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9/10 for PruProtect plan

PruProtect – Serious Illness Cover

Type: Critical-illness cover with severity-based approach to conditions

Minimum premium/cover: £10 a month through PruProtect plan, £8 a month through the Essentials plan/£10,000

Maximum cover: £1m

Conditions covered: Primary and comprehensive serious illness cover – 11 cancer-related conditions, 12 heart and artery conditions, 28 stroke and nervous system conditions, seven gastrointestinal conditions, seven connective tissue disease conditions, seven urogenital tract and kidney conditions, seven respiratory conditions, accidental HIV infection, 8 musculoskeletal trauma conditions, four eye conditions, two ear conditions, major organ transplant, five conditions of permanent disability; additional conditions with comprehensive serious illness cover – Two cancer-related conditions, 16 heart and artery conditions, four stroke and nervous system conditions, eight gastrointestinal condition, one ear conditions, eight connective tissue diseases, 13 endocrine and metabolic diseases, three musculoskeletal trauma conditions, six respiratory conditions, four urogenital and kidney conditions

Minimum-maximum ages: 16-64

Minimum term: Five years

Options: Single or joint life, reviewable or guaranteed premiums, optional serious-illness cover for children, disability cover, life cover, protected life cover, guaranteed insurability, income protection, unemployment cover, waiver of premium, minimum protected account option to reinstate set level of cover after a claim

Commission: Subject to negotiation

Tel: 0845 601 0072

PruProtect’s severity-based serious illness cover has been updated to include eight new conditions, with enhancements to six definitions for other conditions, including heart attack. A premium reduction where cancer is excluded has also been introduced. The plan is available with a choice of primary cover, which now covers 100 conditions and comprehensive cover, which spans 161 conditions.

Of the eight new conditions, a cancer condition and a connective tissue disease have been added to comprehensive cover only. Four new stroke and nervous system conditions, a cancer condition and a gastrointestinal condition are now covered by both comprehensive and primary cover options.

Looking at how this product is useful to IFAs and their clients, Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey says: “PruProtect’s plan is like no other in the market. It is considered a critical illness plan for the convenience of pigeon-holing, but is quite distinct in offering a different, tiered type of protection.”

However, Lakey adds that its Achilles heel is it’s complexity, because the conditions covered go beyond the typical advisers scope of understanding. “Many advisers struggle in comprehending the relevance of many of the current standard conditions, let alone new additions such as Guillain-Barré Syndrome or Pemphigus Vulgaris.”

Having said that, Lakey thinks it obvious that the plan is more likely to result in a claim than a standard critical illness plan. “The trade-off is that many conditions which would result in a 100 per cent payment with a standard plan will receive a lower percentage payment with PruProtect. Whether this is an acceptable balance is for individual advisers to determine.”

Lakey feels that adding lumpectomy and cancer in situ of the oesophagus to the plan is an excellent innovation. “Statistics suggest that there are twice as many lumpectomies as mastectomies,” he says.

Turning to the potential drawbacks of the plan Lakey says: “PruProtect offers such a wide-ranging coverage that there are numerous instances of overlap. This not only offers scope for confusion but also diminishes the plan because it can appear that 120 conditions have been stretched to seem 161. This is most notable with the kidney/renal conditions.

“It also means that the company has to be trusted to play fair with claims for conditions such as stroke where four degrees of seriousness decide on the percentage payout.”

Lakey adds that as with many other plans, complexity could easily be reduced by filleting the conditions, so that instead of eight different kidney conditions the plan has two or three. “Simplicity sells, not just to clients but also to advisers,” he says.

Discussing the main competition, Lakey says: “Advisers using PruProtect will likely be doing so on the basis of the plan’s comprehensiveness. Therefore, viable alternatives will be Axa, Bupa, Fortis and Legal & General.”

Summing up Lakey says: “Like other leading providers PruProtect now offers a discounted premium when cancer is an excluded condition. Other conditions have received an uplift where definitions have been widened and it is clear that PruProtect has committed to being an industry leader and innovator.”

BROKER RATINGS

Suitability to market: Good
Flexibility: Good

Cover provided: Good
Adviser remuneration: Good

Overall 9/10

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