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Getting pregnancy insurance

Sovereign has launched an insurance product just for women.

Thursday, March 20th 2003, 11:39PM

by Sue Allen

Getting pregnancy insurance – you may have thought it could never happen, but under a new product launched by Sovereign, it seems it can.

The new policy, called "WomensCare", is a lump sum trauma product aimed directly at women providing maximum cover of $250,000 for female specific illnesses.

Conditions covered include cancer, including breast cancer, genito-urinary cancer and cervical cancer – for which the insured receives 100% of the sum assured if the cancer is invasive, 25% for early invasive cancer and 10% for carcinoma in situ (pre-invasive cancer).

There is also insurance for conditions like osteoporosis, where policyholders receive 10% of the sum assured for hip and spine fractures, and chronic autoimmune hepatitis, severe endometriosis and systemic lupus erythematosus.

Pregnancy complications like ectopic pregnancy and eclampsia receive 5% of the sum assured.

Unusually, the insurance also extends to third party as it covers congenital abnormalities in children up to age 3 including Down Syndrome, spina bifida, cleft palate and lip and congenital heart disease.

Sovereign’s head of marketing and product management, Vena Crawley, says the product is the first of its kind in New Zealand both in targeting women and in providing stepped payments.

"We understand that no other insurer will provide for partial payouts based on the grading of a condition. Insurers will often payout towards the later end of a condition’s cycle or, in fact, when the condition is 'full blown'. We believe people suffer financially or need help in the earlier cycle of their condition and should get a partial payment to help them cope."

The WomensCare product is one of three new policies just launched by Sovereign.

The company has also launched BusinessCare, aimed at small businesses, and LivingCare, aimed at families. Both provide term life insurance or life insurance with an investment element and a range of bolt-on risk options.

"We acknowledge that the target markets for these flexible long-term products are smaller than existing markets but we have robust enough research showing these markets are of a significant enough size to tap into. The risk we're taking is that this market segment may not grow - but we believe the next 3-5 years will rapidly mitigate that risk," Crawley says.

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