Royal & SunAlliance is targeting the undersold critical illness insurance market with a new group product.

The insurer claims that it is the first product in the market to give employees the option of removing the "related conditions" option.

The policy provides a lump sum to employees to assist immediate financial need following the diagnosis of a critical illness. This can be up to seven times the employee's salary.

RSA corporate business leader Peter Anderson said: "The group critical illness market grew by 75% last year but is still relatively underdeveloped in comparison to other employee benefits.

"There are excellent opportunities for both experienced employee benefit consultants and IFAs new to the corporate business market."

New figures reveal nearly 250,000 people in the UK are told they have life-threatening cancer each year, and 150,000 people suffer a heart attack.

Of people diagnosed with cancer five years ago, 40% are still alive today.

RSA currently has a 15.9% share of the UK group life and income protection markets, providing protection-related employee benefit schemes to about 8,500 employers covering almost 1.25 million employees.