HSBC has made a series of improvements to its critical illness plans.

Alan Lakey at CIExpert said: “Occasionally we relate a series of changes that have minimal impact to the value of a policy, a deckchairs on the Titanic arrangement which can prove dispiriting.

“So it is pleasing to report on a what is effectively a complete contract redesign by HSBC which provides extensive enhancements.

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“HSBC has retained its two-pronged approach with a Core Critical Illness product and the superior Critical Illness Plus, but has engineered numerous changes.

“The majority of these changes relate to the Critical Illness Plus version which has been substantially enhanced in value, thereby enabling it to compete against those quality offerings in the market.”

The Core plan has 38 named 100% conditions and includes two additional payment conditions, with less advanced cancer of the breast or prostate, and pays the lower of £25,000 or 25% of the sum insured.

The Critical Illness Plus has an additional 11 named 100% conditions plus 37 specified additional payment conditions paying the lower of £50,000 or 50% of the sum insured.

Child cover has also been augmented in terms of conditions included and payment levels.

Other conditions with new 100% conditions added to the Core Critical Illness Plan are cardiomyopathy and liver failure.

Conditions such as benign brain tumour, deafness and Motor Neurone Disease have seen changes to both the Core Critical Illness and Critical Illness Plans.

Lakey continues: “HSBC entered the intermediated critical illness arena in 2019 with a solid middle of the road plan that failed to excite

“Despite some over-the-top reviews it was lacking in USPs or redeeming features and as a result failed to ignite interest within the adviser community.

“Today’s changes elevate the Critical Illness Plus Plan into the top echelon of quality plans and it’s gratifying to see insurers increasingly competing on quality rather than the tried and trusted methods of adding yet more (and sometimes pointless) conditions or chasing premiums to the floor.

“The impact of these changes is to elevate the Critical Illness Plus plan towards the top of the quality tables and advisers who focus on quality need to give due consideration to the plan.

“In conjunction with the high quality benefits courtesy of Square Health the Plus version is showing as one of the highest three plans within the CIExpert website.”