With more than 130 years experience, Cirencester Friendly has a long history of providing Income Protection for workers across the UK.
In the 1980s, the society had only 6 members; but, this has grown substantially and its membership now exceeds 37,000. Every year, to give transparency to these members, the society publishes detailed claim statistics.
It has won several awards over the years. For example, in 2018 it was highly commended by MoneyFacts in the Best Income Protection Provider and Service Beyond the Call Of Duty categories.
As a friendly society, Cirencester Friendly has no shareholders and therefore reinvests any profits back into the business for the benefit of its members. It’s also one of the more reliable Income Protection providers, paying out at least 94% of all Income Protection claims it has received since 2014.
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry
This policy is known as Cirencester Friendly’s My Earnings Protected Income Protection.
Cirencester Friendly’s Income Protection provides good coverage for those in riskier roles, especially manual workers. It’s also smoker neutral, so it doesn’t charge smokers more despite the increased health risk.
Overview of Key Policy Details
65% of gross earnings.
Maximum benefit of £52,000 per year.
Maximum Claim Duration
Day 1 or 1 / 4 / 8 / 13 / 26 / 52 weeks
Cirencester also offers a split period contract where it pays part of your benefits after one deferral period and the rest after another.
Optional. Increases by CPI (Consumer Price Index).
Waiver of Premium
My Earnings Protected uses an Own Occupation definition of incapacity for most roles. This is the best definition of incapacity as it ensures that you can claim for any medical condition as long as it stops you doing your specific job.
However, note that Cirencester Friendly imposes an occupational retirement age on certain professions. While you can still have cover after this age, Cirencester will assess your incapacity using the suited occupation definition.
For example, sports coaches have an occupational retirement age of 65 with Cirencester. So while sports coaches can have cover until age 70, if they became ill and claimed at 65 they’d be assessed on a suited occupation basis.
Cirencester Friendly Income Protection policies include Terminal Illness Cover as standard. If a doctor diagnoses you with a terminal illness (less than 12 months to live), Cirencester pays you a lump sum worth 6 months of benefits.
You can still claim your monthly benefits in addition to this lump sum.
You have the option to link your benefit to inflation so that it rises each year along with prices and inflation doesn’t erode its purchasing power over time. Any increase is subject to a maximum increase of 10% each year and your premiums will rise proportionately in line with your higher benefit.
However, unlike every other insurer, Cirencester uses the consumer prices index (CPI) as its measure of inflation, rather than the retail prices index (RPI).
CPI tends to be a little lower and more stable than RPI as a measure of inflation, so this may mean any benefit increases are smaller with Cirencester compared to other insurers.
Note that Cirencester allows you to add indexation at a later date if you don’t choose it at the outset (subject to underwriting conditions).
You can split your deferral period so that your benefit payments have different start times. For example, you might want to receive part of the benefit on day 1 and the rest after 12 weeks. You can use this where you would receive some continuing income for a period if you were off sick, for example reduced sick pay.
If you are well enough to return to work but only on a part-time basis, or if your condition forces you to change to a different occupation with a lower wage, you can apply for Recovery Benefit. This offers temporary financial support in the form of reduced benefits to help you get back on your feet.
Like many other insurers, Cirencester Friendly allows you to increase your benefit without supplying further medical information when one of the following ‘lifestyle’ events occurs:
You can also increase your cover on every fifth anniversary of the start date of your policy.
Friendly Voice is a free and confidential service provided by Red Arc Nurses. It offers long term practical advice and emotional support to those suffering from, or looking after someone with, a physical or mental health issue.
The service assigns you an experienced registered nurse who can provide support tailored to your needs. They can also arrange other services, such as counselling, therapy or a home visit at no extra cost.
If you choose any deferred period aside from Day 1, you can choose to add Severe Injury Cover to your policy. This means that if you have to stop working because of one of eight specific injuries listed in your policy, you can claim this benefit.
Cirencester pays this after 4 consecutive days off work.
The cost depends on the amount of cover you need and underwriting.
Access to a range of discounts and rewards, including discounted cinema tickets, car leasing deals, restaurant discount codes and even up to 22% off a range of Fitbit devices.
