Insurer Zurich paid 96% of all retail protection claims in 2018, with payments of over £233.4m to customers and their families.
This included 1,798 life insurance customers with payments amounting to over £134.6m. The highest claim paid was for £1.2m with the average being £51,000.
Six claims were declined because of non-disclosure of important medical information when customers applied for cover – for example a history of smoking or alcohol misuse.
Over 912 critical illness (CI) claims were paid last year worth £90.6m, including partial payments for customers diagnosed with less severe illnesses covered by their policies. The largest claim paid was for £2.1m and the average was just over £83,000.
Overall, 91% of CI claims were accepted.
Breast cancer accounted for nearly a quarter of all CI claims (23%), followed by heart attack (13%), stroke (8%) and prostate cancer (6%).
Zurich paid over £600,000 in claims for children, with cancer being the most common cause.
For income protection (IP), 95% of new claims were paid. A minority (5%) of customers did not receive financial support from their policies as they recovered from their illness within their policy’s deferred period.
Payments made to customers with IP policies amounted to £8.2m with an average of 451 claims in payment each month.
The most common causes of IP claims were mental illness including anxiety, stress or depression (28%), followed by cancers (23%), musculoskeletal disorders (10%) and chronic fatigue syndrome (7%).
Peter Hamilton, Zurich’s head of retail protection, said that as well as flexible products and extra support services, Zurich is committed to providing first class service with claims handled sensitively and efficiently.
“When people make a claim we know that they’re usually facing difficult and life changing situations and we’re here to support them to make the whole process as smooth as possible,” he added.