UK financial services provider Virgin Money has launched the Big V, the first insurance policy aimed at helping people with the financial impact of cancer.

Although many insurers offer critical illness cover that covers the policy holder in the event of stopping work because of an illness, this is the first specifically targeted at cancer. The policy is paid out depending on severity, with 10% paid out on an early diagnosis and 25% paid out at the intermediate stage. The staggered pay-outs are designed to keep the premiums affordable.

Virgin Money says in a statement that although people in the UK have a one in six chance of getting cancer before the age of 70, 65% of Britons have no formal financial arrangements in place to maintain their income of cancer stopped them from working.

Virgin Money chairman Richard Branson said: We’re hammering down the cost of cancer protection and offering the most comprehensive cancer cover available in the UK. The staged lump sum payouts mean quicker payout of cash which will help our customers to focus on recovery and not worrying about their finances.

Under Virgin Cancer Cover, a male aged 35 next birthday, a non-smoker in good health, applying for GBP100,000 worth of Virgin Cancer Cover over a 25 year term would pay around GBP23.06 a month. This compares to around GBP52.65 at HSBC Life (UK) and around GBP48.06 at Standard Life for critical illness cover.