Scottish Widows has updated the critical illness definitions for Scottish Widows Protect, its intermediary proposition.

The key change has been to introduce one additional payment for cancer in situ requiring surgery. 

This means that no matter where the site of the cancer in situ is, an additional payment will be made where surgical intervention is required.

This replaces the existing five separate cancer in situ additional payment definitions, removing the dependency on site and extending the coverage of the policy.  

The payments for the additional conditions will be equal to £25,000 or 25% of the sum assured, whichever is lower, and will not affect the main sum assured.

At the same time, the current additional conditions for cancer in situ have been maintained, where treatment other than surgery is needed.

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With more than 200 types of cancer in existence, and cancer being the single biggest cause of critical illness claim, Scottish Widows said this change will make cover simpler and clearer for advisers and customers.  

The company has also made the following updates:

  • Combined Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia into one definition, as both are assessed in exactly the same way at claim stage.


  • Removed the existing blanket drug and alcohol exclusions from five conditions including liver failure and cardiomyopathy.



  • Raised the maximum age of children’s critical illness and children’s life cover to age 22(previously 21), in line with the state view of parental responsibility, as well as extending coverage for children under the intensive care and brain injury definitions.



  • Adapted the Motor Neurone disease definition to include specific diseases covered, while extending cover to include Kennedy’s Disease and Spinal Muscular Atrophy.


Scott Cadger, head of underwriting and claims strategy at Scottish Widows, said: “Advances in medical science have led to earlier detection of illnesses and greater survival rates, and we recognise that as people’s needs evolve, our critical illness policy wording needs to adapt accordingly.”

Cadger added: “Removing complexity will also make things clearer and simpler for advisers and clients alike, with no complicated policy conditions to work out at that all-important point of claim.”

View from the industry

Alan Lakey, director, CI Expert, said: It’s encouraging to see insurers adding real value and not playing the condition counting game. One of the areas that confuses and confounds consumers is being told their cancer does not qualify. By including every in situ cancer requiring surgery, Scottish Widows has removed this particular bone of contention.

“Additionally, reducing the number of conditions by placing them within an over-arching condition title – Dementia, Motor neurone disease and Parkinson Plus syndromes – assists in reducing the scope for confusion caused by listing every variation of a similar condition."