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How HSBC achieved gold in our 2022 critical illness ratings

How HSBC achieved gold in our 2022 critical illness ratings

We recently launched our Protection Guru 2022 product ratings. These ratings, which are based on the product features most selected by advisers across our research tools (e.g. SolutionBuilder Product Features Report) over the last 12 months, are designed to highlight product excellence and the quality of each insurers proposition. In the third in our series of insights focusing on specific insurers and how they achieved the ratings they did, today we look at HSBC.

HSBC entered the advised critical illness market a few years ago with their new Critical Illness and Critical Illness Plus products, providing advisers and their clients with different options to suit different budgets and needs. Alongside the core cover, clients also have access to a range of support services and additional benefits.

Critical Illness Cover

Our critical illness ratings are based on our independent panel of expert doctors assessment of the policy definition wordings and the likelihood of a claim being paid. Our doctors have given the HSBC Critical Illness Plus product a strong overall rating, with their children’s cover scoring particularly well (more details below).

Our critical illness benchmarking not only analyses the definition wordings, but also the amount paid for those conditions, factoring in any additional payments. This is a particular area of strength for the HSBC Critical Illness Plus product, with our analysis of the critical illness payout amounts achieving a gold medal overall.

Alongside all of the full payment conditions included, HSBC will also pay 50% of the sum-assured up to £50,000. This combination of a high monetary cap and high percentage of the main sum assured compares very well to the rest of the market, with HSBC Critical Illness Plus having one of the highest payout amounts for additional cover conditions.

 Children’s Critical Illness Cover

In terms of children’s cover, HSBC rated particularly highly for their Critical Illness Plus product, achieving a gold medal in our doctors analysis of the overall children’s cover and silver for their congenital conditions.

Critical Illness Plus stands out in its coverage of a number of high incidence children’s conditions. Their heart surgery definition is particularly good for younger children as it covers surgical repair of an atrial or ventricular septal defect. They also provide good coverage for Crohn’s disease, with their definition only requiring surgical intestinal resection to remove part of the small intestine or bowel. Other insurers require two internal resections.

For their full payment children’s cover conditions HSBC will pay 50% of the sum assured or £50,000 and for additional payment conditions 50% of the sum assured or £30,000. These pay out amounts are some of the highest in the market among insurers who link the children’s cover to the adult sum assured. (Critical Illness Core is slightly less at 50% or £25k and 25% or £25k)

Other benefits include a £100 per day children’s hospital benefit (only included on Critical Illness Plus) and a children’s bereavement assistance payment (of £10,000 for Critical Illness Plus and £5,000 for critical Illness Core).

(Click the medal to view the dedicated fact-sheets)

Every day  support benefits

Alongside their core cover, HSBC clients will also have access to a range of support services, to help them manage and maintain their health. These are provided in partnership with Square Health and are available through a digital platform.

HSBC includes access to a 24/7 virtual GP service, that both the client and their children can use. Appointments can be arranged via video conferencing or telephone through the app and includes a private prescription service.

A second medical opinion service is also provided, with access extended to the client and their spouse/partner and children. Again, the service can be used at any time, regardless of whether the client is claiming on their policy and they’ll be given a case manager, to handle the process and explain the outcomes.

Other benefits for Critical Illness Plus clients include mental health support, available via telephone or video conference calling with a qualified professional and up to 8 physiotherapy appointments per year.

Where did we score HSBC down?

Whilst the HSBC proposition is strong in many areas, advisers do need to be mindful of the differences between their Core and Plus critical illness products. Like many similar offerings on the market, the Plus product scores significantly higher than the Core product.

From an added value benefits point of view we would like to see HSBC include the same package of services across both critical illness products. At present Critical Illnes Plus clients have access to a wider range of support services compared to Core customers. Whilst we understand the need for there to be differences on the critical illness cover, keeping the support benefits the same is easier for advisers and their clients to understand. 


HSBC offer two critical illness solutions to cater for different client needs, with the Critical Illness Plus product scoring highly in our ratings and the Core product comparing favourably with that end of the market. Whilst there are areas we would like to see them improve, their children’s cover is particularly strong on the Plus product, as are the pay out amounts for additional cover conditions, providing some of the highest cover on the market.

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