Almost a third of advisers struggling with the complexities of children's critical illness policies

Growing increasingly complicated, children’s critical illness cover is becoming 'a minefield for an adviser to navigate', with almost a third (31%) struggling to understand the various options between different insurers, claiming it is 'not easy' to comprehend, while a further 31% were unsure.

Related topics:  Illness,  children's cover,  Protection
Warren Lewis
7th December 2022
Child 123

With numerous variations in children’s CIC cover in the market and most offering different payment levels, age ranges and some covering all adult conditions and some not, it can be a hard and complex market for advisers to navigate. It’s perhaps not too surprising that only 47% of advisers consider themselves to be “knowledgeable” when it comes to children’s CIC and understanding how insurers’ products differ, while 13% have little to no knowledge.

Gathering the views of 260 advisers ranging from protection advisers to mortgage intermediaries about their awareness of children’s CIC and how important certain features were, the CIExpert Adviser Watch also found:

29% of advisers are not fully aware that some core policies only cover children from 30 days old and do not include congenital conditions. Cancer is the main reason for claiming, between ages 0 to 22, however during the first few years, muscular dystrophy, Down Syndrome, hole-in-the-heart and cerebral palsy are the main concerns. It’s clearly an area that needs greater awareness.

14% of advisers are not aware that there is often a significant difference in coverage between a core and an enhanced children’s CIC policy. Just 64% say they are “very aware.”

Most surprisingly perhaps was that 42% of advisers are unaware that most congenital conditions in children are diagnosed at birth, and if children are not added to a CIC policy until after birth, they may not be covered for these conditions

A number of insurers now offer “pregnancy complications” as a condition (providing a fixed sum, typically £5,000) and 55% of advisers stated that this was an important feature of children’s CIC, with 29% unsure and 16% considering it unimportant.

Furthermore, 75% of advisers state that it’s important to them that children’s CIC continues until the child is aged 23 (eg at university or enjoying a gap year) rather than ending on their 18th birthday. Just 8% said it was not important with 17% unsure.

Alan Lakey, Director at CIExpert, said: “Children’s critical illness cover has taken on far greater importance in recent years and is viewed as a major component and differentiator for CIC plan selection. This is reflected in the CIExpert system where advisers are including children in around 85% of comparisons.

"However, it’s a minefield for an adviser to navigate alone as there are many features and policy details that differ between insurers, a concern that is evident from the findings of our Adviser Watch. Given that only one in two advisers consider themselves to be knowledgeable when it comes to children’s CIC and just over one in three finds it easy to understand the differences between insurers’ offerings in this field it is clear that it’s an area where advisers need assistance.

“Driven by user feedback, we have a specific Children’s Cover area within our Insight Zone to support advisers in navigating this area of the market, where they can quickly comprehend the different levels of children’s cover available. We ensure they feel equipped to advise their clients by providing this area to explore the broader aspects of all protection policies in a visual, interactive and educational way.

"With interactive tools, to key data and insurers’ sales materials - it’s designed as a user-friendly hub of information, all in one place, making it quick and simple to use and therefore building advisers’ knowledge and confidence.”

Naomi Greatorex, Director, Heath Protection Solutions Ltd, adds: "As reflected in CIExpert's research, children’s critical illness cover has become increasingly complicated, and confusing for advisers. This is an area of protection that has become too complex, as insurers look at ways to differentiate themselves.

"I have supported a child CI claim recently, so fully understand the true value of this benefit, and the difference the payment can make to a family. However, we now have a situation where the vast number of options can lead to both advisers and consumers being overwhelmed."

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