Protection provider LV has increased the non-medical limits on its flexible income protection plan in a bid to “alleviate growing pressures on the NHS”.
The provider has increased the limits for paramedical screening reports and cotinine levels for clients up to age 41 and 47-51.
Additionally, LV has removed the requirement for automatic medical telephone interviews, which will not be replaced with additional evidence requirements.
It has also reduced GP report limits for clients between the ages of 57 and 60.
Debbie Kennedy, protection director at LV, said: “Through the pandemic, we’ve constantly reviewed our approach and practices and have made a number of positive changes for consumers, existing policyholders and advisers. The need to protect income has never been more relevant, so we must be more flexible in these turbulent times.
“With Covid-19 continuing to impact our everyday lives and place further strain on our NHS, we’re actively seeking to responsibly push the boundaries to make protection easier to access and apply for.”
Ms Kennedy added that she expected the change to the non-medical limits to increase the provider’s straight through acceptance rates for income protection, with more than 70 per cent of cases accepted without further evidence required.
But Adam Higgs, head of research at Protection Guru, said the “bigger problem” was the time it would take to obtain medical evidence for the circa 30 per cent of other cases.
He added that it was an issue the industry, and not just LV, needed to address.
Some protection advisers have previously reported delays in obtaining GP reports during the underwriting process, alongside a warning that clients could be left “financially exposed”.
Mr Higgs also said: “Understandably every resource should be directed at combating the pandemic, however the knock on effect of this is that obtaining medical evidence for the underwriting of protection plans will likely become even more difficult.
“As such the non-medical underwriting limits on plans will continue to be vitally important to advisers looking to get plans on risk quickly.”
LV’s Ms Kennedy previously told FTAdviser that a focus for providers in the new year had to be ensuring the flexibility adopted during lockdown is not lost.
She said that alternatives to traditional routes for seeking medical evidence should continue to be explored, and that it “really should be the last resort”.
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