Royal London “treads new ground” with upgraded Critical Illness offering

Royal London has today announced improved, changed, and added definitions to its Critical Illness (CI) offering, widening coverage and scope for claims.

Related topics:  Royal London,  critical illness
Tabitha Lambie | Editor, Protection Reporter
4th December 2023
Critical Illness
"While we have made our definitions more precise, our aim is to provide improved clarity at the point of claim so we can enable quicker payments for customers at their point of need."
- Jennifer Gilchrist, Protection Expert at Royal London

Less than three months since Royal London improved its pre-sale underwriting tool to widen the scope of medical conditions from 60 to over 3,600, the mutual has announced upgraded definitions and processes to improve the delivery of long-term value for its customers.

READ MORE: Royal London enhances pre-sale underwriting tool

Royal London has upgraded its definitions of Dementia, Heart Attack, Cancer, Coma, and Aplastic Anaemia to the Association of British Insurers’ (ABI) minimum standards. Consequently, the scope of cancer-related claims has widened to include Merkel Cell Carcinoma, Cutaneous Angiosarcoma plus some Sarcomas and Lymphomas.

The mutual has also introduced two new definitions: Severe Mental Health and Severe Bowel Disease (incorporating existing conditions such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis). These are specifically worded definitions designed to catch conditions such as Schizophrenia and Bipolar Affective Disorder, as well as Diverticulitis and Intestinal Ischaemia.

Alongside these upgraded definitions, Royal London has increased pay-outs for additional cover conditions from £30k to £35k, to reflect increasing living costs. These additional cover conditions include Bowel Disease (requiring only a single bowel resection, rather than colectomy or two resections), Type 1 Diabetes (previously restricted to children only), Desmoid Type Fibromatosis (non-malignant soft tissue tumour), and Cutaneous Lymphoma (unique to Royal London).

Royal London has changed four additional cover conditions: Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumour (GIST), Neuroendocrine Tumour (NET) of low malignant potential (with surgery), Pituitary Gland Tumour, and Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer. Altered definitions for NETs, GISTs and Pituitary Gland Tumour reflect the World Health Organisation (WHO) reclassifications, while the definition for Skin Cancer has been enhanced to clarify the types and extent of the cancers covered whilst widening the claim potential.

Additionally, the definition for Children’s Type 1 Diabetes has been changed to that of adult’s cover – removing the requirement for insulin injections as well as the compulsory 12-month treatment period, so policyholders don’t have to wait to make a claim.

Commenting on these upgrades, Jennifer Gilchrist, Protection Expert at Royal London, has said:

“As well as implementing ABI minimum standard changes, we have enhanced our critical illness cover by concentrating on cancer, severe mental health, type 1 diabetes, and bowel disease cover definitions. The changes have been driven by analysis of our claims experience and insight to maximise value and help deliver the best possible outcomes for customers.

“When it comes to critical illness cover, there’s been a fairly consistent pattern of claims being paid over a long period of time. We have added and changed definitions now as it’s important that cover continues to evolve to keep pace with medical science and concentrates on conditions where we can provide improved outcomes for customers now and in the future.”

Responding to Royal London’s upgraded CI offering, Alan Lakey, Director at CIExpert, said:

“We are always supportive when an insurer expands its coverage and improves or clarifies the claims wordings.  Royal London has extended its cancer coverage by widening the scope of its cancer definition as well as the addition of cutaneous lymphoma and enhancing its skin cancer wording.

“Royal London also treads new ground by providing two payment levels for bowel disease – an additional payment for one bowel resection and a full payment for two resections or colectomy.

"Four additional payment conditions have been added and the monetary increase to the additional payment conditions also provides added value. It is beneficial to have a vigorous protection market where competition encourages innovation and Royal London has reaffirmed its commitment to advisers and the protection market.

“This year has seen the demise of two major protection brands, so it is heart-warming to see a major protection insurer affirm its commitment to the market by increasing both the quality and the amounts being paid out for critical illness claims.

“Additional payments for bowel disease and cutaneous lymphoma are both unique to Royal London and the improvements secure their position as a top-quality critical illness provider."

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