Ellipse has introduced a number of changes to its group critical illness product, including:
* Two new core illnesses have been added. They are: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and dementia (which was originally an additional illness).
* Seven new additional illnesses have been added. These are: bacterial meningitis; balloon valvuloplasty; benign spinal cord tumour; cardiac arrest; encephalitis; liver failure, and pulmonary artery graft surgery.
Ellipse has said that although not standard, it will also cover coronary angioplasty if the scheme already has it or it is desired by the employer/adviser. This will come at an additional premium loading.
In total the plan now covers 12 core illnesses and 29 additional ones, and permanent total disability cover can also be added.
On flexible and voluntary benefits schemes, Ellipse now offers a two year rate guarantee for new flex schemes. Being actively at work applies for the initial selection, where employees can choose any benefit and, at future benefit selections, employees can flex up by 5x salary or £100,000, whichever is lower. For both new and existing flex schemes, a pre-existing conditions excluded (PECE) basis is available, which helps keeps costs lower and means no individual assessment can be offered on schemes of five lives or more.
The insurer adds that improved pricing makes its rates more competitive across the board.
On partner cover, employees can opt to cover their partners through their flexible benefits programme. Ellipse has expanded the definition of partner to include cohabitant partners. This means an employee can cover a person they are married to, in a civil partnership with or cohabiting with. A cohabitant partner is defined as: a person who is in a relationship resembling marriage with the member whom has the same main residence, and has done so for at least six months and is either i) financially dependent on the member, or ii) in a relationship of mutual dependence with the member.
Children are now covered from birth (previously 30 days), and they are covered until their 18th birthday or 23rd birthday if in full time education.
Premiums are usually guaranteed for two years, and the plan consists of both core and additional illness covered. Claimants and their families get access to the Red Arc critical illness service. Maximum benefit is the lower of five times salary or £500,000.
Ellipse has produced a 48 page online technical guide for customers which explains both the new changes and the other features of the plan. There is also a three page summary and the full terms and conditions online.
What They Say
CEO Lee Lovett said: “Insurance products need to reflect modern living arrangements in order to protect families, and the changes to our product helps to provide CI insurance to unmarried couples.”
What We Say
"Compared to the individual CI market, group CI cover offers the prospect of both lighter underwriting and lower premiums, although there can be exceptions to both. The downside is that cover is often narrower and will usually cease if the employee changes employer.
"Ellipse has improved its proposition by adding two new core conditions and seven additional illnesses, plus it has tweaked cover in a few other places. It adds up to a useful package of improvements and, with more competitive rates, should appeal to both advisers and employers.
"Moving dementia to become a core illness helps the plan to become a tool in the complex and underused long term care planning arena too. However, for most people, long term care is much more of an issue in their post-employment years.
"For flex schemes having the option to exclude pre-existing conditions should make the scheme more viable, even though it will naturally be less attractive to employers with such conditions."