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Critical barrage for Big V plan

Advisers have criticised Virgin Money’s cancer-only protection product, The Big V, for being more expensive and having less coverage than many critical-illness policies.

There are concerns that clients could switch out of CI cover or life policies and be worse off. The product is administered by Scottish Widows and features three stages of cancer cover – early, intermediate and advanced – and will be sold directly online and by phone. It pays out 10, 25 or 100 per cent of sum assured respectively.

Widows protection marketing manager Nick Kirwan says: “This is not a critical-illness policy. This is a simple, straightforward product that will appeal to younger people who might not have any protection.”

One industry underwriter, after looking at Virgin’s stage three cancer definition, estimates a 30 per cent survival rate of more than 12 months from diagnosis, so 70 per cent of claimants would have qualified for full payment from life cover.

Premiums on 100,000 of life and CI cover, 25 per cent CI, comparable with Virgin’s stage two payout, and 75 per cent life, comparable with its stage three payout terms, came in as low as 17.39 a month with Scottish Equitable, compared with Virgin’s 23.06 a month.

CBK Colchester principal Peter Chadborn says: “When you pull this product apart, there are many flaws. Depending on how it is mark- eted, there is a risk that con- sumers will buy this thinking they are buying CI.”


Crystal clear

Before I conclude my recent series of articles looking at expected returns from the main asset classes, I would like to develop a little further the projections for equities on which my last article mostly concentrated.

Hornby set to get HBOS back on track

Andy Hornby’s move to the HBOS hot seat is expected to stem the flow of high-profile departures. Chief operating officer Hornby takes over as chief executive on July 31 replacing current incumbent James Crosby and it is hoped that he can inject some exuberance into the role. HBOS has been rocked over recent months by […]

Regulator focuses on release priorities

The FSA has identified key areas in a bid to improve the quality of equity-release advice. It will carry out mystery shopping this spring, assist firms to meet regulatory requirements and review lifetime mortgage and investment advice.

CII plans to shut its DB plan due to 8m deficit

The Chartered Insurance Institute is set to close its final-salary pension scheme to existing members after calculating its scheme has an 8m deficit. The move follows FTSE 100 firm Rentokil closing its final-salary scheme to existing members to curb its pension liabilities. The Co-operative is also switching its final-salary scheme to an average-salary system. The […]

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Guide: how to… audit your auto-enrolment scheme compliance

As the Pensions Regulator starts to bare its teeth and the changes mentioned in the Budget and Queen’s Speech start to come into force, it is essential that you understand your scheme and the processes you need to undertake to ensure it remains compliant. Our second re-enrolment guide looks at how to audit the key areas of your auto-enrolment scheme.


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