HSBC has made a number of changes to its existing two product critical illness plans - Core Critical Illness and Critical Illness Plus. The most changes are on the Critical Illness Plus version.
The Core plan now has 38 named 100% or full conditions and includes two additional payment conditions - less advanced cancer of the breast or prostate. These pay out the lower of £25K or 25% of the sum insured on diagnosis.
Critical Illness Plus has an additional 11 specified 100% conditions and 37 additional payment conditions, which pay the lower of £50K or 50% of the sum insured.
Three new 100% conditions have been added to the Core plan: cardiomyopathy, liver failure and chronic liver failure due to cirrhosis. On both plans there have been changes to the following definitions:
Benign brain tumour.
Benign spinal cord tumour.
Motor neurone disease.
Third degree burns.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a new 100% payment condition on Critical Illness Plus and new additional payment conditions within that plan (which pays the lower of £50,000 or 50% of the sum insured) pay out on:
Non-malignant pituitary adenoma.
Removal of one or more lobes of the lung.
The old ‘significant hearing loss’ condition has been removed from Critical Illness Plus, as the deafness wording has been widened.
On Children’s Critical Illness Cover, the Core plan now covers children from 30 days old until their 21st birthday and the Critical Illness Plus plan now runs to their 23rd birthday. The Plus plan pays the lower of £50K or 50% of the sum insured for full-payment conditions and the lower of £30K or 50% for the additional payment conditions.
Eight new child-specific conditions have been added to the Plus plan. These are atrial/ventricular septal defects; cerebral palsy; cystic fibrosis; diabetes type 1; Down’s syndrome; hydrocephalus; muscular dystrophy, and spina bifida. CIExpert notes that HSBC is the first insurer to extend child-specific cover for the full duration of a pregnancy, with the caveat that the policy must have been in force for at least nine months prior to a claim.
Other changes include removing the bladder removal condition, as this is already covered under less advanced cancer of the urinary bladder. A range of Square Health benefits have been added, including online health services; second medical opinion and a remote GP service for both customers and their family. On the Critical Illness Plus plan there is also a remote GP service, physiotherapy, mental health counselling and a free biennial health MOT check for the customer. The Core Critical Illness plan just offers the second medical opinion and the remote GP service.
Comment: Bancassurers often have a reputation for middle of the road products, and HSBCs CI plans, launched into the adviser market last year, probably fell into that category too.
Now, it has sought to remedy that, generally improving both plans. Indeed, CI Expert (which analyses all CI plans in great depth) says it is now in the top echelon of quality plans.
Certainly, the changes will be welcomed, and it is good to see too that as well as widening cover, HSBC has also sought to delete individual conditions where that cover can effectively be included in a single rather wider condition. Of interest to many parents, the cover for children is also now rather better than before too.
Plus points: Updates to the two plans launched last year; New conditions covered and wider definitions; Some simplification too; Good children’s cover; Square Health benefits, which have also been extended to existing protection customers too.
Not so plus points: Has it done enough to attract more IFA support?; CI remains a complex product for many.
Rating (max 10): Overall: 8. Gold
Tags: CI; HSBC
I Mark: No