Royal London paid 99.7% of claims in 2019, totalling more than £575m and helping nearly 120,000 customers.
Nearly £145m was paid in life and terminal illness claims. More than 1,300 term life insurance claims were paid, with an average payout of around £80,000 per claim. Terminal illness claims had an average payout of more than £139,000 with 254 claims paid.
£269m was paid in whole of life claims. The average payout was around £2,300 with 115,361 claims paid in total.
Royal London paid on average nearly £74,000 for critical illness (CI) claims with more than £150m paid out in total. Of the CI claims that were declined, the majority did not meet the plan definition.
The most common reasons for a CI claim in 2019 were cancer (65%), heart attack (10%), stroke (6%), children’s CI (5%) and multiple sclerosis (3%). Of the Children’s CI claims paid 53% were for cancer and 15% for open heart surgery. The average age of a CI claimant (excluding children) was 50 years old and the average age of a children’s CI claimant was eight years old.
£3.3 million was paid for income protection (IP) claims. A total of 257 new claims were paid in 2019, with the most common reasons for IP claims being musculoskeletal (43%), cancer (17%) and mental health (12%). The average age of an IP claimant was 40 years old.
Of all protection claims received 0.3% were not paid out due to misrepresentation (0.1%) and not meeting the policy definition (0.2%).
Claims declined due to misrepresentation means the customer did not answer the application questions accurately to the extent that, had the full and correct information been known, cover would not have been offered, or an exclusion would have applied for the condition that the customer was claiming for.
Not meeting the definition typically refers to when an aspect of the policy definition has not been satisfied. In critical illness this could mean the customer had suffered a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) and therefore didn’t satisfy the stroke definition. In income protection this could mean the customer continued to receive their full salary beyond the end of their deferred period so there was no financial loss.
Craig Paterson, interim chief underwriter at Royal London, said: “Last year we paid 99.7% of claims, but we continue to focus on improving our proposition so that we can continue to pay such a high level of claims. Cancer continues to be the most common reason for a critical illness claim and with it being the single biggest risk we all face, it’s important to have comprehensive cover in place. That’s why earlier this year we made improvements to our Critical Illness and Children’s Critical Illness Cover available through our Menu Plans. And in 2019 we paid out for claims on product features we’ve introduced in previous years such as pregnancy related complications and hospitalisation cover.
“Our efforts are also focussed on providing the best claims experience for our customers so we have invested considerably in our claims journey. In light of Covid-19, we have adapted our claims process by taking away, as much as possible, the need for claimants to provide us with wet signatures and original documents to make claims a slicker and more digital experience. We have seen a surge in general enquiries linked to Covid-19 and sadly we have also received a number of Covid-19 related claims.
“Receiving a payout can help to ease the financial strain of bereavement or falling seriously ill, however money can’t always ease the emotional strain. Our Helping Hand service offered through all of our protection policies is available to all customers and their families, so they can receive emotional support they need.”