Posted on Oct 18, 2011 by Sergio Ulloa
Aviva PLC, the United Kingdom's largest insurer, has announced plans this week to enhance its critical illness cover package with the addition of partial payments for several newly covered medical conditions.
From October 17, 2011 onwards, all new Aviva critical illness customers will be eligible to claim partial insurance payments for two early forms of cancer: low grade prostate cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is an early form of breast cancer. If either of these conditions is realized, claimants can receive 20 percent of their sum assured, up to a £20,000 maximum cap, when they undergo cancer treatment.
Under their updated critical illness policy, Aviva will cover all forms of recognized surgical treatments for both low grade prostate cancer and DCIS. Aviva notes that this could prove particularly relevant for breast cancer patients with their assortment of treatment options. While two thirds of all breast cancer cases in the UK are treated by a lumpectomy (the removal of affected cancerous area), many competing critical illness policies from other insurers only cover mastectomy (removal of the whole breast), and this, Aviva feels, gives their product an important advantage in the market.
Aviva's new partial payment scheme is an additional benefit, separate from the main policy, and thus a customer's critical illness cover will remain to be in place if they need to make a fresh claim in the future. In addition to this new rider, Aviva has updated their critical illness cover on a number of other conditions, and had allowed customers to bring claims more quickly for medical issues like Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Commenting on these upgrades, Robert Morrison, Chief Underwriter for Aviva said "These enhancements are great news for customers who can now benefit from more comprehensive cover. Cancer treatments can take a huge emotional and physical toll, so this extra financial support is there to provide peace of mind so patients can concentrate on getting well."
Aviva paid out £62 million (US$99.8 million) on critical illness policies during the first six months of 2011, a 21 percent increase over last year's corresponding first half totals. In September
the company disclosed that 755 UK customers had made claims on critical illness cover between January and June and they had received an average payout of around £81,000 each (US$130,000). Aviva's typical critical illness claimant was described as a 44 year-old woman or a 45 and three months old man and the most commonly claimed-for diseases were cancer (accounting for 65.9 percent of all claims), followed at a distance by heart attack (11.3 percent) and stroke (7.9 percent).
Aviva reported that 92.5 percent of all critical illness claims were settled during the first half of the year, bringing the insurer's claims paid percentage over the past 12 months to an insurance industry high of 94.3 percent. It has become common for many British insurance providers to publish half year, as well as annual, claims statistics for their clients. Being able to consistently report a high claims ratio can be seen as a valuable promotion tool for a company, demonstrating an ability to consistently meet obligations to clients. Increasing transparency and claims efficiency will work to improve the image of the insurance industry as a whole in the UK. In 2010 Aviva paid out the highest proportion of critical illness claims across the country.
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Europe's fourth largest insurance company, with more than 300 years of experience in the global insurance industry, Aviva is committed to the safety and satisfaction of its customers. They sell a broad range of insurance products including motor and property insurance, protection and health insurance, business insurance, life insurance and pensions.