LV has introduced five features to its income protection product, including parent and child cover and a mortgage payment facility that accommodates the recent means testing clarification from the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP).
Following the DWP’s clarification earlier this year that income protection payouts specifically intended to cover mortgage repayments will not be considered when assessing means-tested benefit entitlement, LV introduced a ‘pay my mortgage’ facility to its product offering.
The addition will allow a customer’s income protection claim to be paid directly to their lender to cover mortgage payments, depending on individual circumstances at the time of claiming, meaning it will not affect their entitlement to benefits.
The insurer has also launched parent and child cover as part of its income protection range, which will offer a lump sum payment to a parent who needs to care for a child diagnosed with a specific illness or who needs medical help.
The parent and child provides a tax-free lump sum equivalent to six times the amount of monthly income protection if an eligible child is diagnosed with one of 54 critical illness conditions.
Alan Lakey, director at CIExpert, said LV was considered the market leader for income protection and had made great efforts with this product in recent years.
He said: "Not content to sit on their laurels they have now added parent and child cover to their plans at no additional cost.
"Interestingly, this will be paid in addition to any child claim made on one of their critical illness plans.
"In summation, LV has yet again enhanced its plans and this highlights yet again how plan selection is not simply predicated on cost but on the overall worth of the plan including allied benefits."
As part of the latest changes, LV has widened its rehab support, now available to customers as soon as they are unable to work, and extended its NHS sick pay guarantee to include dentists. It also removed the requirement for medical staff to be directly employed by the NHS.
The insurer has also introduced automatic review periods for exclusions that customers may have on their income protection policy, proposing the exclusion will be removed after the review period if the customer has had no further symptoms.
Chris McNab, head of protection at LV, said he feels income protection can often be overlooked by people who do not see the benefit of taking it out.
He said: "It is therefore essential that we demonstrate the value of income protection and that our policies reflect the true experience of people who need to take time off work.
"In particular, we are really proud to be introducing parent and child cover, which is unique to the market and provides parents with peace of mind at a time when it is needed most."
Jeff Woods, campaigns and propositions director at Sesame Bankhall Group, said anything that encourages more people to protect their income is always welcome.