulbia requiring surgery.
There are also 13 new additional payment definitions including:
* Haematoma of the brain – with surgery.
* Drug resistant epilepsy – with specified surgery.
* Heartbeat abnormalities with permanent pacemaker insertion.
The cancer in situ (CIS) – with surgery coverage has been consolidated and improved to now include a larger number of CIS definitions and the definitions have been improved to provide clarity and reduce complexity. The CIS overall definition can also be claimed on multiple times for different surgeries.
Children’s cover, which comes as standard, now extends to the child’s 22nd birthday and there are eight new child specific definitions, including:
* Cerebral palsy.
* Cystic fibrosis.
* Muscular dystrophy.
* Spina bifida.
Additional children’s cover enhancements are:
* Advanced illness cover of £10,000.
* New child life cover of £5,000 in addition to a CI claim.
* Double payment if treatment is required overseas.
* First time cover.
Improvements to payment conditions include for:
* Multiple sclerosis – now paid on diagnosis.
* Coma – now includes medically induced comas.
* Diabetes – the requirement for 12 months of insulin injections has been removed.
* Spinal stroke – the need for symptoms to have lasted for three months has been removed.
* Intensive care – duration reduced from ten to seven days.
The mental health criteria are that:
* The patient was admitted to a psychiatric ward where treatment was provided for at least 14 consecutive nights.
* There are chronic unremitting symptoms.
* The condition has not responded to comprehensive management and treatment. This must be completed, and based on best clinical practice, and received for more than one year.
* There must be an inability to perform any type of work for payment or reward for a period of at least one year.
In total the plan now has 49 full payment conditions (50 including terminal illness), 28 additional payment conditions and children get all adult conditions covered plus eight children’s conditions. OMW also pays an additional £50K if the customer is diagnosed with a full payment condition and meets one of a number of additional requirements.
What They Say
Head of protection, Paul Roberts, said: “We all hope that a critical illness won’t happen to us or our loved ones. However, while we hope for the best, it is prudent to prepare for the worst. Our cover aims to be comprehensive as standard, avoiding the need to gamble by choosing which bolt on you may or more importantly may not want to include.
"Over the past year we have assessed our customer feedback and claims experiences to better understand how we can improve our products. We have then designed our upgrade to not only provide cover for a wide-ranging set of illnesses but so that it also provides additional financial support for longer term illnesses, children’s cover and options to reinstate cover after a claim. Similarly, as standard, we include our There For You service which allows people to seek emotional support, or practical advice at any time."
What We Say
"OMW has not updated its CI cover for some time, so enabling it to take a more radical approach to updating this time compared to many of its competitors.
"The end result is certainly more comprehensive, with new conditions added and others changed. Children are covered for everything their parents are, plus a few of their own conditions – which will be reassuring to parents.
"As with AIG, the plan now covers serious mental health, although again, the criteria to make a claim are many and relatively few people will be able to claim under this claims head.
"I like the idea of trying to be as comprehensive as possible with cover. As OMW says, this avoids leaving the customer to have to gamble on what conditions they might get. That said, more conditions can mean more and sometimes bewildering complexity and though OMW has simplified its cover in some ways, the end result is a product that is still complex for both customers and advisers to fully understand."