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UnumProvident claims breakthrough with three-tier critical cover product

UnumProvident is looking to shake up the critical-illness cover market with an individual product which it claims could slash premiums by as much as 50 per cent.

Elixia 123 has three tiers – life-threatening, disabling and traumatic – with premiums varying depending on the level of cover required.

Policyholders can split the sum insured between the tiers so they can make a claim and then make a future claim for the remaining sum.

Unum says it has developed the plan because there is growing concern that policyholders are increasingly making claims for illnesses which are relatively low-risk and from which they often soon recover.

A heart attack used to mean likely death or incapacity but now many sufferers can be back at work in two weeks.

Product providers say this means they are paying out on cases that the products were not designed for and premiums are increased as a result.

UnumProvident marketing director Eugene McCormack says: “We believe Elixia 123 is the most significant breakthrough in protection insurance since the introduction of CI cover in the 1980s. It will enable us to bring the benefits of this critical protection to a previously unreachable market, its affordable premiums put it within the reach of many more customers.”

IFA John Joseph Financial Services managing director John Joseph says: “It is a very innovative product. Within months, you will see some of the other providers losing market share to Unum and they will start to redesign their own products.”

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