At the end of a year when the critical illness market has made huge strides towards more comprehensive coverage for clients, Royal London have today introduced new updates to their plan. Recognising that moves by other insurers have seen many overtake them, the new updates look to provide broader definitions but how do these changes stack up compared to the rest of the market?

Today’s upgrade to the Royal London critical illness proposition includes nine new and eight amended adult definitions plus the addition of a new child condition. On the face of it these are not wholesale changes like others have made, however the new and upgraded definitions are all based on high incidence conditions and as such provide far greater chances of claiming for clients.

Big improvements for male clients

For male clients, Royal London’s Low-Grade Prostate Cancer definition has had a massive improvement through the removal of any requirement for treatment. With the exception of Vitality all other insurers require either the complete removal of the prostate or external beam or interstitial implant radiotherapy to be carried out. Removing these requirements makes the Royal London definition far stronger as our panel of doctors explain:

“Due to the increased use of prostate screening, including PSA (a protein produced by the prostate gland) testing, many prostate cancers are being diagnosed in the earliest stages of this disease. As these cancers often grow very slowly, many are treated through observation alone. Royal London now provides coverage for these early cancers, even when treatment is not required. Except for Vitality, this sets them apart from all others in this area.”

A welcome addition for females

From the female point of view, a weakness of the Royal London critical illness proposition until now has been the lack of coverage for Ovarian Tumours of borderline malignancy. The new enhancements see the welcome addition of a definition for this condition. Whilst (like all other insurers) this requires the surgical removal of an ovary, their definition meets the same standard as the rest of the industry.

Other enhancements

It is noticeable that particular attention has been paid to coronary conditions with a number of conditions either added or enhanced. These include Cardiomyopathy (enhanced), peripheral vascular disease (added), Pulmonary artery graft surgery (enhanced), structural heart surgery (enhanced), aortic aneurysm – with endovascular repair (added) and coronary angioplasty (enhanced). Of particular note is the addition of a heart failure definition which has particularly high incidence in the over 55’s.

Royal London’s Multiple Sclerosis (which has high incidence in younger ages, especially for females) definition has been simplified and now only requires “clinical impairment of motor or sensory function caused by multiple sclerosis”.

Overall the changes made are resoundingly positive and as can be seen from our analysis below, have improved Royal London’s standings in the market.

This analysis shows who is most likely to pay a claim based on our medical panels assessment of insurers definitions combined with age-banded incidence data. The age-banded incidence data along with the gender, age and term of the plan enables us to weight each condition based on how likely someone is to suffer from it. Therefore, those conditions that a consumer is more likely to suffer from have a far greater impact on the overall score than conditions that are rarer. This example is based on a male, 35- year old taking out a 25-year policy.

This analysis shows who is most likely to pay a claim  based on our medical panels assessment of insurers definitions combined with age-banded incidence data. The age-banded incidence data along with the gender, age and term of the plan enables us to weight each condition based on how likely someone is to suffer from it. Therefore, those conditions that a consumer is more likely to suffer from have a far greater impact on the overall score than conditions that are rarer. This example is based on a female35- year old taking out a 25-year policy.

The critical illness market has become fiercely competitive over the last year. With the exception of Canada Life, LV= and Scottish Widows all insurers have made enhancements to their propositions during the period. Royal London’s latest enhancements are particularly strong for male clients, but have also improved their standing for females and given their excellent added value benefits proposition, they have a compelling offering. 2018 has been the year of critical illness enhancements and I for one am excited to see what 2019 will bring.

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