Canstar’s Direct Income Protection Awards are calculated using a sophisticated and unique rating methodology that compares both cost and features across direct income protection policies – that is, income protection policies bought directly from the provider instead of purchasing through a financial advisor.
After crunching the numbers, Canstar has announced two award winners – NobleOak and Virgin Money (listed below in alphabetical order).
NobleOak was named a winner in 2018 for the third year running, achieving a high score across all customer profiles for its Income Protection Insurance.
Canstar Research was impressed by NobleOak’s customer-friendly claim payment terms, including the fact they accept proof of income gained more than 12-months prior to a customer becoming disabled. The company’s policy benefits and options also stood out, with NobleOak offering a death benefit of up to $75,000 and waiving premiums for up to 12 months in the event the insured person becomes unemployed or is on maternity leave.
In addition, Canstar Research found NobleOak offered standout facilities for claim payment terms, policy benefits and options as well as standard company terms. For example, NobleOak does not exclude policy holders if their claim was made as a result of mental illness, and offer a partial disability benefit of reduced payments.
See below table for a snapshot of the current products on offer from NobleOak, based on a 30-39 year old male, in a white collar occupation who is not a smoker.
Virgin Money retained the Direct Income Protection Award for the second year running for its Tailored Income Protection.
Canstar Research found Virgin Money’s products performed above the 5-Star average in terms of ease of application, the claims process and support facilities on offer.
Virgin also rose above the crowd for its policy terms, and policy benefits and options offered to people needing cover for recurrent disability, redundancy and other benefits and options for policies with a specified injury or illness option, and those that provide cover for recurrent disability and redundancy cover.
See below table for a snapshot of the current products on offer from Virgin Money, based on a 30-39 year old non-smoking female, in a medium collar occupation.
How are Canstar Direct Income Protection Ratings calculated?
In rating direct income protection policies, Canstar recognises institutions that offer outstanding value to consumers. Awards are given to insurers who offer outstanding value cover based on the cumulative score across 80 profiles.
To be eligible for the Canstar Direct Income Protection Award for Outstanding Value, a policy had to meet certain criteria, including:
- Cover for sickness and accident (i.e. it is not accident-only cover)
- The provider must have operated in the market for 12 months or longer
- Membership not restricted solely to members of a specific organisation
- It must be available directly to the consumer without an intermediary
- For comparison purposes it must offer a 28 or 30-day waiting period and a two-year benefit period
- Quotes must be available:
- Directly from the provider, online or from rates in the Product Disclosure Statement.
- At all coverage amounts and for all occupations we consider.