A virgin in life assurance, but that won't stop Branson

His latest wheeze is a range of cheap and cheerful policies
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The Independent Online
Richard Branson's Virgin Direct is offering cheap and cheerful life assurance policies from next month to 18- to 65-year-olds. No one will sell it to you and you have to phone up and buy it. It comes in three separate packages, and pays out if you die.

The Family Capital Protector provides a lump sum amounting to up to two years of your income, which helps to pay off your debts; the Family Income Protector provides a monthly income for five years; the Repayment Mortgage Protector pays off repayment mortgages (endowment mortgages have their own built-in life assurance of course).

Individuals can opt for any one, two policies or all three. If you take out a policy it has to last for at least five years and the upper limit is your 70th birthday. Unlike some conventional insurance cum investment policies, there is no cash-in value.

Only Equitable Life, which reviews premiums with age, comes out cheaper, according to Virgin. A male non-smoker aged 39 taking out pounds 10,000-a-year worth of income protection would pay pounds 24.13 a month, which is the cheapest of a range of 10 leading insurers, the dearest of which is pounds 33.35. A male non-smoker of 30 can buy pounds 50,000-worth of the Family Capital Protector for pounds 7.31 a month and a woman of the same age would pay just pounds 6.

Virgin Survival Plan pays out if you suffer from an accident or any one of 19 named critical illnesses. In this case, if you survive the event for at least 28 days it pays a lump sum to meet debts and a monthly income for five years, whether you make a full recovery or not. It will still pay if you die within the five years. The premiums are individually tailored to personal lifestyles and circumstances and are guaranteed never to rise.

Details: (0345) 959595, 8am to 10pm, 364 days a year.

CLIFFORD GERMAN

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