Critical illness insurance was firstly created in South Africa in the year 1983. It was generally known as dread disease insurance. Critical illness insurance was then brought to UK in the year 1985. The first policy was then introduced by Lloyds Life now member of Royal and Sun Alliance.
They attempted to sell the product through public press advertisements which led to unfortunately less than 100 policies sold. In the year 1986, Cannon, now Lincoln tried to have a shot at critical illness insurance. Their success was not immense. It was Abbey Life that had a taste at success with critical illness insurance. With the introduction of Living Assurance it took only months for the business to have a new perspective.
The initial product aimed at severe critical illnesses. These illnesses could be classified as cancer, coronary artery bypass, stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and major organ transplant. This type of policy was sold by direct sales companies or agents. Soon, other companies developed the same attitude. But a specific name to define this type of policy was not yet given. Serious Illness Benefit, Dread Disease and Crisis Cover were used generally before coming to Critical illness cover.
Moreover, critical illness insurance was slow at reaching the top level in the UK until the Direct Sales Force (DSF) took over. They achieved immense success as they discovered the market potential and their want for critical illness cover in the late 1980s. Shortly other companies followed the same trend in 1990/91 and since then, critical illness policy sales have boosted. According to Swiss Re Life and Health Watch 5, sales of critical illness policies have increased from 150,000 in the year 1992 to approximately 900,000 in the year 2001.
As per Dinani A, Grimshaw D and others (March 2000) A Critical Review, in the year 1999 more than 800,000 life critical illness policies were bought, representing almost 38 percent of overall policy sales. Furthermore, around 50,000 lives were covered under group critical illness schemes which therefore represent about 10 percent of the working population. Although the growth in sales had been considerable, the peak had not yet been reached. Thus, the probability for further expansion remained.
Being a new type of policy at that time, critical illness cover sales had surpassed that of income protection. The reason behind was that critical illness policies were well defined with listed illnesses that could be positively looked by customers. Maybe it was the lump sum someone received on making a claim that had more importance for people than getting an income benefit.
As seen above, there has been a considerable increase in critical illness policy since it appeared. People have seen the benefits in critical illness insurance. The lump sum has probably attracted many people towards taking a critical illness cover. Critical illness policies with low costs exist but they may not always offer benefits that you have thought about. The bottom line remains that before taking out a critical illness cover, you should read the policy documents carefully before making an agreement.