ProtectionFeb 9 2023

Vitality adds private healthcare to income protection policies

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Vitality adds private healthcare to income protection policies
Managing director of VitalityLife Justin Taurog, said the insurer has tried to simplify its products for advisers

Vitality has made a sweep of changes to its protection policies in an effort to further join up its insurance and health service arms of the business. 

Some 6,000 advisers have signed up to understand more about the product changes, according to managing director of VitalityLife Justin Taurog.

One of the changes will see eligible income protection claimants receive unlimited access to private healthcare treatment to support their rehabilitation and return to work.

People need something tangible when it comes to protection and not a piece of paper in a draw.Justin Taurog, Vitality

This can range from cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling, to treatment for cancer and muscular skeletal issues. 

Taurog said since the pandemic, mental health has shot up as a reason for claiming on income protection, which is why the insurer wants to better link its products to practical support to help people get back to work.

"We have the benefit of being in both the health and life market, so we can draw on both departments," said Taurog.

Depending on their Vitality status, which is determined by how active a claimant has been, income protection policyholders will also get a boost to their payments by up to 20 per cent over a six month period.

The idea behind Vitality is that if more customers engage earlier with their health, then there is less of a likelihood that they will fall sick and need to claim.

The insurer found last year that those customers who engaged with their policies - ie, were more active and used benefits like their smart watches - had a 39 per cent lower mortality risk compared to non-engaged members. The same customers also had a 29 per cent lower hospitalisation rate.

As well as revamping its income protection policies, Vitality has simplified its serious illness claims structure by splitting it into three categories. Taurog said before there were lots of different packaged options which were too complicated for advisers.

The level of cover available now ranges from one to three times the sum assured, with the most basic product covering 114 conditions - more than any other insurer, according to Taurog.

Vitality has also given children with serious illness cover access to its benefits programme, which includes perks such as a free Garmin or Apple watch, free cinema tickets and discounts on items such as trainers.

Parents also only need to take out one policy to cover all of their children for serious illness, whereas before they would need to get separate cover for each child.

"People need something tangible when it comes to protection and not a piece of paper in a draw," Taurog explained.

On the latest changes, product manager at Protection Guru, Adam Higgs, said Vitality has removed "a multitude" of options that advisers didn’t really understand.