The protection market has seen dramatic changes over the last year with a plethora of insurers bringing to market product changes.
While most of these upgrades have focused on a particular product – usually critical illness – Zurich’s latest update was quite different as it delivered a massive overhaul of all product types coupled with a new and more flexible platform.
The biggest change is the ability to provide advisers with choice.
For both critical illness and income protection, Zurich now offers two options with a number of add-ons also available.
The “Core” products provide cost-effective solutions while the “Select” products are far more feature-rich.
For critical illness, Zurich made some significant improvements to its definitions particularly in the high incidence cardiovascular conditions.
Obvious efforts have been made to include some of the more common surgical procedures that are often not covered by other insurers, such as stent insertion for less invasive coronary artery surgery.
In total the Core product offers definitions for 40 conditions where the full sum assured will be paid and two additional conditions which will pay the lesser of 25 per cent of the sum assured and £25,000.
The Select product covers 51 full sum assured paying conditions and 48 additional conditions again, paying 25 per cent to £25,000.
Significantly, Zurich has also re-entered the income protection market.
Both the Core and Select products offer a choice between long-term income protection and short-term with the benefit payment period capped at two years.
Noticeably, Zurich is looking to compete with LV by targeting doctors and surgeons to whom they offer a larger minimum benefit guarantee of £3,000 per month – compared to £1,500 per month.
The Select product offers a number of additional benefits designed to pay if a client has a life-changing event.
These include a trauma benefit, family carer benefit, hospital stay benefit and funeral cover.
A unique feature, again primarily targeted at doctors and surgeons, has been added where they will pay six times the monthly benefit up to £50,000 if the client is accidentally infected with HIV, Hepatitis B or C.
Such product upgrades, along with a platform that offers the flexibility to switch between products and add or remove certain features to keep track with client needs, has resulted in a compelling proposition.
Zurich has taken what had become a tired product set and revitalised them to be a serious contender at all ends of the market.
Adam Higgs is head of research, adviser services at F&TRC