Children’s charity boss welcomes new insurance policy

Jack & Jill’s Hugo Jellett backs the provision of child-specified illness cover from birth

Jack & Jill Foundation chief executive Hugo Jellett has welcomed the decision by an insurance firm to start providing specified serious illness cover for children from birth. Photograph: Iain White/Fennell

Jack & Jill Foundation chief executive Hugo Jellett has welcomed the decision by an insurance firm to start providing specified serious illness cover for children from birth. Photograph: Iain White/Fennell

 

The chief executive of a leading Irish children’s charity has welcomed the decision by an insurance firm to start providing specified serious illness cover for children from birth.

Jack & Jill Foundation head Hugo Jellett said the decision by Royal London was welcome, particularly following a similar move last year by Irish Life.

He also urged other insurers to follow suit.

Royal London had previously only offered child-specified illness cover from 30 days after birth.

“It is time to applaud Royal London for making what can only be described as a sound ethical choice to change their life cover policy to include seriously-ill children, instead of leaving them on the doorstep of society, like so many of their counterparts still do,” Mr Jellett told The Irish Times.

“In January, Jack & Jill called on life insurance companies to step up to the plate on this issue, and cease to use the small print in the policies to exempt themselves from pay-outs at these desperate times for parents.”

Royal London confirmed that their child-specified serious illness policy covers the same conditions as for parents, except for loss of independent existence, brain injury due to anoxia or hypoxia and intensive care requiring mechanical ventilation for 10 consecutive days.

The company said the policy was designed “to offer a better value, fairer product, [and] . . . this improvement will help to remove the financial worry for all parents caring for a seriously-sick child”.

Last July, Irish Life became the first Irish insurance company to introduce child-specified serious illness cover commencing at birth, with certain conditions attached.

Speaking to The Irish Times at the time, Martin Duffy, head of underwriting and protection claims at Irish Life, said the change was because the company wanted to extend the level of cover it provided for families with seriously-ill children.

Exception

Mr Jellett said providing specified serious illness cover for children from birth remained the exception to the rule.

He said most other companies only start cover at some point between 30 days and six months after birth.

He said such an approach meant any child born with or diagnosed with a life-limiting condition within 30 days of birth was excluded from any critical illness benefit or life cover.

This was very harsh on families struggling to care for a seriously-sick child, he added.