Scottish Widows has published details of its critical illness cover claims, showing that between November 2007 and October 2008 an average of £543,000 was paid out each week. This is equivalent to more than £28 million over the 12-month period.
For the third year in a row, the number of claims turned down as a result of non-disclosure has reduced, with it now down to 2% (5% the previous year).
Richard Jones at Scottish Widows says, “We are pleased to have increased the claims we have paid and to have significantly reduced the number of claims declined due to non-disclosure. Critical Illness cover is extremely important as illness can affect us at any time. Our aim is to raise awareness of the benefits of critical illness cover. We want to play a key role in helping people take control and prepare for the unforeseen, being there to support and provide them with money when they need it most.”
Over the course of 2008, the main three reasons for a claim were cancer, heart related and stroke. The average age for female claimants was 45, with men three years older at 48.
The average term of policy at claim is five years and cancer is still the main reason for a claim by both men and women, with breast cancer affecting 51% of female cancer claimants and testicular cancer affecting 10% of males.
Cervical (5%), ovarian (5%) and malignant melanoma (5%) were the other most claimed for cancers for females, whilst for men it was Hodgkin's lymphoma (9%) and lung cancer (9%).
Critical illness cover is designed to insure against the most common types of severe critical illnesses and as a result not all critical illnesses or severity of illness are covered. The number of claims declined because they weren't covered by the policy was 10%. Scottish Widows are working to reduce this figure by ensuring they are transparent about what is covered in all communications and conversations.