British Friendly has made several changes to improve the flexibility of income protection products in its Protect and Breathing Space ranges.
The insurer said it was aiming to support more clients including those who can struggle to source cover such as the self-employed, those working in higher risk occupations or those with fluctuating incomes.
Changes launched from 12 November across all products include underwriting occupations upfront for the entire product lifecycle so that members that change occupation throughout the term of the policy do not have to be underwritten again.
Members can opt for claim benefits to be paid directly to their mortgage provider avoiding any impact on Universal Credit means-tested benefits while GP and UK residency criteria is cut to two years from three years.
Two new guaranteed insurability options are being introduced to include rental and salary increases. And deferred periods on both Protect and Breathing Space are being extended by adding the options of 26 and 52 weeks.
Waiver of premium will match deferred periods and members can opt to have claims paid weekly or monthly to suit their personal financial needs.
The mutual has also announced changes to its Breathing Space short-term income protection including increasing the product end age to 70 from 65 and offering the same guaranteed insurability options as the rest of the product range including marriage and civil partnerships, birth and adoption, new mortgages, or mortgage increases, rent rises and salary increases.
In September the insurer reintroduced day one and week one cover for new applicants as part of its unwinding of Covid restrictions.
Natalie Summerson, sales and marketing director at British Friendly, said: “The latest enhancements maintain our focus on building a more inclusive offering at a time when income protection is even more relevant, valuable and needed.
“Our most recent changes recognise the need for greater flexibility, not just at point of sale but throughout the entire product term as well as at claim stage.”