New Aviva CI customers will be able to receive partial payments for two early forms of cancer: low grade prostate cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ, an early form of breast cancer. For these conditions, claimants will receive a lump sum of up to £20,000.
For both conditions Aviva covers all forms of recognised surgical treatments. This is particularly important for breast cancer patients, given that many critical illness policies only cover mastectomy. A third of breast cancer cases are treated by a mastectomy, compared to two thirds treated by lumpectomy, which underlines the importance of covering several types of treatment.
The partial payments are also an additional benefit, separate to the main policy. This means that critical illness cover will continue to be in place, should the customer need to make a further claim in the future.
In addition, Aviva has made enhancements to a number of conditions, taking them beyond the standard ABI guidelines to assume an ‘ABI plus’ status. This provides more comprehensive cover for customers, meaning that more people may be able to claim – and in some cases bring forward a claim more quickly – under the new definitions. Aviva now offers 12 ABI plus conditions under its critical illness cover.
As part of this, Aviva is making Multiple Sclerosis an ABI plus condition. The standard ABI definition requires six months of continuous symptoms to be presented after a definite diagnosis, before a claim is paid. Aviva has now reduced this to three months so that customers can benefit more quickly.
Robert Morrison, chief underwriter for Aviva, said: “These enhancements are great news for customers who can now benefit from more comprehensive cover. Cancer treatments can take a huge emotional and physical toll, so this extra financial support is there to provide peace of mind so patients can concentrate on getting well.
“We wanted to be sure that any additions and changes to our CI policies would offer real benefits to our customers. Unfortunately one in three people in the UK get cancer: breast cancer is the most common form for women, while prostate cancer is the most prevalent for men, so we believe these enhancements could make a genuine difference to a great many people.”
Aviva paid £62 million to its critical illness customers during the first six months of 2011, a 21% hike on the same period last year. In total, 755 people received CI payments between January and June 2011, averaging £81,000 each.
During the first six months of the year 92.5% of critical illness claims were paid, bringing the last 12 months’ claims paid percentage to 94.3%. In 2010 Aviva paid the highest proportion of CI claims across the industry.
Aviva research has found that financial support can aid cancer patients in a number of ways:
- Providing peace of mind to aid physical and emotional recovery.
- Giving people the chance to take time off work to recover / adapt to lifestyle changes.
- Relieving the stress caused by juggling work and illness / treatment side effects.
- Covering new expenses such as childcare and support around the home.