How Guardian achieved gold across the board
Last week Protection Guru launched our 2021 product ratings. These ratings, which are based on the product features most selected by adviser users of our various benchmarking tools, are designed to highlight product excellence and comprehensiveness. In each of the benefit types we benchmarked, only the most comprehensive plans achieved a gold medal and over the next week we will highlight some of the providers that achieved excellence across a range of products and highlight why. Today we take a look at Guardian.
To anyone that is familiar with the Guardian proposition, the fact that they scored gold in every category of our ratings where they offer a product will probably be no surprise. They came into the protection market in 2018 with a clear aim to shake up the protection industry by challenging the norm and to this day this continues to be reflected in their products.
In terms of likelihood of a client being able to claim for a critical illness, the Guardian plan is the most comprehensive critical illness plan in the market. There are numerous conditions where only a definite diagnosis is required to claim which also simplifies their wordings.
When considering the amount that will be paid, for additional payment conditions Guardian will pay 25% of the sum assured up to £50,000. Whilst for sums assured of up to £100,000 this is actually on the low side, where the sum assured is in excess of £100,000 this becomes very competitive.
In terms of children’s cover, Guardian are particularly strong as where included, they can provide up to £100,000 worth of child cover up to age 23, which is as comprehensive as their adult coverage as well as providing £10k funeral cover.
For those that believe that all life policies are equal, Guardian provide several features to disprove this. Perhaps the biggest argument against this is the way in which they cover Terminal Illness. Whilst all other insurers will pay the full sum assured if the client is given a prognosis of less than 12 months to live, Guardian extend this further. Guardian will also provide a full payment if the client is diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson Plus Syndrome or Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. This considerably extends the terminal illness coverage compared to any other pan in the market.
In addition, all Guardian plans automatically include waiver of premium on a 1 month deferred basis at no additional cost. Again unlike other plans in the market, Guardian’s waiver of premium goes beyond the normal by also enabling clients to waive their premium for up to six months after the birth of a child or if they lose their job.
Where cover is in place to protect a mortgage, Guardian are one of only two insurers to offer a mortgage Guarantee as a posed to a specific interest rate option. Where as most plans will ask the adviser to select an interest rate that should be applied to the plan, Guardian’s mortgage guarantee takes a different approach by guaranteeing to repay the value of the mortgage at point of claim as long as the amount and term is the same as when the policy started and it isn’t in arrears at the time of claim.
Added Value Benefits
Guardian provide a range of added services to clients which include virtual GP services, mental health support and a Second Medical Opinion Service. Both the virtual GP service and Mental Health Support are available to the life assured, their spouse/partner/civil partner and children with the second medical opinion service only available to the life assured and children is children’s cover is included.
Where did we score Guardian down?
Whilst the Guardian proposition is strong in many areas compared to the market, there are a couple of areas where their ratings could be improved further.
From a critical illness perspective their coverage of congenital conditions has fallen behind others resulting in them only scoring a silver. Their child survival period of 14 days is longer than some others who offer a zero day or 10 day survival period and this impacts their scores considerably. Also whilst the higher incidence conditions are covered, Guardian do not cover some of the lesser incidence conditions.
From an added value benefits point of view, more preventative and day to day services are becoming more popular and this is an area where Guardian could offer more. In recent years we have seen more insurers offer health checks to clients in a variety of ways and currently Guardian do not offer anything like this.
Whilst these are areas where Guardian could improve their proposition further overall their plans are extremely competitive in terms of coverage and the range and depth of features that are offered. Protection Guru’s ratings are not based on meeting certain requirements but rather how the different plans in the market benchmark against their peers. As such achieving gold in every area highlights the strength of the Guardian proposition.