British Friendly has announced a series of changes to its Protect and Breathing Space income protection products.
All IP occupations are now underwritten upfront, so customers who change occupation during the term of the policy no longer have to be underwritten again.
Customers can now opt for claim benefits to be paid directly to their mortgage provider, so avoiding any impact on Universal Credit means-tested benefits. GP and UK residency criteria has been reduced from three to two years too.
Two new Guaranteed Insurability Options have been introduced, and cover rental and salary increases. In fact, the Guaranteed Insurability Options are now the same as the rest of the mutual’s product range and include marriage and civil partnerships, birth and adoption, new mortgages, or mortgage increases, rent rises and salary increases.
Deferred periods on both Protect and Breathing Space have been extended by adding the options of 26 and 52 weeks, and waiver of premium benefit now matches the deferred period. Customers can also opt to have claims paid weekly or monthly to suit their personal financial needs.
The maximum product end age for the Breathing Space proposition has been increased from 65 to 70.
Comment: This is a good tranche of useful changes and should increase the appeal of British Friendly’s IP plans. Maximum benefits from friendlies tend to be lower than for for profit insurers and this is true here too – with a maximum benefit of £45,500 on the Protect plan for example. However, that should cover most clients anyway.
One small but really good point is that the deferred period for waiver of premium benefit now matches the plan’s regular deferred period. Too many IP plans still have a six month deferred period and that often creates a problem for those who need cover with a shorter deferred period.
Otherwise, the changes should appeal both to advisers and to potential customers, even though the plan won’t be best for everyone.
Plus points: A range of improved benefits; WOP deferred period now matches the plan’s deferred period; Two new guaranteed insurability options; Benefits can be paid direct to lenders; T&Cs are more comprehensive than most – and more understandable and generally well written and with customers in mind.
Not so plus points: Relatively low maximum benefit; Premiums increase annually with age but are guaranteed.
Rating (max 10): Overall: 8. Gold
Tags: IP; British Friendly
I Mark: No