Friends Life enhances critical illness product

Steve Payne, managing director of protection for the provider, said the changes were based on extensive research among Friends Life’s customer base.

He said as a result of working out “what our customers want”, Friends Life was adding significant visual loss conditions and enhancements to both stroke and child cover definitions.

For the Childcover benefit, this will now cover not only hydrocephalus but also cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy.

Article continues after advert

The cover has been extended to protect customers even if the condition is diagnosed during pregnancy, as long as the policy was in force prior to diagnosis.

There is also a child’s funeral benefit available.

There are changes to the definition of stroke so that, where there is clear medical evidence, claims for stroke are paid more quickly without relying on the need to demonstrate permanent neurological deficit.

Mr Payne said: “Stroke is the fourth-most claimed for condition. Last year we paid out just under £5m for stroke claims. So you can see the importance of extending cover.”

The additional condition of Significant Visual Loss offering a partial payout up to £25,000 for permanent and irreversible deterioration of sight.

Mr Payne added: “We don’t aim to have the most conditions as we want to provide cover that will make the most difference to our customers’ lives. We will fill those gaps where evidence suggests this is what people want.”