Ageas Protect formerly known as Fortis is a part of Ageas UK group, which is one of the leading insurance providers in UK. The company has 8 million customers and its annual revenues in 2010 were more than one billion pounds. The Ageas UK is a part of Ageas Group, which has more than 20 million customers, has annual revenues of almost £18 billion (in 2011) and almost 13,000 employees worldwide.
Ageas Protect offers various life insurance services to its clients such as term insurance, critical illness cover, income protection and other possible options. To simplify things for the ones interested in its products, Ageas groups its services to three plans that can be chosen: YourLife plan, Real life cover and Low Start option.
Ageas provides 4 options for people who are interested in YourLife plan. These options include: term assurance, critical illness with term assurance, income protection and family income benefit. The first one, term assurance pays out a lump sum of money if the person dies or is diagnosed with a terminal illness. It is possible to choose the sum assured to be level, increasing or decreasing. If level cover is chosen the sum assured stays fixed throughout the term of the policy. If increasing cover is chosen, then each year it will become bigger by 5% and if decreasing one is selected, then each month the amount of cover decreases.
Moreover, it is also possible to choose a joint insurance policy. In such case after the first of the partners dies, the second one gets the benefit and the insurance policy ends. In other words, the first death rule is used by Ageas when underwriting joint life insurance contracts. Furthermore, waiver of premium benefit can be added. If this benefit is included, then if the person is incapacitated for more than 26 weeks, the premiums are waived. For joint policies this benefit requires that if one of the partners become incapacitated for over 26 weeks, then the premiums are waived.
The second option is critical illness with term insurance. It differs from a term assurance in the way that additionally 38 specified critical illness are covered and if the person is diagnosed with one of them, the policy pays out. Moreover, as this policy also includes child insurance, Ageas will pay out up to 50% of the sum assured if the child of the insured person is diagnosed with a critical illness.
The policy also can be chosen to be either on a single or joint basis. In both ways, it is required that the person would survive for 10 days after the critical illness is diagnosed. Furthermore, it is possible to add three benefits to this policy: total disability, total permanent disability and waiver of premiums. Total disability benefit means that the policy pays out if the person is incapacitated for more than 26 weeks, meets the definition of total disability provided by Ageas but does not meet company’s definition of critical illness. The same principle is also for total permanent disability. As for waiver of premiums the difference is that only premiums will be waived if the person in incapacitated for more than 26 weeks.
The third option is income protection. It pays out a monthly benefit after the deferred period passes from the moment when the person becomes incapacitated or is diagnosed with a terminal illness. It is possible to choose level monthly or annually increasing monthly benefits. If latter is chosen then each year the monthly sum of protection will increase in line with Retail Price Index. However, this increase is limited not to be higher than 10% each year. If the person is working than he can get maximum benefit of 50% of his pre-tax monthly income or no lower than £1,667 a month. However, if the person is not working then the difference is that the lower one of 50% of pre-tax income or £1,667 a month will be paid. It also can be mentioned that waiver of premium benefit is included in this policy automatically.
The last one of the four options for those interested in YourLife plan is family income benefit. The policy will pay out monthly benefit in case the insured person dies or is diagnosed with a terminal illness. It is also possible to take out joint family income benefit policy. In such case when the first person dies or is diagnosed with a terminal illness, the policy will pay out.
Real life cover combines various life insurance options into one policy. It includes life cover, critical illness cover, recuperation cover, income protection, child & partner carer’s cover and waiver of premiums benefit. Life cover pays out a lump sum of cash if the person dies or is diagnosed with a terminal illness. This sum assured can be set to increase each year by 5%. However, in such case the premiums will also increase each year.
As for critical illness cover, recuperation cover, income protection they are connected in to so called living cover. The living fund is set up at the beginning of the policy and the maximum amount of benefits paid out (excluding sum assured for life cover) is equal to the size of this living fund. The critical illness cover pays out a lump sum of money in case the person is diagnosed with a critical illness, recuperation cover pays for services such as physiotherapy if they are needed and income protection pays out a monthly benefit if the person become incapacitated and unable to work.
The last part of real life cover is child & partner carer’s cover. It pays out a monthly benefit which does not decrease the size of living fund in case the person become unemployed or has to give up a full employment in order to take care for incapacitated parent or parent-in-law.
Low Start is suitable for those who want to pay smaller premiums now. It is possible to choose from term assurance and critical illness with term assurance. If term assurance is chosen, it will pay out a lump sum of cash in case the person dies or is diagnosed with a terminal illness. If critical illness with term assurance is chosen, then it will also pay out if the person is diagnosed with a critical illness. It is possible to choose the policy to be either on a single or joint basis.
Even though it is attractive to pay less now, it must not be forgotten that each year the premiums are reviewed and likely to become higher. This increase may not be accepted, but in such case the sum assured is decreased. Thus, this amount of cover may become smaller then needed or the premiums can surge to become too high. The Ageas provides information that in the longer term the amount of money paid for the Ageas when Low Start plan is chosen is higher compared to insurance policies provided by Ageas when guaranteed fixed premiums are chosen.