Scottish Widows has introduced a number of changes to the critical illness elements of its Protect plan including:
• Simplification. The number of definitions has been reduced from 49 to 40 by combining similar definitions. For example, 16 of the previous definitions have been reduced to just five. Cover is now wider as conditions such as heart failure have been added.
• As the top ten conditions account for 96.3% of Scottish Widows’ claims, it has widened the scope of key definitions, concentrating on the two most common areas of claim – cancer and heart.
• A Booster Payment for selected neurological conditions is included for customers aged 45 or under. They get an enhanced payment of 150% of their current sum insured up to a maximum of £200,000.
• Advanced payment for surgical procedures has been added. Rather than waiting for the surgery to be completed, the plan now pays out an advance payment of the current amount of cover if the customer is on a UK waiting list for treatment, whether for NHS or private treatment.
• There is an increased payout for additional payments and children’s cover. The maximum payout has been increased from £25,000 to £30,000 for children’s critical illness cover. For children’s life cover the payout has been increased from £5,000 to £10,000.
• Child cover is now extended to all main and additional conditions except for TPD.
• The survival period for main conditions has been reduced from 14 days to ten days and removed completely for additional payments.
• Product literature. To help bring definitions to life in the product literature, the 30 main conditions have now been grouped together in five easy to understand headings using a ‘body image’ concept. The five are: heart and arteries; organs; senses; brain and neurological, and cancer. The Policy Summary is accredited by Fairer Finance as using clear design and simple language.
Overall, Protect is a menu style plan, with each type of cover written as a legally separate entity, so making any future cover changes easier.