One of Britain’s biggest life insurance companies has recorded a huge fall in the number of claims it has received on critical illness (CI) insurance policies during lockdown.
Aegon UK said that in May, 37% fewer policyholders claimed on their CI policies compared to the same month last year.
CI claims in the month of April were also lower than April the previous year by 17%.
Simon Jacobs, Head of Underwriting and Claims at Aegon UK, said that it is “worrying” that lockdown seems to be making individuals face up to or deal with potentially life-threatening illnesses, even if their intentions are well-meant.
Jacobs said: “The claims team [at Aegon UK] has worked really hard to support families of those who have lost loved ones during this time.
“The impact of lockdown can be clearly seen in the volume of CI claims and it’s worrying.
“People being mindful of burdening the NHS, might have delayed a GP visit or might have missed early detection due to limited screenings for things like breast and bowel cancer.
Jacobs said that as NHS services resume in full and lockdown loosens, there could be a “steady” increase in claims over the coming months.
He said: “Early detection is important when it comes to cancer and treatment options so we would urge those who have a health concern to seek medical advice as soon as they can.”
Cancer accounted for 60% of CI claims in 2019 and continued to be the key cause for CI claims during the lockdown period.
A spokesman for Aegon UK said the provider has received only two coronavirus-related CI claims so far.
However, the spokesman said that Aegon UK has seen an increase in life claims received in both April and May this year compared to 2019.
April 2020 saw an 83% increase on life insurance claims during the same month in 2019.
There was also a 58% increase in the number of life insurance claims received in May this year compared to May 2019.
Around a third (31%) of the life insurance claims received in April and May were related to coronavirus.
The average age of life insurance claimant during April and May was 64, with 80% of claimants being male. In addition to this, Aegon reported that fewer accident-related life insurance claims were received.
Jacobs added: “An increase in life claims is expected during a global health crisis of this scale. However, the rise was slightly countered by the impact of lockdown life. With more people staying in and staying safe, there was a reduced risk of deaths caused by road traffic accidents for example.
“We hope that our customers remember the support that comes with their Aegon protection policy in the form of access to the health and wellbeing service, provided by Health Assured. It provides confidential, compassionate counselling and on-demand web and mobile support tools for a range of issues including bereavement, medical diagnosis, emotional health, relationships, family concerns, finances, debt, legal issues, and consumer rights and it’s times like this that people should take full advantage of these additional services.”