Royal London Life or Critical Illness Cover

July 2022 Royal London: CI


Royal London has made a number of changes to the critical illness (CI) element of its Life or Critical Illness Cover plan. These include new and updated definitions, including changes to children enhanced critical illness cover.

Two new conditions have been added - Crohn's Disease and Syringomelia/Syringobulbia – both of which have a 100% payout. In addition, five conditions have been enhanced and these also pay out the full sum insured. The five are: bacterial meningitis; chronic lung disease; coma; deafness, and third degree burns.

Additional payment conditions pay out the lower of £30,000 or 50% of sum insured, and include less severe cardiomyopathy (including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) which has two claim triggers. Less severe heart failure, which Royal London says is unique to it, also has two claim triggers, and severe sepsis requires three days in an intensive care or a high dependency unit.

There has also been some updating to existing additional payments conditions, including partial loss of sight, which has been redefined to encompass 45 degrees of the visual field instead of 40 degrees, and third degree burns, where the claim wording has been widened to start at 5% of the body and 10% of the face.

In children enhanced critical illness cover, spina bifida has been updated and meningocele deleted from its definition. The changes to the bacterial meningitis definition also impact children's cover, and are designed to reduce the number of claims being delayed or not paid out.

The Helping Hand service has also been improved to ensure more customers can benefit from emotional and practical help. Royal London describes it as a valuable service which provides a listening ear, empathy and support to help people cope with their experience of illness or bereavement regardless of whether they claim or not.

Comment: Royal London updated its CI cover last July and has now made further changes and improvements. According to CIExpert, the plan was already noted for the quality of its children’s cover (which are now further improved) and the new changes should add to its appeal for adults too.   

It’s often interesting to hear from insurers why they have updated a plan and Royal London says the improvements have been brought in as a result of ongoing reviews of claims outcomes to maximise the number of claims that can be paid in the future and adds that medical issues relating to the heart is one of the big three reasons for claims, so new additional cover relating to cardiomyopathy as well as heart failure has been added.

These changes look to help that and it is good to see insurers recognise that paying more claims is a good thing. Along with publishing claims data and case studies, such changes will, over time, help customer perception about whether insurers seek to pay claims or to deny them.

CI remains a complex plan to understand the breadth of its cover (which is why such as CIExpert are so necessary for advisers) and no plan (yet?) covers every life changing critical illness, but these changes are all positive and a good step in the right direction, further improving this offering.

Plus points: Improvements to adult as well as children’s cover; New conditions added and definitions improved; Improvements to the Helping Hands services too.

Not so plus points: CI remains a complex proposition to fully understand; Royal London has previously been seen as better in the area of children’s CI cover rather than adults; Some may decry the common industry practice of regularly updating plans, as that can make understanding harder.


Rating (max 10): Overall: 8.5. Gold

Tags: CI; Royal London

I Mark: No

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