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Product Review of the Month: ‘Life Insurance Plus Critical Illness’ by Canada Life


Considerable number of new and updated conditions covered.More me too than revolutionary.
Catch-all benefit within child’s CI cover.More conditions covered adds complexity.
Useful additional third party services such as discounts and second medical opinion service.Price competitiveness can easily be eroded.

The Product

Canada Life has introduced a number of changes to its existing individual life and CI product, including:

* The number of core illness covered has been increased from 41 to 52. The new ones are:

– Brain abscess – with specified treatment.

– Brain injury due to anoxia or hypoxia – resulting in permanent symptoms.

– Cauda equina syndrome – with permanent symptoms.

– Heart failure.

– Intensive care – requiring mechanical ventilation for ten consecutive days (not available for children who are already covered under their own definition which has seven consecutive days).

– Myasthenia gravis – with specified symptoms.

– Neuromyelitis optica (Devic’s disease) – with clinical symptoms.

– Peripheral vascular disease – requiring bypass surgery.

– Severe Crohn’s disease – treated with two surgical intestinal resections or removal of entire large bowel.

– Syringomyelia or syringobulbia – with surgery.

* The number of additional illnesses covered has been increased from 19 to 44, and 13 definitions have been changed too.

* Child terminal illness cover now includes a catch all payment to cover non-listed CI illnesses. This pays out 50% of the sum insured, up to a maximum of £25,000. The funeral benefit will be paid as an advance payment too.

* Where a joint life policy has become a full claim and the policy ends, the other life insured can now take out a new single life plan.

* Where cancer is excluded as a condition by the underwriter, the customer now gets a premium discount.

* A Personal Nurse Service and Second Medical Opinion have been added to the life insurance terminal illness cover.

* All individual protection customers get a Canada Life app with discounted cinema tickets and savings at 1,000+ retailers and restaurants.

What They Say

Head of sales at Canada Life Individual Protection, Natalie Summerson, said: "Our enhanced cover gives advisers more reasons to consider our policies for their clients. Improving clarity and after sales flexibility is just as important as increasing the number of illnesses covered. As well as providing a better level of protection, making payments earlier does even more to reduce financial pressures when the worst happens.

"We also recognise advisers need additional tools to engage their customers in positive conversations around protection. Our app provides a wealth of health and wellbeing information, as well as discounted cinema tickets and savings at over 1,000 retailers and restaurants. In addition to a quality Life Insurance or Life Insurance plus Critical Illness cover for life changing events, our customers get great benefits through the app from the day their policy starts."

What We Say

"Canada Life’s approach to this update has been not just to widen cover but also to do so by offering lower premiums than the market leaders.

"Consequently, these updates are solid rather than revolutionary. That said, a considerable number of new conditions have been added or improved and that should help improve the plan’s competitiveness.

"The catch-all benefit within the child’s CI cover is worthy of attention too. CI cover desperately needs an effective catch all – TPD only partly meets the need and is pretty flawed. Having a partial payment to cover any critical illness that could knock a family sideways financially would surely be a good step forward, so it will be interesting to see if this concept is developed further.

"More detailed analysis by CI Expert did not reveal any unique conditions covered but that can be seen as a benefit as it also avoids gimmicky additional conditions where very few if any claims are ever likely to be made.

"However, Canada Life risks falling into the ‘me too’ category, worthy as these new changes are."