Aegon has introduced a number of changes to its multi-benefit proposition for both personal and business protection. The main changes are:
Critical illness cover:
* The heart attack definition has been simplified by removing the need for specified troponin levels and making it easier to claim.
* There is no longer a need for three months of continuous symptoms for multiple sclerosis.
* A new carcinoma in situ of the breast definition has been introduced to replace the mastectomy definition. This additional benefit pays 25% of the sum insured up to a maximum of £25,000.
Income protection cover:
* The upper age limit for cover has been raised from 65 to 70.
* On individual plans the maximum insured benefit is now £150,000 (previously £130,000).
* A new income promise protects customers against a drop in income after the policy has started.
* All standard exclusions have been removed.
A joint life separation option has also been introduced and all Family Income Benefit rates are now guaranteed rather than reviewable.
The plan itself allows up to five main benefits to be included in any one online application, with flexibility at outset and during the policy’s term. Clients can get a multi-benefit discount and plans include automatic (guaranteed insurability, critical illness protection for children and terminal illness cover) and optional additional benefits (waiver of premium; total permanent disability cover; fixed terms or five yearly renewable cover; guaranteed or reviewable premiums; inflation-linked benefits). Aegon produces a useful and simple guide for advisers setting out the rules that apply to each type of cover.
What They Say
Protection director Dougy Grant said: "We need to recognise the trend of increased life expectancy and longer mortgage terms, which means people are continuing to work beyond the traditional retirement age. It is more important than ever to make sure that clients can keep their financial plans on track with a range of protection products that guard against life’s uncertainties.
"As a company it’s our ambition to increase the number of families and businesses that are protected financially. The breadth and depth of the changes recognise the need for advisers to be able to create a package of high quality solutions, within one menu plan, to make sure they can tailor their advice for the individual needs of their clients. The enhancements will meet that challenge and make sure that when these valuable benefits are needed the most, we’ll be there to help support them. We’ve concentrated on the top reasons for making a claim so that we can pay even more claims."
What We Say
"Aegon’s menu solution encourages customers (and their advisers) to look to combining solutions within the same product, which can make life simpler and easier (although the counter argument is that you may get a better deal by selecting the best provider for each type of cover). Discounts for multi-benefits further enhance the case.
"These latest changes are all worthwhile improvements, although for many clients they will be relatively minor. The CI changes further widen cover (always a good thing and getting closer to the ideal of a critical illness policy that actually covers all rather than just most critical illnesses), while the IP changes also help increase the appeal of this element of the plan. Overall, these are useful changes that will be welcomed by advisers.
"On the comms front, it is great to see an insurer promoting its support of the Seven Families initiative in its press release – even including a link to a YouTube video on one of the families. Not least, this shows how such industry initiatives can help individual providers’ image by showing their human as well as financial side. Less good is the Aegon UK website homepage, which talks only about retirement and investment – you have to go to the Advisers section to find out about ‘our other products’…"