Guardian has added and subtracted from its policy as part of the overhaul of its combined life and critical illness cover.
One deduction is the critical illness cover buyback option, which allowed for an individual to purchase further (albeit reduced) cover from Guardian after being diagnosed as critically ill and making a successful claim.
While its removal is unfortunate, its loss is offset by some of Guardian’s strengths in other areas.
Another deduction is reserved cover, whereby you could opt for some ‘headroom’ on top of the sum assured that the policyholder could increase their cover to within a certain timeframe after the policy went live.
While this could be seen as a limit to policy flexibility, the reality is that Guardian still retains guaranteed insurability options, where you can increase cover on major life events without providing further medical evidence, so again this should not detract from the policy too much.
For the additions, Guardian has added three new full payment conditions and upgraded many others. Moreover, these upgrades apply to existing policyholders as well as new policyholders.
Many of Guardian’s competitors ‘leave behind’ existing policyholders when upgrading their policies – something that has become a sort of arms race since the launch of Guardian’s high-quality definitions a couple of years ago – but that is not the case here.
All of Guardian’s policyholders will benefit from the new definitions and be able to claim based on them.
It prevents a multi-tier system within the insurer, where some clients would be eligible to claim for one condition in full and others would not be able to claim in full, if at all, if the condition was not previously included.
Guardian has also added accelerated life and critical illness cover to the policy, whereby a client can claim on the first instance of death or critical illness and the policy then ceases.
Previously, only additional cover was offered, so there would be two separate payouts if a client became critically ill and subsequently died.
While this is valuable, the reality is that one payout is usually sufficient, especially if being used to cover a mortgage.
The option for clients to opt for accelerated life and critical illness cover offers a reduced price point that makes Guardian more accessible in terms of its premiums.
In removing some useful benefits Guardian has offset this with the addition of some new definitions and improvements in other areas, while bringing down the cost to better align with the rest of the market.
Robert Harvey is head of protection advice at Drewberry