Legal & General has launched what some industry experts are dubbing a “completely unique” hybrid protection product.
The insurer has unveiled its private diagnostics benefit, which gives its core protection policyholders access - via an add-on - to UK specialists for serious illness consultations and diagnostic testing.
By paying an extra £4.50 per month, L&G’s customers can book these appointments through a portal provided by healthcare technology firm Trustedoctor and attend any one of 100 test centres.
The new product covers investigations for cancer, cardiac and neurological conditions. Test results are sent directly to a client’s specialist, who can then refer them back into the NHS or their private healthcare provider.
“For some time now, the line between private healthcare and protection has become slightly blurry and this new feature takes us a step closer to a full hybrid product,” Adam Higgs, Protection Guru’s research head, told FTAdviser.
“With longer than normal waits for examinations and tests on the NHS, having access to a service where such tests can be carried out privately in far less time is particularly valuable.”
Robert Harvey, a Protection Guru product specialist, called L&G’s private diagnostics “completely unique”, and agreed with Higgs’ “hybrid” analysis.
“For the first time we're seeing an insurer take a hybrid approach to protection, by combining an important and useful aspect of private health insurance, with traditional protection cover.”
In the terms and conditions, L&G notes that the costs of “invasive diagnostics tests” are not covered, and that the benefit covers children up to the age of 22.
The latest add-on, launched under L&G’s new ‘Umbrella Benefits’ package, is one of two optional protection benefits.
The other is fracture cover, which pays out up to £7,500 each year if policyholders sustain a specified break, fracture, rupture, tear or dislocation. This particular version covers 31 different injuries and “multiple” claims each year.
Unlike private diagnostics, fracture cover is a much more common product in the protection industry. "The more realistic protection products can be, the more people will relate to them," said Roy McLoughlin, associate director at Cavendish Ware Wealth Management.
"Most people will unfortunately experience a fracture at some point in their lives. [So] advisers will see this as a compelling reason for considering products that include fracture cover.
"Society is embarking on a new journey called wellness and insurers that help facilitate solutions to this are to be applauded.”
Both add-ons were developed “in response to increased demand for comprehensive and tailored core protection products,” according to Craig Brown, L&G’s intermediary insurance director.
This week also saw the Exeter innovate its protection product line, merging together two of its flagship products to create ‘Income First’.
As part of its product innovation, those of its members who change employment during the term of their policy and find their new probation periods restrict sick pay, can now receive claimed benefits before their waiting period finishes.