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Lucy Brown: Children’s cover is a shining light for protection

Protection has always had a good degree of focus on providing peace of mind for families but more insurers are looking at ways of appealing from a practical point of view. Could this be the way forward in getting more people to engage?

Early focus on children’s cover under critical illness related to child-specific conditions. It developed further as insurers recognised more over-18s were remaining financially dependent or staying in full-time education.

Children’s cover needed a rethink and extending the age to which it runs makes sense. While some providers are yet to fully embrace this, many now provide cover from birth to age 21 and some, like AIG and Royal London, up to the 22nd birthday, ensuring the university years are covered too.

Vitality recently announced a new tie-up with Disney, which will be sure to engage the wider family. Good behaviours for nutrition, exercise and healthy habits will be encouraged by characters such as Moana or Mickey Mouse. A new Kids Zone should lead to yet more positive engagement, encouraging both young and old to get involved and be healthier. Not only is this a great message to send out but it is also a huge step forward from the days where a policy would be arranged and documents put in a drawer and forgotten unless a claim needed to be made.

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The day-to-day benefits and short-term incentives may also encourage parents who would not otherwise have cover to take some.

Additional benefits like LV’s GP services, available on any its products, provides access by phone or webcam to a doctor, private prescription services and a second medical opinion. In today’s fast- paced family life, this is a valuable and attractive benefit, saving time and providing convenience and reassurance in the event of any medical situation.

Aviva has taken a different approach, increasing the financial benefit paid. Its upgraded children’s critical illness has shifted away from calculating the benefit as a percentage of the adult’s cover. It now pays a flat sum regardless of the cover provided by the policy it is attached to.

This means parents on a budget can achieve a valuable level of children’s protection at £25,000 without having to pay for the minimum £50,000 of adult cover other providers would require. It has also doubled the payment for specific conditions, including cancer, to £50,000, offering an unmatched level of financial support for families at a very difficult time.

These improvements recognise the huge financial as well as emotional impact having a seriously ill child can have. It is bound to appeal strongly to those that can see how cover could help remove financial worries at a time when all their attention should be on their child.

These additional benefits of practical everyday use, that encourage people to be healthy and provide help to families, will only engage more people. Even if people do not think they need their own cover, they will surely empathise with a need for a financial back-up if their child is affected by serious illness. If this leads to more people being protected, long may this type of innovation continue.

Lucy Brown is head of protection at London & Country



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  1. Would be interesting to know what cost the Aviva children’s upgrade comes at. As an automatic feature in all CI policies, obviously there’s a cross-subsidy of child benefit from all CI holders, whilst only customers actually with children will be opting for the generous upgrade.

    Another budget child cover alternative is a stand-alone GI cover covering 15 core illnesses starting at about £4 a month to replace £1000 a month income. (Can go up to £5000 a month). A potential option for supplementing the child benefit coming as standard through a CI policy.

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