The UK-based insurer, Bupa, have recently made changes to their income insurance plans and this highlights the industries committment to continuously improving the protection products on offer.
Under the changes Bupa have implemented a medical exclusion discount so individuals do not have to pay for cover for which they are not eligible. They have also decided to include Best Doctors to their offering, which was previously only available for clients with critical illness policies.
The changes made
When applying for income insurance it is necessary to declare your full medical history so the insurer can assess the risk they face by offering you this type of policy. If the applicant has suffered serious medical conditions in the past the insurer will usually take one (or more) of three actions, which consist of:
- They exclude the medical condition you suffered in the past and any conditions relating to that prior condition;
- They may agree to provide cover for past health issues but decide to increase your monthly premiums to reflect an increased level of risk;
- Finally, they may actually decide to refuse to provide any earnings protection cover at all.
Under the new plans by Bupa they have decided to offer a premium discount for applicants who have health condition exclusions imposed on their policy. In other words, they would be offering a reduced scope of cover but would also lower your premiums to reflect this.
This move by Bupa is undoubtedly a good one and should become best practice in the market. Currently, many insurers simply exclude conditions and offer exactly the same rates, which is clearly unfair given the reduced scope of cover provided. Drewberry Income Protection would like to see all insurers offer this same exclusion discount.
Bupa have also decided to add the services provided by Best Doctors to their income insurance offering. Best Doctors offer a second opinion service for individuals who have been diagnosed with a health condition.
They pride themselves on employing the very best specialist consultants so individuals can obtain a valuable second opinion about their medical situation. Bupa income protection clients now have access to the service provided by Best Doctors.
Update (04/04/2012): Please note that the life and income insurance business of Bupa was bought by Friends Life in 2011. The new Friends Life income protection plan retains many of the aspects of Bupa’s plan.