Critical Illness: Equitable launches juvenile coverage

By Sophie Boltz | August 19 2011 07:17PM

EquiLiving has been revamped. On July 25, Equitable Life made its critical illness product available to children. In an interview with The Insurance and Investment Journal, Natasha Krivokapic, director of individual product development and marketing at Equitable, noted that this is the first time the insurer has offered juvenile coverage.
Children aged 30 days to 17 years old can now be insured against five childhood illnesses. These are type 1 diabetes mellitus, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, congenital heart disease, and cerebral palsy.

EquiLiving is also offering new features for adults as well as children. The early detection benefit has been increased to 15% of the amount of insurance, up to a maximum of $50,000.

The return of premium at surrender has been simplified. As for the return of premiums at death, it is now optional.

Equitable Life says that these changes allow more flexibility to design coverage that meets the needs of customers. In addition, the insurer is wording definitions in such a way that they are easy to understand. Ms. Krivokapic points out that EquiLiving is available across Canada, with features explained in both English and French.

Product pricing depends on a number of factors. It varies according to selected features, health status, and the age of the person for whom it is intended, says Ms. Krivokapic. EquiLiving coverage is renewable every ten years until age 75, and the company says its rates are among the most competitive in the industry.

Accessible to families

Equitable says it is positioning this product for the middle class. Ms. Krivokapic notes that the market for critical illness insurance is growing in Canada, and says that the insurer wants to make its offering more accessible to families. The product continues to address the needs of adults, covering 25 conditions. The list includes heart attack, stroke, blindness, deafness, paralysis and coma.

By launching a children’s product, Equitable is going after a segment occupied by other players. Blue Cross has been offering its standalone Tangible product since 2007; designed specifically for the youth market in Quebec and Ontario, it covers 29 diseases. For its part, Great-West sells Oasis for children while its sister company, Canada Life, offers LifeAdvance as a standalone product for children. Standard Life also offers coverage for children through its Protecta product.

Other insurers offer juvenile CI coverage as a rider, including AXA Insurance, Empire Life, Manulife Financial, Industrial Alliance, and La Capitale.