Critical illness (CI) insurance claims have plummeted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to one of the country’s main life offices.
Legal & General said that it received just over 40% fewer claims in April than was expected – and it is urging customers with medical conditions to visit their GP and, in the unfortunate event they have a critical illness, make a claim.
Analysis by The Health Foundation suggests there was a 30% fall in GP appointments in March 2020. It seems that individuals have been reluctant to visit the doctor either because they do not want to “be a burden” on the NHS or they are worried about the potential of coronavirus infection if they visit their GP surgery.
Legal & General’s statistics show that 41% fewer policyholders claimed on their CI insurance in April than the typical figure of around 300 claims a month.
These figures reflect recent research by The Health Foundation, which showed that face-to-face GP appointments in England have steadily declined since January 2020, falling nearly six million by March.
A spokesman for Legal & General said that that delaying visiting a GP to proceed with getting a diagnosis will have no impact on whether customers are able to claim.
But he said the insurer is encouraging people with symptoms to visit their GP “as soon as possible” in order to catch any critical illnesses early and have the best chance of a successful prognosis.
Ali Crossley, Managing Director, Distribution, at Legal & General added: “We wholeheartedly back the advice given by Public Health England that the NHS is everybody’s service, and nobody should be forgotten.
“We are living through uncertain and unprecedented times, but while our attention is focused on the Covid-19 outbreak, there are still thousands of people each and every day experiencing symptoms of a critical illness such as cancer or heart disease.
“Nobody ever wants to be in a situation where they are suffering from a critical illness, and we understand that people will be particularly worried in the current crisis as they agonise over visiting their GP or hospital. We support the NHS’ calls that anyone experiencing symptoms of a critical illness seek medical advice. In these uncertain times, our customers can be certain that we are here to support them at what may be some of the most challenging times in their lives.”