NU Online News Service, Jan. 14, 2004, 1:23 p.m. EST – John Hancock Life Insurance Company, Boston, has introduced the Custom Care II long term care insurance policy.[@@]

The new version of the Custom Care product adds a return-of-premium benefit and an accident benefit aimed at relatively young consumers, Hancock says.

The return-of-premium benefit can help the families of insureds who die before age 65. The beneficiary of an insured who dies young will get a payment equal to the amount of premiums not spent on claims.

The accident benefit can help insureds who live but end up needing long term care because they suffer catastrophic accidents. The benefit pays for LTC expenses up to 200% of the insured’s current daily or monthly benefit for the entire duration of the claim if the claim is the result of an accidental injury that occurs before age 65.

The new product also gives consumers a choice between buying an enhanced guaranteed purchase option and a 5%/3% compound inflation option.

Consumers who choose the enhanced GPO can pay to increase the benefit by 5%, 10% or 15% every 3 years without evidence of insurability. The purchaser also gets an option to pay to convert to ordinary compound inflation protection at age 65.

The 5%/3% compound inflation protection option increases the benefit by 5% per year while increasing the policy limit by 3% per year.

Other changes include bigger discounts for spouses and domestic partners who buy LTC coverage together; expansion of a rider that helps couples share policy values; the removal of the old $150-per-day cap on a benefit pool that helps policyholders stay at home; and the addition of a 5% “loyalty credit” for any holder of an existing Hancock LTC policy who replaces the old policy with the new Customer Care II policy.

John Hancock Life is a unit of John Hancock Financial Services Inc., Boston.