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Product matters

True innovation is a rarity in the staid world of health protection, with the vast majority of so-called new products being a rehash of existing underachieving plans.

However, with the launch of Real Life, a concept originating with whole of market adviser Lifesearch, Fortis can accurately lay claim to this accolade.

The concept is relatively simple. There are two separate pots within the product. One contains life insurance while the other provides limited critical-illness cover and income protection.

Cancer, stroke and heart attack are each included for 12 per cent of the life insurance sum. Income protection provides an annual income up to 12 per cent of the life insurance sum.

The origin of the concept centres on one of Tom Baigrie’s bugbears – that far more pure life insurance is bought and sold than critical-illness cover and income protec- tion which, statistically speaking, are far more likely to result in a claim.

Real Life lends itself to those situations where the need exists, yet cost is an issue.

Fortis has developed a robust online system, enabling a free-flowing underwriting process which seeks to reduce the reliance on general practitioner reports.

Nonetheless, Real Life should not be seen as a substitute for a comprehensive programme of protection cover.

One downside of this plan is the £250,000 life insurance limit which automatically restricts the three critical illnesses to £30,000 each. Another downside is the fact that a long-term claimant could discover his income ceasing after eight years and four months.

Nonetheless, we all know that this type of cover is woefully undersold and under-purchased and any dynamic concept which seeks to address this problem is welcome.

Alan Lakey is a partner at Highclere Financial Services

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