The sale of critical illness cover has been considerable in the UK and Ireland during the late 1990s. For many companies, critical illness insurance may have been a source of revenue profits. Critical illness cover was mainly sold to young adults as premium rates at an early age carried affordable rates. People preferred critical illness insurance as it paid direct benefits if compared to income protection or mortgage protection insurance.
Consequently two types of critical illness cover exist: Accelerated and Standalone. The accelerated critical illness cover was a combined policy. For example, critical illness insurance with mortgage. As an overall analysis, the accelerated critical illness policy sales had been higher than the standalone policy down the years.
Since its arrival in the UK during the late 1980s critical illness insurance may have given the insurance market a new perspective. Critical illness insurance sales may have boosted and in 1997 ABI (Association of British Insurers) revealed around 579,000 policies sold in the UK. The fact that not all insurance companies show their data to the ABI, the total critical illness policy sales could have been approximately 700,000. This figure demonstrates a 30 percent growth if compared to that of the year 1996 and around 68 percent growth since the year 1995.
Moreover, critical illness insurance can be described as a simple product. The potential customers are presented with the critical illness policy documents and showed what diseases would be covered. Upon diagnosis of one of these diseases, a tax free lump sum could be awarded as a single payment of the full sum insured. Critical illness insurance covered seven core illnesses. As time passed, the range of insurance companies increased and competition grew over the insurance market. Hence the number of illnesses covered expanded. According to the ABI, globally, critical illness insurance may actually cover up to 30 diseases. As an example, diseases such as Angioplasty and Aplastic Anaemia may have been added to the list of critical illnesses.
As explained earlier, critical illness insurance may be sold in two formats: accelerated and standalone. The standalone critical illness cover provides direct benefits also, but the insured person has to live for about 30 days so that the claim becomes successful. On the other hand, many people prefer the accelerated critical illness cover, especially with mortgage. As soon as the insured person is diagnosed with a critical illness the insurance may have to pay out the lump sum without waiting. It is important to note that mortgage related critical illness cover may have produced a take up rate of 60 percent over any other form of critical illness policies sold.
The duration of cover tend to vary according to the type of policy. It can be yearly renewable and can also be ongoing up to 40 years. Many companies may offer fully guaranteed rates of critical illness products in the UK. However, the majority of sales in the UK remain as riders to critical illness insurance rather than a standalone policy.