Zurich has introduced a number of changes to its existing critical illness insurance products. The key enhancements include:
• Cancer – the two most common forms of skin cancer and the most common form of adult leukaemia are now covered.
• Multiple Sclerosis – the period when clinical symptoms must persist has been reduced from six months to three, or removed entirely with MRI evidence of two or more attacks of impaired motor or sensory function.
• Full payment of the sum insured is now made on the loss of one hand or foot.
• Heart Attack – the threshold for elevated troponin levels has been removed, meaning that any diagnosed heart attack showing a raised level of troponins will be payable.
The changes have been introduced ahead of the ABI’s statement of best practice for critical illness insurance coming into force in December 2015.
In addition, eight conditions have been enhanced to exceed the Association of British Insurers (ABI) definition making them ABI+. This means Zurich now has 18 ABI+ conditions, including the top four reasons for claims – stroke, cancer, heart attack and multiple sclerosis – which accounted for 84% of its payouts last year.
The total number of conditions covered is now 58.
Further enhancements include doubling the number of conditions that customers can claim additional payments on from 6 to 12. These payments mean that eligible customers diagnosed with less advanced critical illnesses covered by the product will benefit from a payout of 20% of their sum insured or £15k whichever is lower. Successful additional claims will not reduce the amount of benefit remaining.
Earlier recent changes include improvements to Zurich’s claims procedures, which it says has resulted in claim turnround times reducing by a quarter.
What They Say
Head of retail proposition Peter Hamilton said: “These enhancements strengthen the coverage available on our critical illness products. We’ve focused on improving the definitions for the conditions customers are most likely to claim on and have made them clearer. This should help customers better understand what they are buying and make things as straightforward as possible when they need to claim.”
What We Say
"Zurich, in common with many CI insurers, has introduced a raft of changes both to fall into line with the ABI’s latest statement of best practice on CI, which comes into effect in a few months’ time, and to widen its cover. But, with 58 conditions covered, each one having its own medico-legal definition, understanding just how broad (or otherwise) cover is can be complex (unless you use tools such as CI Expert). Indeed, simply counting conditions covered is likely to lead to wrong conclusions.
"Does that make CI too complex for its own good? Maybe, but in the absence of a better alternative, the changes are welcome and are positive for both customers and advisers."