Protection challenger Guardian is set to launch a combined life and critical illness cover to add to its stand-alone life and critical illness products.
This new combined offer gives people access to protection with a single payout. A claim can be made in the event of the policyholder’s death or diagnosis of a critical or terminal illness, whatever comes first.
Katya MacLean, Guardian interim chief executive, said: “A big part of Guardian’s journey to date has been based on listening.
“So, we’re really pleased, just over a year since launch, to be introducing a new type of cover requested by our mortgage partners.
“Being a Guardian policy, our combined cover benefits from the quality we’ve become renowned for – simple definitions, many of which pay out on the word of a UK consultant; cover upgrade; our dual life approach; and the ability to add children’s critical illness cover.
“But because it pays out just once, we’re able to offer it more competitively than the stand-alone options which have the possibility of multiple payouts.”
Ian McKenna, director F&TRC and founder of Protection Guru, said: “It’s good to see Guardian is listening to and acting on adviser feedback.
“Guardian is making changes – enhancements where possible, but also some standardisation, as they test the market’s appetite for innovations and try to find the right balance between quality and price.
“By offering a wider range of options they are providing advisers with more choice and flexibility at the high-quality end of the market.
“They are still leading the way when it comes to quality and Guardian’s stand-alone life and critical illness cover represents excellent coverage for people looking to protect their lifestyle and maintain flexibility for the future.
“However, for some clients, a single payment to protect their mortgage is enough to give them peace of mind.
“With the changes announced today, Guardian’s expanded portfolio of products allows more advisers to meet their clients’ family and mortgage protection needs.”
Guardian will also make changes to its children critical illness range.
It will extend the age range to all children up to age 23, regardless of full-time education status.
The indexation cap that restricted the sum assured to a maximum of £100,000 will be removed and the blindness definition improved.
This will also apply to existing customers.
The company will bring some definitions, such as benign brain tumour and Dementia including Alzheimer’s, in line with the market standard.
Alan Lakey, director, CI Expert, said: “Guardian’s restructuring shows a number of positive changes. The most compelling being the removal of the active surveillance/watchful waiting exclusion for low grade prostate cancer.
“Also valuable is the intensive care eligibility change to 7 days from the previous 10. The cardiomyopathy definition has also been widened.
“The removal of the restriction that children needed to be in full time education is also a welcome move that we have advocated across the industry.
“The various improvements are balanced by the change to the benign brain tumour definition which no longer pays on diagnosis but on undergoing some form of treatment. Also Type 1 diabetes has been changed from 100% to additional payment status.
“However, most newsworthy is the fact that all these improvements will be made available to Guardian’s existing customers, as this is the first time that Guardian’s cover upgrade has ever been applied.
“Cover upgrade is one of Guardian’s real USPs and I strongly believe it will enhance consumer confidence and help repair the reputation of the industry.”