Type: Individual critical illness plan available only with Aviva mortgage life insurance or term assurance plans
Minimum premium/cover: £5 a month, £50 a year/no minimum
Minimum-maximum ages: 16-75 with mortgage life insurance, 16-75 for guaranteed rates with term assurance, 16-90 for reviewable rates with term assurance
Minimum term: One year for guaranteed rates with term assurance, three years for guaranteed rates with mortgage life insurance, six years for reviewable rates
Maximum cover: £2m
Conditions covered: Blindness, cancer, deafness, kidney failure, loss of speech, major organ transplant, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, paralysis of limbs, stroke, terminal illness, traumatic head injury, CJD, total & permanent disability, coronary artery bypass grafts, loss of hands or feet, Aplastic anaemia, cardiomyopathy, encephalitis, liver failure, progressive supranuclear palsy, bacterial meningitis, aorta graft surgery, benign brain tumour, coma, heart attack, loss of independence, HIV infection, third degree burns, heart valve replacement or repair, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, pre-senile dementia
Options: Available through Aviva Mortgage Life Insurance on an integrated basis where cover decreases in line with the MLI sum assured and/or independent basis where cover is level throughout the term, available through term assurance product on integrated basis only, choice of guaranteed or reviewable rates, free children’s cover up to £20,000 for all conditions except total & permanent disability, premium protection option
Commission: Dependent on individual quote
Tel: 01904 688376
Aviva has revamped its critical illness cover by making a number of improvements and withdrawing its standalone policy. Cover can now only be accessed through the company’s mortgage life insurance and term assurance products. Under the revamp, Aviva has increased the maximum sum assured to £2m from £500k to £2m, raised the maximum term to 40 years from 25 years and increased the maximum age to 75 so that cover can be taken out for the duration of a client’s mortgage.
Five new conditions have been added which bring the number of conditions up to 31 and the definitions of 11 conditions that it previously covered have been improved. Free children’s cover has been doubled to £20,000 or 50 per cent of the sum assured, whichever is lower.
Offering his thoughts on the changes, Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey says: “I have been critical of Aviva in the past for a poor critical illness product which was marketed on price as opposed to quality. The recent revamp has altered this position as its plan has now cruised up the quality table.”
He says that the improvements are not a result of the new conditions which have been added, because aplastic anaemia and encephalitis, for example, are not likely to result in increased claims. “The major improvements are due to many existing definitions being updated, such as Alzheimer’s disease claims no longer being limited to those below age 60 and aorta graft no longer excluding traumatic injury to the aorta.” The changes mean that a heart attack no longer requires typical clinical symptoms and heart valve repairs no longer insist on a sternotomy. “Coma, third degree burns and permanent & total disability have also been upgraded. Additionally, the cover for children ceiling has risen from £10,000 to £20,000.” says Lakey.
Discussing aspects of the plan that he does not like, Lakey says: “Aviva states that it will not add conditions that are already covered by existing definitions, a view that I applaud. Nonetheless, it has added liver failure which is caught under the existing major organ transplant terminology.”
Identifying providers which could provide the main competition, Lakey says: “Fortis and Bupa stand out by dint of the breadth of their coverage while Bright Grey, Scottish Provident and Legal & General also offer worthwhile alternatives. As always, the question is answered by the perception of value.”
Summing up Lakey says : “For too long Aviva has given the impression of a company willing to rely on name awareness and price. These design improvements signal a determination to compete on quality as well and will certainly increase Aviva’s market share.
Suitability to market: Good
Premium rates: Good
Adviser remuneration: Good