A week of critical illness product updates
Undoubtedly the big news for many last week will have been Friday’s ‘fiscal event’, which brought with it a raft of tax cuts and other measures to try to stimulate the economy and drive growth. Against the backdrop of an ongoing cost of living crisis and stagnant economy, it’s clear something had to be done, but whether the Chancellors gamble pays off will remain to be seen.
For the protection industry, the issue of rising living costs and a economy potentially heading into recession pose a particular challenge, though for many people the need for insurance has arguably never been more acute. The financial resilience of many will continue to be tested over the months ahead and its essential we all continue to work towards ensuring more individuals and households are adequately protected.
Amongst the cuts announced is the scrapping of the Health and Social Care Levy, which once again raises the issue of how to adequately fund social care, a growing problem no government has seemed capable of properly addressing. This is one area where the protection industry could do more to offer a potential solution through product innovation, though it’s unlikely we’ll see anything soon.
Ensuring the industry offers suitable products for consumer needs is clearly a way we can grow the market and it’s been pleasing to see a raft of product developments announced over the last couple of weeks.
Critical illness was arguably the focus last week, with the ABI’s much anticipated update to it’s ‘Guide to Minimum Standards’ finally published on Tuesday. Protection Guru’s Head of Research Adam Higgs provided his expert review of the updates, with input from the panel of doctors we work with to benchmark critical illness plans.
Earlier on Tuesday AIG also announced some updates to their critical illness cover, this time children’s cover and the introduction of a new ‘core’ option, providing stripped back cover at a lower price point. More choice is always welcome and given the budget constraints many clients will face, offering a lower cost alternative with slightly less cover is no bad thing.
Hot on the heels of the ABI’s Tuesday announcement, on Wednesday Aviva were the first insurer to unveil product changes directly influenced by the updates. Once again Adam and our doctors provided their expert analysis.
As well as changes to their critical illness cover, Aviva also unveiled two new cancer support benefits as part of their DigiCare+ proposition. Our insight on Thursday provided a full overview of the changes, as well as broader information on the DigiCare+ package of benefits. I’d encourage advisers to read this and familiarize themselves with the service, which could be a great way of re-engaging with clients to ensure they’re getting the most value out of their cover.
Finally, we finished the week on Friday with the second of our follow-up insights from the recent September Protection Forum, this time focusing on adviser and consumer priorities when selecting protection products.
As ever, we hope our readers find the content useful and wish you a successful week!