Royal London Critical Illness

January 2019 Royal London: CI


One of the latest big insurers to update its CI plan is Royal London. It has added ten new definitions (three main, six additional and one enhanced child CI), and enhanced eight existing ones (five main and three additional). The focus has been on enhancing the cancer, heart, MS and enhanced child CI definitions. 

The three new main definitions are:

•             Cauda equine.

•             Heart failure.

•             Peripheral vascular disease.

The five changes to existing main definitions are:

•             Cardiomyopathy (a change to title from primary cardiomyopathy and also wording changes).

•             Multiple sclerosis.

•             Parkinson’s disease.

•             Pulmonary artery graft surgery.

•             Structural heart surgery (a change of title from open heart surgery and also wording changes).

Six new additional definitions have been added:

•             Aortic aneurysm.

•             Carcinoma in situ of the larynx.

•             Carcinoma in situ of the renal pelvis or ureter.

•             Gastro-intestinal stromal tumour (GIST) or neuroendocrine tumour (NET) of low malignant potential.

•             Heartbeat abnormalities.

•             Ovarian tumour of borderline malignancy/low malignant potential.

Changes have been made to three existing additional definitions:

•             Carcinoma in situ of the testicle.

•             Coronary angioplasty.

•             Low grade prostate cancer.

With regard to child specific enhanced child CI cover, one new child specific definition has been added - surgical repair of an atrial or ventricular septal defect.

Royal London says the plan now covers 47 full definitions (TPD is also available as an option) and 20 additional definitions for adults. Its enhanced child critical illness cover includes 47 full definitions plus child TPD definition, 21 additional definitions and 13 child specific definitions.

Comment: The CI market is now seeing a lot of frequent product changes, as insurers vie to be as competitive as possible. That’s generally a good thing, although too many changes risk alienating or confusing advisers, who have both to keep up-to-date and also manage pipeline applications. Customers may find it confusing too – should they buy a new policy each time their plan is updated?

One seemingly minor change is no longer requiring low grade prostate cancer to be treated by surgery. Standard ‘treatment’ for many men with this is watchful waiting. In essence it means not recommending surgery unless it becomes necessary. Does that mean more risk of death? No – surgery involves some risk plus complications and side effects, so watchful waiting can give a better clinical outcome for patients on average (and saves the NHS money).

Overall, Royal London has added further to a quality CI plan.

Plus points: A range of positive product changes; No longer requires surgery to meet the definition for low grade prostate cancer so removes the financial incentive to have surgery which may not be necessary or advisable.

Not so plus points: Are there too frequent updates on CI policies?; More conditions covered = more complexity for consumers; CI still does not cover all critical illnesses.


Rating (max 10): 8. Gold

Tags: CI; Royal London

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