Exeter Friendly debut innovative income protection'Bills & Things' offers alternative to PPI
27 January 2010
Exeter Family Friendly's new Bills & Things plan is a new type of short-term income protection covering your financial commitments rather than your salary.
The new product allows consumers to choose from between £500 and £1,000 a month to cover their most important regular bills should they not be able to work due to illness or injury. The only other decision they need to make is whether they want the cover to be payable for one or two years.
A real alternative to PPI
Launching the new plan, Richard Wyatt-Haines of Exeter Family Friendly said: 'Bills & Things is a simple, affordable plan that we hope customers will see the benefit of. People get ill or injure themselves so they cannot work, but life has to go on. The bills still need to be paid. Anything we can do to reduce the protection gap has to be a good thing.'
Which? principal researcher Teresa Fritz commented: 'This is a real alternative to PPI. The plan offers far more comprehensive cover than PPI, often at a much lower cost. In addition, it's an underwritten plan as opposed to exclusion-based so it takes into account your own medical circumstances. This means there should be no nasty surprises if you need to claim.'
Simplified private medical insurance plan also launched
As well as Bills & Things, Exeter Family Friendly has also launched Health & Stuff, a new private medical insurance plan that replaces a table of individual benefit limits with a single annual limit or ‘pot’ of cover.
A customer can choose one of the ‘pots’ of cover (£2,500, £5,000, £10,000 and £20,000 each year) based on their assessment of the sorts of treatment they want cover for and what they feel they can afford. Exeter Family Friendly will pay 90% of eligible costs up to the annual limit and the customer has to pay the remaining 10%, plus any costs that are not covered by the Health & Stuff. The policy is also fully underwritten so the customer knows at the outset if any pre-existing conditions are not covered.
New consumer-friendly 'kitchen' website
To go with the new products, Exeter Family Friendly has launched a new consumer website. The layout of the website is based on a family kitchen, and includes policy documents and other useful information. This first release of the website allows a customer to get a quote and apply for Bills & Things or Health & Stuff, as well as linking to a database of useful health information and, for a limited period, offering families who register three months' free access to a 24-hour GP telephone helpline.
Commenting on the new website, Richard Wyatt-Haines said: 'Families live an awful lot of their lives together at the kitchen table, so we thought it made sense to use the kitchen and the table in our Exeter Family website. We will have got it right if the website makes it easier for people to understand what we are trying to do, which is quite simply to cover the bills when you can’t work and pay for medical treatment to help you get better quicker.
'Consumers have told us they don’t engage with insurers and some don’t trust them. We want to change this, to develop meaningful relationships and to offer simple, yet crucial products and services that protect the family from the cost and impact of ill health.'
Expert protection advice from Which?
To find out more about income protection, read the free Which? guide to understanding protection insurance. For more details on private medical insurance, read our expert guide to choosing health insurance.
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