Norwich Union (NU) has relaunched its Safeguard income protection product with improved benefits and pricing.

NU Healthcare spokesman Nick Horner said income protection could mean the difference between keeping and losing their home for anyone who cannot work through sickness or injury.

"Anyone unable to work for longer periods of time can feel reassured that income protection benefits will take over at the end of their mortgage payment protection claim period," said Horner.

He said only 11% of the working population had income cover, in contrast to almost 66% of financial advisers.

"We hope these improvements will help advisers to help their clients value income protection as much as they clearly do," he said.

The new Safeguard is more flexible and has two additional deferred periods of 56 and 112 weeks.

Buyers can cover in a variety of circumstances, without futher medical underwriting, policy charge or minimum premium.

Other features include:

  • guaranteed insurability option allow-ing buyers to increase their cover due to life events such as an increase in mortgage, marriage, parenthood or a salary change
  • hospital benefits of £75 a night after seven consecutive nights, paid for 90 further nights
  • lump sum death benefit to be paid if the claimant dies during the first year of incapacity benefit payment;
  • retirement benefit of three times the monthly benefit
  • career-break option that would allow clients to decrease their cover and premium to that of a person who cares for the home
  • personal capability assessment to assess incapacity for people who care for the home, the unemployed, part-time workers and people in high risk occupations.

    NU has also increased the maximium benefit for housewives to £12,000 per year.

    Horner said increased benefits were not the only improvements to Safeguard.

    "We've taken the opportunity to improve our new business pricing so that we remain highly competitive," he said.