Scottish Widows has published its critical illness claims history.
From January 2000 to October 2007, Scottish Widows paid out over £150 million for over 4,540 critical illness claims.
In the year up to October 2007 over £29 million was paid out on 847 critical illness claims.
Ninety five percent of all critical illness claims fell into just five categories:
- Cancer (61%)
- Heart Related (21%)
- Stroke (7%)
- Multiple sclerosis (4%)
- Children's cover (2%)
Looking more deeply at the cancer claims, the most common causes of male cancer claims were testicular (10%), Hodgkin's/Lymphoma (10%) and Lung (10%) and for females it was breast (53%), cervical (5%) and ovarian (5%).
The average age of a female claimant is 44 years, and the average age of a male claimant is 47 years. Policies were held for an average of 4 years and 11 months before a claim was made.
Through publishing its claims history, Scottish Widows illustrates that most claims are paid and highlights the reasons why some claims are declined.
Of the claims received during the 12 months from October 2006 to October 2007, 5% have been declined because the customer failed to disclose material information when the policy was taken out.
A further 9% of claims were unsuccessful because the reason for making the claim was not actually covered by the policy definition.
This is the second year Scottish Widows has increased the proportion of successful claims.
Richard Jones, protection market director at Scottish Widows, said: "The need for financial protection for both the family and business has never been greater, especially with more families relying on two incomes and the increase in the number of people who are self employed. Yet lack of consumer confidence is contributing to people failing to take out the valuable protection that they and their dependants need. To ensure our literature is clear and to minimise the opportunity for misunderstandings, Scottish Widows regularly reviews and gets feedback on our application forms and customer literature. The differences that this and other initiatives can make are clear when you see that last year we paid out more in claims than previous years and we're paying out a higher percentage of claims. In fact we have reduced the proportion of claims declined due to non-disclosure by 41% (from 8.4% of claims in 2006 to 5% of claims in 2007). The vast majority of critical illness claims are paid and the difference this makes to someone's life, at a very difficult time, can be immense. Unfortunately there are cases where the claim is declined, but the majority of these are avoidable. There are simple steps that can be taken to ensure you don't fall into this category, such as completing the application form fully. Also, if you aren't sure whether something is important then it's better to include it than not and if you remember something at a later date, just let us know."
To support the claims process, and to reinforce a commitment to treat customers fairly, the company has a Claims Panel. The panel reviews all provisionally declined borderline claims and all provisionally declined critical illness claims for children. The panel is independent of the usual Claims process, with a selection of protection experts and non-experts. The Panel reviews cases and has the ability to overturn provisional recommendations.