Zurich has made enhancements to its Critical Illness (CI) product, with improvements for patients with breast cancer and partial payments on six medical conditions.
The introduction of partial payments means that eligible customers diagnosed with critical illnesses covered by the product will benefit from a pay-out of 20% of their sum assured or £15,000 (whichever is lower). A successful partial claim will not reduce the customer’s sum assured.
The enhancements to Zurich’s CI cover are particularly beneficial to customers with breast cancer. The partial payments are not restricted to claims for Ductal Carcinoma in Situ but instead cover all carcinomas in situ of the breast.
Customers with breast cancer also benefit from flexibility over treatment options in terms of how this will impact on a partial claim. For example, they can make a partial claim if their treatment is a lumpectomy just as they would for a mastectomy.
Zurich has also increased the number of conditions covered from 40 to 48 with 10 ABI+ definitions. These conditions also apply to children who receive free cover under their parents’ plan.
Commenting on the changes, a leading expert and partner at Highclere Financial Services, Alan Lakey said:
“The critical illness market is polarising whereby insurers are falling into one of two camps. The first, where a basic plan is marketed, generally via a tied salesforce and the second, where the insurer uses intermediaries and seeks to offer added value.
“Added value is most easily identified by increasing the numbers of critical conditions, going beyond the ABI model wordings and including partial payments for higher risk conditions.
“Zurich falls into the latter category and its revamped plan includes eight new conditions of which six provide partial payments up to £15,000
“These improvements, allied to Zurich’s keen pricing, positions them as a value-for-money choice for discriminating advisers”.
Peter Hamilton, Head of Retail Propositions, UK Life added:
“We have introduced these changes to our product following input from advisers, their customers and our expert underwriters.
“Last year, cancer was the most common reason for critical illness claims from our customers and over a third of these were for breast cancer, triggering pay-outs amounting to around £12m.
“Even though the vast majority of people with breast cancer now survive, with treatment for the condition continually evolving, we know from experience that the impact of a diagnosis and treatment can be devastating.
“We feel that the changes we have introduced provide the right level of cover, adding real value, and we hope reassurance to our customers.”
In 2012, Zurich paid out £173m paid in protection-related claims. This includes £60m for critical illness claims, £14m for income protection claims and £99m for death claims. The insurer recently announced that it had almost doubled its retail protection market share to over 13%*.