Scottish Widows widens cover on critical illness product

Scottish Widows widens cover on critical illness product

Scottish Widows has widened the cover on its critical illness Protect product, simplifying its conditions covered and expanding the scope for a claim.

Scottish Widows introduced wholesale design changes to the critical illness element of its Protect product which is marketed exclusively via intermediaries, rationalising the various conditions and introducing headings under which numerous similar or linked conditions are covered.

Although Scottish Widows Protect now appears to offer 39 conditions and 5 child specific conditions, analysis of the sub-categories shows that in reality they include 59 conditions as well as five child-specific conditions, in addition to total permanent disability.

The level for additional payment conditions has been raised to the lower of £30,000 or 25 per cent of the sum insured. Children’s cover has been improved to the lower of £30,000 or 50 per cent of the parent’s insurance, and the child death benefit increased to £10,000.

Also introduced were booster payments of an extra 50 per cent (max £200,000) for a host of conditions, including dementia, motor neurone disease and Parkinson's disease, if diagnosed before age 45.

Seven conditions, including cardiac arrest, open-heart surgery and benign brain/spinal tumour will benefit from an advanced payment once on the UK waiting list. 

HIV/Aids has been removed from the roster of conditions.


Heart & Vascular Surgeries of Major Severity

100% Condition

This heading incorporates the following six conditions;

  • Artery Graft Surgery
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Coronary Artery By-pass Surgery
  • Heart Valve Replacement or Repair
  • Pulmonary Artery Surgery
  • Open Heart Surgery (Structural Heart Surgery)

Benign Tumour of Brain or Spinal Cord

100% condition

This heading includes the following two conditions;

  • Benign Brain Tumour
  • Benign Spinal Cord Tumour

Neurological Deficit caused by 

Specified Conditions

100% Condition

This heading embraces the following four conditions;

  • Bacterial Meningitis
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)
  • Encephalitis
  • Devic’s Disease (Neuromyelitis Optica) 

Stroke of Brain or Spinal Stroke

100% Condition

This heading incorporates the following two conditions;

  • Stroke
  • Spinal Stroke

Brain Injury due to Trauma or 

Reduced Oxygen Supply

100% Condition

This heading includes the following two conditions;

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Hypoxia or Anoxia

Cerebral Brain or Spinal Aneurysm or 

Arteriovenous Malformation

Additional payment condition

This additional payment condition includes these two conditions;

  • Cerebral or Spinal Aneurysm
  • Cerebral or Spinal Arteriovenous Malformation

Heart & Vascular Surgeries of Specified


Additional payment condition

This heading embraces the following five conditions;

  • Coronary Angioplasty
  • Endovascular Repair of Aortic Aneurysm
  • Permanent Pacemaker Insertion
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease - requiring by-pass surgery to leg
  • Carotid Artery Stenosis treated by endarterectomy or angioplasty


Heart Failure

Paid if a definite diagnosis, permanent ejection fraction below 39% and classification as NYHA 3.

Gastro-intestinal Stromal Tumour (GIST) 

Paid if treated by surgery.

Neuroendocrine Tumours (NET)

Paid if treated by surgery.

Infective Bacterial Endocarditis

Paid if a definite diagnosis. 

Adviser verdict

Alan Lakey, founder of CI Expert, said: "For years we have been urging insurers to reduce the numbers of conditions by incorporating linked or similar conditions under one heading. The logic being that lists of conditions, many of which consumers have never encountered or heard of, serve to confuse and dilute the message that the plan is of value.

"The changes announced by Scottish Widows for its Protect range go some way towards achieving this - reducing numbers whilst widening the coverage.

"No doubt this will spark a trend and sooner or later an insurer will introduce an outcome-based plan which will include disabling conditions that have never been specifically named yet produce similar outcomes to named conditions."