The Story of Specified Serious Illness Cover


6th Jun 2017

We’re all familiar with the reasons why specified serious illness cover can be like a knight in shining amour for clients in their hour of need. It can be some much-needed positive news when your client is diagnosed with an illness they have insured against. And that lump sum on diagnosis will give them the chance to concentrate on getting better, by lessening the financial strain serious illness can bring with it. Any enhancements made to specified serious illness products are, we hope, always welcomed by Financial Brokers; improved cover for clients gives more security and a higher level of confidence when it comes to recommending cover.

Recently, the insurance industry has moved towards enhancing cover for the illnesses that lead to a high proportion of claims like heart attack, stroke, multiple sclerosis and cancer to make the definitions wider and more encompassing. Royal London incorporated these positive changes to its cover in 2014 and ultimately this means it is easier for your client to claim on the most common serious illnesses. When it comes to specified serious illness cover though, it’s worth acknowledging that every illness covered by the policy, no matter how rare it seems, has been added because reinsurance or life companies have seen claims for that illness denied because it wasn’t previously included.

Nowadays, medical advancements mean that more illnesses are, thankfully, being diagnosed sooner than ever before, for example earlier diagnosis of cancer due to more investment in screening test resources. However, while earlier detection of cancer is in the best interest of the individual, usually making it easier to treat and reducing the mortality rate*, it has resulted in more diagnoses being made prior to the disease reaching full claims stage. The industry as a whole has changed to address this and providers have moved to increase the number of partial payments covered on their policies. More partial payments have been introduced to offset claims that weren’t necessarily meeting the criteria for the full benefit level, but none the less where an individual had still suffered, undergoing surgery or requiring some level of recuperation. Life and reinsurance companies’ experience of these types of claims has led the way in creating the partial payments which we see appearing now on specified serious illness policies.

In the case of Royal London’s enhanced specified serious illness cover launched in early April, it has introduced 5 new partial payment conditions specifically relating to common cancers in situ, which means your clients can claim up to €15,000 and be paid out more than once for cancer in situ. And this doesn’t affect the sum assured. While the prognosis for these types of cancer in situ is much better in terms of the impact on mortality compared with more invasive cancers, the surgeries for both can be identical as can the level of trauma suffered by the individual themselves, which is why Royal London is delighted to have made these additions.

Royal London has also improved its specified serious illness product to now cover specified serious illness for children from birth, rather than from 1 year. It was also keen to give clients more value by including additional benefits and as part of its specified serious illness cover enhancements, Royal London was proud to be the first to introduce organ donor cover to the Irish market. This organ donor cover will provide a lump sum payment of €2,500 to an individual who has donated a kidney, bone marrow, a portion of lung or a portion of liver to a family member which can help support their rest and recovery time.

Overall in 2016, according to The Organ Donation Community 280 organ transplants were carried out in Ireland.** And if you think that all of these organ donations happen when the donor is deceased, you wouldn’t be alone in that assumption. However certain organs and portions of specific organs, like the ones covered in Royal London’s cover can be donated by a living donor who can live a healthy lifestyle without the organ. 2016 saw an increase in living donor transplants of kidneys alone up by 52% to 50 donations from 33 in 2015, according to The Organ Donation Community in Ireland.*** Living organ donation is an admirable, altruistic act and a lump sum can at least help to offset any costs the donor incurs following the operation and recovery involved.

The sales message for your clients around specified serious illness cover is a compelling one, particularly when it’s backed up by a product that’s the clear choice to recommend as it provides cover that you know is the most comprehensive. Royal London’s enhanced specified serious illness covers the above and more, and it covers more illness than any other product on the market so that you can offer clients the best cover available.

To find out more about Royal London’s Specified Serious Illness offering go to

* 61% of patients diagnosed with cancer in Ireland between 2010-2014 were still alive five years after diagnosis compared to 44% during 1994-1998. (National Cancer Registry, 2016: Cancer in Ireland 1994-2014: Annual Report of the National Cancer Registry).

** The Organ Donation Community (

*** The Organ Donation Community (