Aviva has introduced a number of changes to its group CI cover, primarily focusing on benefits for children. These include:
* Cover for child-specific illnesses, which Aviva describes as a first in the UK. As well as providing protection against a range of serious conditions, the new, enhanced policy now covers:
– Cerebral palsy.
– Cystic fibrosis.
– Muscular dystrophy.
– Spina bifida.
– Hydrocephalus – treated with the insertion of a shunt.
* In addition, should a child need intensive care treatment requiring mechanical ventilation for seven days, or if they suffer a loss of independent existence which would continue to affect them throughout their life, cover is provided.
* The 30 day age limit previously in place has been removed, meaning children are now covered from birth and against congenital conditions which are diagnosed during pregnancy or shortly after childbirth.
Aviva says that while some individual protection products offer this type of cover to the customer’s children, this is a first in the group CI market in the UK. If a child suffers from a critical illness or one of the above child-specific conditions and their parent is an Aviva Group CI member, they will receive a payment of up to 25% of the policyholder’s benefit up to a maximum of £20,000.
In addition, a number of other changes have been made including:
* Making the existing ‘Cancer – Second and Subsequent’ option standard, as well as extending cover to the spouse/partner of an employee.
* Offering access to a Cancer Drugs Fund benefit as an additional option selected by the policyholder (the employer) across both Standard and Extended cover options.
The ‘Second and Subsequent’ cancer definition means that both the employee and their spouse/partner will now be able to make a claim should they be diagnosed with a new unrelated cancer during the term of the policy. This allows employers to provide cover to extended family members who have previously been diagnosed with cancer and may not be able to get cover elsewhere.
The Cancer Drugs Fund benefit is an optional extra the employer can choose to include on behalf of their employees, and provides a fund of up to £100,000 to pay for cancer medication which has been rejected by their NHS trust on financial grounds.
What They Say
Group protection MD Steve Bridger, said: “Protecting your family is the priority for all parents so I am delighted that Aviva is the first provider to add specific children’s cover to our Group Critical Illness proposition. Seeing your child become ill must be one of the hardest things a parent can go through, so if we can ease the burden at all by providing a financial safety net or an extended support network, then it is the right thing to do.
"No parent should be worrying about money while taking care of their sick child and our enhanced Group CI policy can remove that worry, leaving the parents to concentrate on helping their child get better.”
What We Say
"Group CI might be thought of as a slightly old-fashioned or at least simpler version of individual CI and, to some extent, it is. But it serves a different purpose and it does take CI cover to a large number of people who otherwise wouldn’t have it.
"Where an employer is paying, including benefits for spouses and/or children is always a matter of debate, but advocates argue it makes sense for all parties and what’s good for the family is good for the employee, which is also good for the employer.
"Aviva has added a range of child benefits which, on the face of it, offer little that is not fairly normal on individual CI. But it does make group CI that much more attractive to employees with kids, while the improvements in cancer cover should further extend the appeal of the plan too."