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Product matters: Royal approval

Not long ago, many feared that the end was nigh for guaranteed-rate critical-illness insurance. However, in a dramatic turn of events, we now have very healthy provider support for this valuable product and Royal Liver is set to join this A list on October 23.

This addition to its Progress product sees not only the introduction of guaranteed premiums for CI but, interestingly, it will also remove reviewable premiums altogether.

Importantly, Royal Liver is also adopting the new ABI CI definitions, well in advance of both the April 2007 deadline and its competitors, and it is important that advisers understand these changes.

The new definitions overall represent a tightening of some definitions, including heart attack, cancer and stroke, as less severe examples are now excluded. However, some other definitions will become easier to claim for and we also see the introduction of new standards covering traumatic head injury, Alzheimer’s and HIV infection.

All this comes in a package that allows a mix of level, decreasing and family income benefit for life and critical illness as well as income protection.

It also allows flexibility to change benefits as client needs change. It is disappointing that providers and portals have not invested sufficiently to handle comparative menu plan quotes properly, leaving advisers unable to easily exploit this flexibility.

Royal Liver is also trying to lead the way with its process and underwriting philosophy.

With no automatic GPR limits and an emphasis on tele-underwriting rather than traditional medical evidence, consumers are promised faster turn-round times and a pragmatic approach to underwriting.

Jason King is director of Torquil Clark Life Insurance

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