BAR. Same rider. Just better.
Effective October 16, 2017 Prudential is enhancing the BenefitAccess Rider (BAR) on PruLife Universal Protector and VUL Protector. BAR has always enabled your clients to access their death benefit if they became chronically or terminally ill and met the terms of the rider. With the enhancements in place, the benefit is more flexible and can be used in more situations than ever before.
What’s new about BAR?
The biggest enhancement is around the qualification requirements:
- Prior to October 16, individuals could only qualify for chronic illness benefits if they were certified as unlikely to recover.
- After October 16, individuals can also qualify for chronic illness benefits if they are expected to be chronically ill for at least 90 days, even if they are expected to eventually recover. Depending on the expected duration of the illness, an elimination period may apply.
How does this benefit clients?
- Clients can use BAR in more situations.
- Clients who qualify will be able to access benefits, even if they are expected to recover.
- As always, clients can use the money for anything they choose – no receipts, no restrictions.
How is chronic illness defined?
Being chronically ill means that means the insured has been certified by a licensed health care professional as:
- Being unable to perform (without substantial assistance from another individual) at least two activities of daily living for a period of at least 90 days due to a loss of function capacity, or
- Requiring substantial supervision for protection from threats to health and safety due to sever cognitive impairment.
This definition would include accidents and conditions where recovery is delayed, but eventually occurs.
For example, these conditions may include, but are not limited to:
- Serious automobile accidents
- Some brain and spinal cord injuries
- Some fractures and surgical procedures
- Any other medical condition that causes a chronic illness where recovery is expected
What is the elimination period?
The new version of BAR can still offer benefit payments with no elimination period. Depending on the expected duration of the claim, an elimination period may apply. The determination is made at the time of the claim.
For Individuals Expected to Recover
If the insured is certified as chronically ill with an expectation that they will recover from the condition (and all other conditions of eligibility are met), a 90-day elimination period will apply. The elimination period is 90 consecutive calendar days and begins on the day Prudential received written certification that the insured is chronically ill. The insured can expect benefit payments to begin following the elimination period.
For Individuals Unlikely to Recover
If the insured is certified as chronically ill and not likely to recover from the chronic illness condition (and all other conditions of eligibility are met), benefit payments will begin promptly after Prudential approves the claim – no elimination period will apply.
Please note: Both individuals expected to recover and those not expected to recover will need to be re-certified on an annual basis.
Will the application process be impacted?
The application process and supplemental BAR underwriting questions will not change.
Is there a change in price?
The cost of BAR has increased modestly to reflect the more flexible design. The increase in BAR price depends on the age, gender, and underwriting class of the insured.
Which products will offer the enhanced BAR?
Starting October 16, 2017, the enhanced BAR will be available on the following products:
- PruLife Universal Protector
- VUL Protector
We will continue to offer the current version of BAR on all other products that offer the rider. Eventually, the enhanced version will be made available on those products as well.
Please note: Availability of the enhanced version of BAR on VUL Protector is contingent on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) completing the review of the revised rider and prospectus.
What are the key dates?
October 16, 2017 is the “Ready to Sell Date.” On this date, the new version of BAR will be in effect on those products where states have approved it and changes will be reflected in our sales illustration system. States that approve the re-pricing after October 16, 2017 will have their “Ready to Sell Date” and “Transition Period End Date” adjusted.
As with prior product revisions, a transition period will apply, allowing clients to choose the older version of BAR, if desired. Detailed transition rules will be communicated separately, prior to launch.