British Friendly has introduced a number of new initiatives for this product since we last reviewed it back in 2016, so it is useful to catch-up on what has changed.
The most recent change is Recovery Support, a new benefit which pays members a cash lump sum equal to four weeks’ benefit when they return to work after a claim. To qualify, they must have been receiving benefit for at least 26 weeks and have been back at work for four weeks.
The policy offers a 1, 2 or 5 year payment term, free care assistance benefit, death benefit, second medical opinion service and health and wellbeing services. There are no standard exclusions, an own occupation definition applies and if elements of cover are excluded, premiums are discounted accordingly. Other benefits, include the Mutual Benefits loyalty programme, giving various discounts and offers.
Previously, British Friendly had added Immediate Support, paying claims at the end of the deferred period, even if supporting evidence has not been received. This had previously been trialled, but was made permanent in May. The friendly also uses DocuSign to enable claimants to sign and submit claims forms electronically, so saving time.
British Friendly also offers two other income protection plans – Long Term Protect (pays benefits up to age 70) and Breathing Space, which pays up to £125 a week for up to five years with no need to prove income.
What They Say
"Claims and underwriting director Andy Parker said: "Recovery support benefit provides claimants with greater financial support at the end of claim.
"Going back to work after an extended period of time off can be tough, emotionally and physically, but most certainly financially.
"Changing from receiving weekly benefit payments to fitting back into a normal pay/income cycle can make the return to work feel even more daunting. This is particularly so for the self-employed and those working in the gig economy.
"With this benefit we are helping to lessen the financial strain with a cash lump sum to alleviate short-term worry of paying bills on time, travel costs or even childcare while the family finances settle back into a routine."
What We Say"British Friendly has adopted a policy of gradually expanding its income protection products and these two new benefits are good examples of practical benefits that should help a number of claimants.
"For some clients too, dealing with a mutual insurer will be more attractive. As British Friendly celebrates fifty years in Bedford, it is good to see that it is continuing to innovate to make its products appeal to wider audiences."