Old Mutual Wealth has made substantial improvements to its critical illness (CI) plan after five years, Alan Lakey founder of CI Expert, has stated.
Mr Lakey said Old Mutual Wealth had gradually "slid down the table" in terms of what its plan covered in relation to its competitors, because it had not updated its policy significantly over the course of five years.
However, he hailed Old Mutual Wealth for becoming "another major insurer to refresh its CI plan" after making a series of upgrades.
Nearly 80 enhancements have been made, including a total of 49 conditions where there will be 100 per cent payment, as well as 28 additional payment conditions at £25,000 or 25 per cent of the sum.
Greater attention is also being paid to children, who are now are insured for all adult conditions plus eight new child specific conditions.
Mr Lakey said: “We are pleased to see Old Mutual Wealth ensuring that children are now insured for the whole range of full and additional payment conditions. This again reduces potential confusion. Early stage cancers are now comprehensively covered whereby any in situ cancer undergoing surgery will qualify.”
However, he also warned: “While paying claims and providing extra funds for especially needy cases is commendable the level of complexity is such that many clients and advisers will fail to understand or react to the benefit."
Other improvements by Old Mutual Wealth include the addition of outcome-based mental illness cover, and in situ cancer undergoing surgery will now also be comprehensibly covered by the plan.
This comes with Old Mutual Wealth's decision to defer the revised ABI cancer model wording, which excludes stage one thyroid tumours.
This also comes with the introduction of an additional care benefit.
If a policyholder is diagnosed with a 100 per cent condition and meets additional criteria, OMW will make a further £50,000 payment for any extra care. This provides extra security for sufferers of long-term illness.
Paul Roberts, head of protection at Old Mutual Wealth, said: "Over the past year we have assessed our customer feedback and claims experiences to better understand how we can improve our products.
"We have then designed our upgrade to not only provide cover for a wide-ranging set of illnesses but so that it also provides additional financial support for longer-term illnesses, children’s cover and options to reinstate cover after a claim.”
Adam Higgs, head of adviser services research at F&TRC, said it was great to see innovation, especially when it makes protection easier to purchase.
He said: "The addition of 'first time cover' where any child covered under the plan can take out their own policy, underwriting free within six months of their 22nd birthday is extremely welcome. This could be a great initiative to help the younger generation become more involved in protection."