Aviva has made changes to its Critical Illness+ and Life Insurance+ with Critical Illness products for new business, in a move which it says will make it “easier and quicker” for advisers to explain their features to their clients.
An Aviva spokesman said the provider is merging definitions where the conditions and the criteria for a claim align, presenting the critical illness (CI) definitions within literature in “clear, logical groupings” and equipping advisers with “streamlined” materials to aid their protection conversations.
The following changes are being implemented:
- Merging the traumatic brain injury and brain injury due to anoxia/hypoxia definitions into one single brain injury definition, maintaining the current level of cover.
- Merging the stroke and spinal stroke definitions into a single stroke definition, maintaining the current level of cover.
- Creating two simplified cancer definitions, both of which can pay out more than once, subject to a second less advanced cancer diagnosis of a different named site. The two new definitions are:
- Less advanced cancer in situ with surgery, which merges 16 less advanced cancer definitions into a single definition
- Low malignant potential tumour of gastrointestinal stromal (GIST) or Neuroendocrine (NET) types with surgery.
Aviva is also removing the standalone advanced surgery benefit and replacing it with new specific wording within each definition.
In addition, Aviva is extending its standard and upgraded children’s benefit to include children under legal guardianship.
The provider is also extending the Life Change Benefit feature available on Life Insurance+ and Critical Illness+ to include a new rental option. This allows the life assured to increase their cover if their rent is increased or payments increase when moving to a mortgage.
Mark Cracknell, Aviva’s Head of Protection Sales, said that the variables on CI cover across the market can lead to customer confusion over which illnesses are covered on a policy.
He said: “The last eight years in particular has seen an expansion of plans and cover, with increased definitions adding a complexity that is often difficult for advisers and their customers to navigate.
“At Aviva we are constantly challenging ourselves to make things clearer and simpler for customers while keeping our focus on product quality, coverage and flexibility. We’ve listened to our customers and our adviser colleagues and these changes are being implemented to ensure that advisers and customers have a clear and full understanding of their cover.”
Alan Lakey, who runs independent industry analyst CIExpert, described the move as “welcome”.
He said that Scottish Widows first introduced this concept in January and it is “clear” that insurers – having become acquainted with the potential for confusion due to the “complexity and perpetually changing content” – are now looking to simplify.
The removal of terminal illness as a named condition is a “sensible” move, Lakey said.
He said: “Aviva has been leading the way in recent years, being the first to remove both HIV and Loss of Speech. Aviva’s actions have reduced the numbers of conditions within the standard plan from 36 to 34 and within the upgraded plan from 87 to 71.
“This is a brave modification because there remains a hardcore of ‘condition counters’ who refuse to analyse plan details and subtleties. Obviously, they will miss the fact that, despite numbers reducing, the plan now offers wider cover.”