Over the last few years many insurers have started to have a much more pro-active approach to client health as well as the traditional reactive approach of paying a financial sum when something happens. Many added value benefits have been added to plans designed to help consumers better engage with their wellbeing whether mental or physical in order to prevent any conditions escalating to the point where a claim may need to be paid. This week we look at GP services, which are another example of this where insurers offer clients flexible access to GPs via a range of channels.

Currently, only a small number of providers offer a GP service with their policies. The table below shows which products these providers offer their service with.

Of the above providers, only Legal & General offer their GP service as a contractual benefit but unlike the others, their GP24 service comes at an additional cost of £3.25 per month. In addition to the GP service, the GP24 service also offers a private consultation concierge service which helps clients locate private consultants, specialists and hospitals.

The GP services offered by these providers offer unlimited access to their GPs with the exception of LV= who limit usage to 5 appointments per year. Use of GP services can extend beyond the life assured, some providers also allow members of their immediate family to access the benefit. The chart below shows who each provider makes their GP services available to.

As the graph shows, Guardian, Legal & General and LV= all allow the life assured’s children to use their GP services however, each provider has a different rule on the maximum age they can access the benefit. Guardian set a maximum age of 9 while LV= will provide their service to children up to the age of 16. Legal & General on the other hand do not set a limit on the age at which children of the life assured can access the benefit.

GP services can provide access to GPs through multiple communication channels. As it is not always practical for a client to fit an in-person meeting in their schedule, being able to contact a GP online or over the phone can be helpful. Some providers also enable clients to send messages to GPs adding greater flexibility. The chart below details how providers offer their GP services.

Helping clients to make informed decisions is pivotal and the ability for an adviser to provide information or access to information is crucial. Several insurers provide guidance of some sort either verbally or non-verbally. Aviva, Guardian and Zurich cover the most areas within their estate planning guides. The table below highlights which insurers provide documentation and the varying levels of guidance is highlighted.

To make their services more accessible, some providers provide an app through which clients can contact their GPs and have their video meetings. Legal and General and LV= both offer apps for their GP services. With consumers using their mobile devices to carry out more and more of their daily tasks, the provision of an app will be a useful benefit.

To deliver the services, providers partner with third-party medical specialists. Guardian, The Exeter and Legal & General have partnered with Medical Solutions UK. Legal & General have also teamed up with Healix Health Services to deliver their service. LV= on the other hand source their service from Square Health UK.

In addition to consultations, the above providers have prescription services to give clients private prescriptions, if the GP believes medicine is required, saving them to have to visit their local NHS practice. Consumers should be aware however, that the cost of the medicine may be more expensive if obtained with a private prescription rather than through one issued by an NHS GP.

Overall, our research highlights that Guardian have a strong offering as they offer unlimited appointments to the plan holder and their immediate family with their whole product range. For critical illness cover, Legal & General are strong as they do not set a maximum age at which children can access their service.

For Income Protection, The Exeter’s unlimited access to GP services is a bonus whereas LV= extend their service to children up to the age of 16 and provide access through an app.

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