Friends Life’s updated income protection element of its Protect+ plan now incorporates a number of changes:
* The guaranteed insured benefit has increased from £1,300 to £1,500 a month. This benefit is paid to the customer with no income checks when a claim is agreed.
* Where the insured benefit exceeds £1,500 a month, provided the customer’s earnings fall by less than 10%, the full benefit will now be paid for the full duration of their claim. Previously this benefit was only guaranteed for 12 months.
* If the customer’s earnings rise by more than 20% as a result of career progression, they can now increase their annual benefit on a one-off basis, up to a maximum of £20,000 a year, without the need for new underwriting.
* The existing therapy benefit is now contractual and it pays up to £200 per policy year (and 100% of the cost) for physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic.
The plan offers a choice of deferred periods, from 1-24 months, guaranteed or reviewable premiums and a wide range of added value benefits and options. Cover can run up to age 70.
What They Say
Louise Colley, managing director, protection, for Aviva said: “These enhancements are being made to the Friends Life Protect+ propositions, where customers taking out income protection also have access to Global Treatment – an additional option which gives customers the chance to be treated for an illness at top international hospitals.”
What We Say
"Many advisers have been pleased to see that Friends Life is continuing as a brand, even though it is now part of the giant Aviva group.
"These changes are not huge (or even that numerous), but each has its own appeal. In particular, guaranteed benefits help avoid the criticism that IP insurers can effectively underwrite customers bothy at outset and also if a claim is made. Now, most people on or below average earnings are protected from income falls. Higher earners benefit too, so long as their income falls by less than 10%.
"Taken with the other changes made, Friends’ latest update should further increase the appeal of the plan."