GP24 provides 24 / 7 access to a virtual GP service. You can book video or telephone appointments with a UK-registered GP at a time that suits you. There is a limit of four consultations a year per member. This service offers:
Receive a lump sum of £2,500 if your child (up to the age of 21, including adopted and stepchildren) develops one of ten critical illnesses, such as cancer or requiring a major organ transplant.
It’s a free discretionary benefit Cirencester offers to help relieve financial pressures and support you and your loved ones at an already difficult time.
My Extra Benefits enhances your policy by providing the option to add additional benefits to it for an extra premium. These include:
This benefit provides you with a lump sum payout of up to £1,500 if you sustain a comminuted, complicated, compound, depressed or simple fracture to any one of the 19 parts of the skeleton Cirencester lists.
You can claim this benefit once every 12 months and only for one fracture at a time.
For the hospitalisation benefit, if you have to stay in a UK hospital for 3 consecutive nights, Cirencester Friendly pays out £50 per night, backdated to the first night’s stay.
You can claim this benefit for a maximum of 21 consecutive nights per stay and to a limit of 21 nights in total per year.
Cirencester packages both benefits together at a cost of £4 per month on top of your premiums.
If you die during your working life, Cirencester Friendly pays a lump sum of £7,500 to your family. This optional benefit costs an additional £5 a month and ceases on your 70th birthday.
You can combine it with the fracture and hospitalisation benefit — both benefits together cost an additional £9 per month.
Cirencester Friendly set up the 125 Foundation to celebrate its 125th anniversary. It offers financial support to individuals and causes that benefit its members and their communities.
For example, as part of its ’12 days of Christmas’ campaign, the Foundation donated £125 to 13 different charities that had been nominated by its advisers and members.
Cirencester Friendly has a relatively low maximum annual benefit. Because of this, if you are a higher earner and need more than £52,000 each year to support your lifestyle, you may need to consider a different provider.
Many insurers offer both Short Term Income Protection, which pays out for a maximum of 12 or 24 months per claim, alongside Long Term Income Protection, which pays out right up until retirement if you can never work again.
Short-term cover is a budget option that doesn’t cost as much as long-term protection. It can therefore be a good choice for those who would struggle to afford comprehensive cover.
However, Cirencester Friendly doesn’t offer short-term budget Income Protection. Its only policy is long-term cover that pays out until retirement if you become so ill you can’t ever go back to work.
Cirencester Friendly doesn’t charge smokers any more for cover despite the greater health risks they face.
Cirencester offers day 1 and 1 week deferral period options. These are the two shortest deferral periods available on the market.
The other deferral periods you can choose from are 4, 8, 12, 26 and 52 weeks.
Cirencester Friendly doesn’t cover all occupations — it excludes those with the highest risk of incapacity. This includes athletes, divers, musicians and members of the armed forces.
However, if you have an occupation linked to a higher risk of incapacity but Cirencester doesn’t exclude it, you pay the same in terms of premiums as someone in a lower risk role. This makes Cirencester particularly attractive for manual workers and those in similar jobs. Some other insurers charge such workers higher premiums.
You can find the least of all affected occupations in Cirencester Friendly’s Occupation Retirement Ages guide.
The maximum entry age for My Earnings Protected is 54, which means you can’t take out a policy if you’re older than this. This is one of the lower maximums in the market.
Cirencester Friendly offers two types of premiums: guaranteed and age-banded. It refers to these as level and annual escalating premiums respectively.
Level premiums are based on your age at entry and stay the same throughout your policy. Annual escalating premiums, meanwhile, are based on your age at the start of the policy and then rise annually following your birthday each year.
Cirencester Friendly won’t cover people who work more than 8 weeks in a calendar year outside of the UK. This is a bit more restrictive than other insurers who may only impose such restrictions for people working in high-risk locations or where trips are for an extended period of time.
As you can see, there are a lot of points to consider when comparing insurers. With so many factors in play, it can be time-consuming to pull up key information for every single insurer in the market, so why not ask an adviser to do it for you?
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