The main changes relate to heart attack, benign brain tumour, third degree burns and children’s cover. Friends are already considered one of the leading critical illness providers and this cements their reputation as one of the insurers looking to compete not on price but on quality.
These alterations continue the trend of insurers looking to enhance the scope of cover in a meaningful fashion.
Amended Condition Wordings
Benign Brain Tumour
Cover has been extended to encompass treatment by stereotactic radiosurgery or chemotherapy treatment. Radiosurgery is sometimes used when the tumour cannot be fully removed by surgery chemotherapy is less widely used. There are also additional exclusions – cholesteatomas (a cyst within the ear) and tumours originating from bone tissue.
The claim requirement no longer includes a specified rise in the level of Troponins – simply a characteristic rise. This will increase the number of successful claims, or more correctly, reduce the number of claims currently declined for failing to evidence the necessary Troponin level.
Motor Neurone Disease
There are four primary MNDs and Friends now specifically names these – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Primary Lateral Sclerosis, Progressive Bulbar Palsy and Progressive Muscular Atrophy. This is more a clarification than an alteration.
There are different forms of MS and these produce different symptoms which persist or recur over different time periods. The previous wording insisted on symptoms persisting for a continuous period of 3 months. The revised definition additionally encompasses those clients who suffer two or more attacks of impaired sensory or motor function without a specified timeframe.
Claim requirements no longer insist on postural instability, a symptom that is not always or continually present. The wording also clarifies that Parkinsonian Syndromes and forms of Parkinsonism are excluded.
There is an added exclusion for death of tissue of the optic nerve or retina/eye stroke. Again, this is more a clarification than an alteration.
Third Degree Burns
The definition has been extended from 30% of the face to 20% of the face. This brings Friends into line with Ageas, Aviva, Beagle Street and Legal & General.
Friends already offers the widest children’s cover available and has added to this by now specifically including Spina Bifida, although there is an overlap with hydrocephalus which restricts the scope of the additional cover.