Critical Illness Cover (CIC)

Mar 27, 2024 | Advice, Protection

What is Critical Illness Cover (CIC)

Critical Illness Cover (CIC) stands out as a relatively modern invention. Its roots trace back to the late 1980s and early 1990s, initially marketed as an adjunct to life insurance policies.
These were whole-of-life policies that promised a lump sum on the diagnosis of specific illnesses.

The landscape, however, quickly shifted towards term-based products, marking the inception of CIC as a stand-alone benefit. This evolution introduced the “survival period” concept, necessitating the insured to survive a specified duration post-diagnosis before the claim payout, typically between 14 to 30 days, underscoring CIC’s essence as ‘survival insurance.’

How Does It Work?

The essence of CIC lies in its promise to pay a tax-free lump sum upon the diagnosis of a critical illness from a predefined list. This list is not set in stone; it varies among insurers but generally includes major conditions like cancer, heart attack, and stroke.

These conditions account for the majority of CIC claims, reflecting the policy’s alignment with prevalent health threats.

Insurers have gravitated towards standardized critical illness definitions, many adopting those set by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), ensuring a degree of uniformity in what constitutes a claimable critical illness.

The Evolving Nature of CIC Policies

CIC policies have morphed over time, with most adopting a reviewable structure. This means premiums are guaranteed only for a certain part of the term, typically the first five years.

Such flexibility allows insurers to adapt to the dynamic landscape of medical advancements, which could affect the frequency and timing of claims due to earlier diagnoses.

The Role of Medical Advancements

As medical science advances, so does the early detection of illnesses, a double-edged sword for CIC policies.

On one hand, it means potentially life-saving early treatment for the insured. On the other, it poses a financial recalibration for insurers, necessitating policy reviews that are not contingent on the individual policyholder’s health but on the broader trajectory of medical advancements.

Beyond the Lump Sum

CIC’s utility extends beyond the immediate financial relief following a diagnosis. It encompasses a spectrum of practical needs, from home modifications and special transportation to additional medical care and unforeseen expenses.

Moreover, CIC plays a pivotal role in debt protection, especially for mortgages, ensuring that significant financial obligations are not a burden during a health crisis.

CIC in Business Protection

Beyond personal finance, CIC serves as a critical instrument in business protection insurance, safeguarding a business against the financial ramifications of a key person’s critical illness.

Trusts and CIC

When CIC is combined with life insurance, employing a split trust becomes crucial. This ensures the critical illness payout goes directly to the insured, while any death benefit is reserved for the beneficiaries through the trust.

This strategic use of trusts maximizes the policy’s benefits and ensures compliance with inheritance tax considerations.

CIC as a Safety Net

Critical Illness Cover has cemented its place as an indispensable component of financial planning, offering a robust safety net against the unpredictability of health crises.

In the ever-evolving domain of personal and business finance, understanding and leveraging Critical Illness Cover can be a game-changer.

 It’s not just about surviving a health crisis; it’s about thriving beyond it.

This communication is for informational purposes only based on our understanding of current legislation and practices which are subject to change and are not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice, investment recommendations or investment research. You should seek advice from a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information contained in this communication is correct, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions.

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