24 August 2023


Guardian has paid its first critical illness claim under its unique cover upgrade promise. Cover upgrade is Guardian’s promise to check a claim against both the critical illness definitions that the customer bought, as well as the critical illness definitions for new customers, and to pay out if the claim is valid under either.

Cover upgrade was introduced by Guardian when it launched in 2018 and is a central part of the firm’s approach to providing better customer outcomes. Guardian believes that existing customers should always be treated as well as new customers, and cover upgrade helps to improve fairness and trust in the protection insurance industry.

Details of the claim

In this claim, which was for Parkinson’s, the cover was taken out in July 2019 when Guardian’s Parkinson’s disease definition was:

  • A definite diagnosis by a UK Consultant Neurologist of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. There must be permanent clinical impairment of motor function with associated tremor and rigidity of movement.

Guardian upgraded its definition for Parkinson’s in October 2019 and wrote to all existing customers to let them know that their definition had been upgraded free of charge. The definition for customers today is:

  • A definite diagnosis by a UK Consultant Neurologist. There must be permanent clinical impairment of motor function. This impairment should include either an associated tremor or muscle rigidity.

In this claim, the customer had received a definite diagnosis by a UK Consultant of Parkinson’s and had an associated tremor; they were not, however, yet experiencing muscle rigidity. The definition would not have been met in the contract the customer bought in July 2019, however under cover upgrade, Guardian was able to assess the claim against the current critical illness Parkinson’s definition on sale and was able to pay the claim.

Phil Deacon, Guardian Head of Claims, said: “We’re delighted to be able to pay our customer’s Parkinson’s claim as a result of our cover upgrade promise. This claim shows why cover upgrade is such an important and valuable feature of Guardian’s critical illness cover and it speaks to exactly what we’re trying to achieve as a business. What’s more, through our bespoke HALO claims service and specifically our partnership with Krysalis, we’re able to provide our customer with access to specialist neurological support to help them come to terms with their condition and to manage it.”

Specialist neurological support

After listening to the customer’s concerns about their Parkinson’s diagnosis, the claims team provided a referral through HALO to Krysalis for specialist neurological occupational therapy, which comes free as part of their policy. Working with the customer, Krysalis provided a baseline assessment and 6 therapeutic sessions addressing their specific concerns, which included fear of the condition and how to manage it. The customer was given help with fatigue management, helping them pace themselves better through the day to prevent symptoms of the condition worsening. They were also given lifestyle modifications and strategies to manage their condition, help to manage their perception of self, mindfulness and relaxation techniques, support and guidance about how to access NHS services, and support with challenges to do with facial expression.

The customer – who works as a financial adviser – said: “As an adviser, when Guardian came to market with its critical illness policy and its cover upgrade promise, I could see it was special, and that was part of the reason I took out this cover for myself. I’m so pleased I did, not just because of cover upgrade which means my claim has been paid, but also because of the support I’ve received through HALO and my referral to Krysalis. The therapy sessions with Krysalis have helped me to process and organise my thoughts about my Parkinson’s diagnosis. When I was first diagnosed, I had a very bleak outlook, but the therapy has helped me see things differently. I now hold a much more positive outlook for the future.”

Phil Deacon continued: “This customer’s experience demonstrates exactly why we take a bespoke approach to claims support. The challenges of a Parkinson’s diagnosis are complicated and unique to the individual. It underlines the importance of our partnership with Krysalis and their expertise in supporting people with neurological conditions. This, combined with the specialisms of our other HALO partners, helps us to provide personal and valuable claims support for our customers.”


-Release ends-

Notes to editors:

Press enquiries to Natalie Robinson, 07789 501146,

Guardian Financial Services is an appointed representative of Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority.

All products are provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited and we have an agreement with them to underwrite and issue the protection policies we distribute through the UK intermediary channel.

As an appointed representative of Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited, Guardian Financial Services Limited is the market-facing brand under which we promote our proposition and engage with advisers.

Background to Guardian Financial Services, owned by Gryphon Group Holdings

Guardian, the life and protection insurance business, launched in 2018 and pledged to grow the protection market. The brand promise of ‘Life. Made Better.’ reflects the company’s commitment to rethink and reinvent protection for the better; making sure customers get cover that’s easier to understand, simple to buy and designed to never let them down.

Guardian’s business partners

Gryphon Group Holdings is majority owned by Punter Southall Group as the largest equity capital investor. Guardian partners with UnderwriteMe for its Underwriting Engine, Liss Systems, the UK arm of Nasdaq-listed EXL, for its policy administration technology, and Space, for its front-end technology, branding and marketing. Guardian’s reinsurance partners are Hannover Re and Gen Re.