Aviva protection overhaul harks back to 1980s

Aviva protection overhaul harks back to 1980s

Aviva has overhauled their protection products for the adviser market, with insurance experts saying the new policies "revert to a 1980s template."

In April 2015 Aviva completed a take-over of Friends Life in a deal worth £5.6bn.

Until now Friends Life products and Aviva products have been sold separately but the company is now bringing protection policies together into one proposition.

Today (14 November) Aviva revealed how the absorption of Friends Life has resulted in a total redesign of its critical illness offerings.

According to Alan Lakey, founder of CIExpert, Aviva has reverted to the 1980’s template whereby a basic policy is available which can be upgraded to a more comprehensive version.

Aviva has effectively produced two critical illness plans – a basic plan aimed at those advisers and clients who primarily focus on cost and an upgraded version for those more concerned with higher quality.

Paul Brencher, managing director of individual protection at Aviva, said the new plans means Aviva can offer a range of solutions that will allow advisers to meet every customer’s needs and budget, backed up by the highest level of service and support.

Mr Brencher said: “We’ve taken time to listen and to ensure that the needs of our customers and our financial adviser community are at the heart of our new propositions.”

From today (14 November) the proposition will be available through the digital Aviva Life Protection Solutions platform.

This offers real-time application and tracking, online trusts, secure online policy documentation and high rates of straight-through underwriting.

The new products are Life Insurance Plus, Critical Illness Plus and Income Protection Plus, which all include optional benefits.

All clients taking out the new products will get access to Support Plus, a range of benefits including Second Opinion by Best Doctors, Bupa Anytime Healthline and counselling and carer support through Workplace Options.

The products also include optional extras such as Global Treatment by Best Doctors, which allows clients to be treated anywhere in the world.

Friends Life already had an exclusive deal with Best Doctors, which will be rolled over into the new Aviva products.

But Mr Lakey said while he welcomed innovation and Aviva’s upgraded plan offers a much wider range of coverage than most competing plans, "the requirement for simplicity has slipped through the net."

Mr Lakey said: "We believe that many advisers shy away from advising on critical illness because of the perceived complexity.

"The plan designs and anodyne product descriptions does nothing to combat this attitude, which is a shame."