Non-disclosure campaign sees further increase in critical illness payments during 2007

Article date: 30 June 2008

During 2007 Norwich Union further increased the total number of critical illness payments by 4.7%, from 80% in 2006 to 84.7%. According to the insurer's latest Critical Illness Claims Report, figures also reveal a reduction in non-disclosure decline rates to just 3.8%. This follows a series of initiatives over recent months to help drive down non-disclosure.

Norwich Union paid out over £107 million to policyholders who claimed on their Critical Illness (CI) policies over the last 12 months - the largest sum the company has ever paid out. Some key highlights include:

  • Total payouts for CI policies increased to over £107 million, compared to just over £90 million in 2006.
  • The number of claims rejected for non-disclosure of medical facts at the policy's outset continued to fall to just 3.8% in 2007, from 9% in the previous year and 12% in 2005.
  • Claims rejected due to criteria not met also continued to fall to 8% in 2007, compared to 11% in 2005 and 9% in 2006.
  • Cancer remains the most common cause for a claim at 63.6%.
  • In total, 1,411 claims were paid and the average payout was just over £76,000.

The top five causes for claims in 2007 were:

  • Cancer 63.6%
  • Heart attack 11%
  • Multiple sclerosis 5.7%
  • Stroke 5.4%
  • Total permanent disability 5.3%

Six times as many men (18.6%) claimed for a heart attack than women (2.8%), and almost five times more males (7.1%) claimed for heart surgery. In contrast, a quarter more women (77.1%) claimed for cancer than men (50.8%).

In 2007 a typical critical illness policy had been in force for just over five years (average of five years and six months) at the time of claim.

Darren Dicks, head of protection products for Norwich Union, comments: "In the UK a quarter of the population will be diagnosed with a critical illness between the ages of 30 and 60. Critical illness policies help people to ease the financial burden at a time when they perhaps need it most, when faced with the prospect of not being able to work or to care for themselves.

"In 2007 Norwich Union paid out more than £107 million to such people, the largest amount to date.

"However, critical illness claims can only be paid if the customer has a valid policy and their claim meets the policy criteria. Many insurers face harsh criticism for not paying claims, but the system is a two-way street where customers and their advisers need to play their part. Critical illness cover is not a ‘catch-all' insurance, but offers financial assistance against a range of specified serious conditions.

"In order to ensure that a claim will be met, people need to ensure they have a valid policy - by fully disclosing on their application - and checking that their illness meets the criteria of the policy provided. If this was done in 100% of cases, 100% of claims would be paid."-ends-

Press office contacts:
Louise Soulsby 01904 452617 Out of hours 07800 695226
Emma Broadbent 01904 452791 Out of hours 07800 692935

Notes to editors

  • Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer. It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest Financial Adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.
  • Norwich Union is the UK's largest general insurer with a market share of around 14%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.
  • Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media

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