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Has critical-illness cover got a terminal illness?

Having spent a day attending a seminar by a product provider, I am tempted to ask if critical-illness protection has acquired a terminal illness.

It has been a few years since serious or critical-illness protection was introduced into this country and we should feel proud of an industry that devised such a brilliant protection plan.

I am of the opinion that it was one of the best types of insurance policies that was ever created and that such a plan should be considered by everyone.

I have taken the view that the high-quality companies involved in the critical-illness protection market are genuinely looking for reasons to pay claims, and not not to pay.

It was therefore with deep concern that I listened to a presentation that is surely going to have severe consequences for those involved in the serious illness insurance market.

Suddenly, a heart attack is not a claimable event. What?

Was it a silent heart attack, a painful heart attack or was it terminal or just a heart attack?

Prostate cancer is suddenly not necessarily a claimable event. Oh, it may be serious and it may not be serious and we will judge the degree of seriousness by asking our consultant to give it a rating. If we judge it to be serious then we will recognise the claim. Oh please!

Having put together a product that the industry could review with pride, the providers are once again looking for escape hatches that will unquestionably mean more problems for the adviser who in good faith has tried to offer his client the right protection plan.

These cut-price products are designed to confuse and abuse the system and should be outlawed.

Under the new plans, clients will no longer have the peace of mind that they have a protection policy of quality and excellence.

We should be proud of the high-quality products that are currently available and the providers should treat the adviser and the public with greater respect than devising these potentially damaging products that will promote chaos and confusion.

I urge the providers to think long and hard before they promote these potentially damaging plans that are likely to bring further turmoil to our industry.

John Stillitz

Colom Warner Financial Services,London

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