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Improvements made so far

In November 2014 we launched a new series of Protect critical illness cover with a significant number of improvements. The improvements were also given to existing customers with a series 8 policy (from April 2013 onwards) in January this year.

Here’s an overview of the changes we made.

We widened our coverage with 10 new conditions.

Full payment:

  • Intensive care – for 10 days continuous duration.
  • Kennedy’s disease – resulting in permanent symptoms.
  • Neuromyelitis Optica (Devic’s Disease) – with persisting symptoms.
  • Peripheral vascular disease – with bypass surgery.
  • Spinal stroke – resulting in permanent symptoms.

Additional payment:

  • Carotid artery stenosis – treated by Endarterectomy or Angioplasty.
  • Central retinal artery or vein occlusion – resulting in permanent visual loss (Eye stroke).

  • Diabetes mellitus Type 1 – requiring permanent insulin injections.

  • Ovarian tumour of borderline malignancy/low malignant potential – with surgical removal of an ovary.

  • Pituitary tumour – with specified treatment.

We improved definitions to be able to pay more claims:

  • Heart attack – we have removed the requirement for a specified level of raised enzymes or troponins to align the definition with the medical definition of a heart attack. This means we’ll cover about 20% more heart attacks than before.
  • Stroke – symptoms no longer have to be permanent, just 24 hours.
  • Multiple sclerosis – symptoms only have to last from the time of diagnosis rather than for a set period of 3 months.
  • Aplastic anaemia – payment is now on diagnosis rather than as the result of a specific treatment.
  • Benign brain tumour – to take account of more advanced treatments we now cover stereotactic radiosurgery and chemotherapy as well as surgery.
  • Benign spinal tumour – to take account of more advanced treatments we now cover stereotactic radiosurgery as well as surgery.
  • Cerebral arteriovenous malformation – in line with medical advancement we now include radiosurgery (a form of radiotherapy).
  • Coma – we have removed the requirement for a life support system to have been used.
  • Coronary angioplasty – we no longer exclude diagnostic angioplasty.
  • Coronary artery by-pass grafts – we have removed the specific surgeries to future-proof against future advancements in medical treatment.
  • HIV infection – infection caught as result of the life assured's work now covers all jobs rather than a specific list of eligible jobs.
  • Loss of independence – we now include loss of independence as a result of mental failure as well as physical impairment.
  • Major organ transplant – we have extended eligible waiting list to the Channel Islands or Isle of Man.
  • Respiratory failure – we have removed the requirement for oxygen therapy to have lasted at least 6 months before we pay the claim. We have also reduced the additional requirements from 3 to 2 and from needing all of them to just one additional requirement.
  • Third degree burns – the area of damage to the face has been reduced from 30% to 20%.

We simplified and clarified some of our existing definitions:

  • Crohn’s disease – the wording has been simplified to make it easier to understand.
  • Dementia including Alzheimer’s disease – to simplify the cover, and because the requirements were the same, we have combined the Dementia and Alzheimer’s definitions.
  • Kidney failure – we haven't changed what's covered but we've clarified that to claim, dialysis must be permanently required.
  • Motor neurone disease – although the cover remains the same, for clarity we now state the four specific types of motor neurone disease.
  • Significant visual impairment – the wording has been updated so that it does not overlap with the full blindness definition.
  • Third degree burns – less extensive – reference to the face has been removed because we now cover in the full definition, rather than as an additional payment.
  • Loss of hand or foot – we have removed the plurals from the heading to make it clearer that claims can be made for the loss of one hand or foot.
  • Primary pulmonary arterial hypertension – we’ve changed the name slightly to better match the definition and to match the name that most other providers use for this condition.
  • Terminal illness – we’ve added ‘where death is expected within 12 months’ to the heading in line with the ABI suggested heading. The cover remains the same.
  • Traumatic brain injury – the cover remains the same but to be more specific we’ve changed ‘head’ to ‘brain’ in the heading.
  • Cerebral aneurysm resulting in specified treatment – the cover remains the same but to better match our definition we’ve added ‘resulting in specified treatment’ to the heading.

We changed our surgery benefit so that it covers more surgeries and pays out sooner.

To simplify things and speed up a claim, the sum assured is now paid out when the life assured is on the waiting list for one of the specified surgeries. No waiting for the surgery or getting quotes from private hospitals, we’ll pay the full cover straight to the planholder.

The surgeries covered relate to the critical illnesses we cover:

Aorta graft surgery, benign brain tumour, benign spinal cord tumour, cardiac arrest with insertion of a defibrillator, coronary artery by-pass grafts, heart valve replace or repair, major organ transplant, pneumonectomy, pulmonary artery surgery, structural heart surgery and ulcerative colitis treated with total colectomy.

Surgery benefit also applies to the children’s cover and covers the same procedures.    

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