Norwich Union critical illness statistics for 2008

Article date: 25 March 2009

  • Claims declined for non-disclosure at 2%

Norwich Union, soon to be Aviva, paid out 1,625 critical illness (CI) claims during 2008, totalling almost £121 million paid to people in need. This represents an increase of 14% compared to 2007. The company also paid out a further £216 million to the families of loved ones who have died, or been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Key statistics include:

  • Total payouts for CI policies increased to almost £121 million from £106 million in 2007. In total 1,625 claims were paid during 2008.
  • Norwich Union paid 90% of all claims, with the average claim at over £75,000
  • The number of claims declined for non-disclosure of medical facts at the policy's outset fell to 2% for the full year, down from 4% in 2007 and broadly level with those announced for the half year 2008.
  • The number of claims declined as the condition claimed for was not covered by the policy was 8%.
  • Cancer remains the most common cause of claims at 63%.

Michael Whyte, chief underwriter for Norwich Union, said: "It's not until the worst of times that customers see the real benefit of this type of policy.  During 2008, Norwich Union supported over 6,000 families when it really mattered, following the diagnosis of a critical or terminal illness, or the death of a loved one. 

"We have continued our hard work to tackle non-disclosure, which as a result, reduced to 2% in 2008, representing a 50% reduction when compared with 2007.

"We are please with our progress on non-disclosure, yet are concerned that we have to tell some people that their claim was not going to be paid because their condition, or the severity of their condition, meant they were not covered by their policy. We are committed to ensuring that our customer's understand their purchase, however, it is up to the whole industry, both providers and advisers, to help customers understand the cover they buy. We are sharing this information because we want to raise awareness of this issue so that we can begin to tackle it as an industry as it is in our interests to ensure we do not have customers who end up disappointed at difficult times in their lives."

As part of Norwich Union's commitment to reducing non-disclosure, it is currently developing an adviser underwriting academy aimed at providing advisers with the training they need to properly support their customers during the initial application process. The academy will be piloted with advisers during Q4 of 2009.

Richard Verdin, director of protection at Norwich Union, said: "Clearer application forms, improved cover definitions and tele-underwriting initiatives have all had, and will continue to have, an important part to play in improving overall declinature rates, however, at Norwich Union we recognise there is still much we can do. Today the vast majority of protection business is still arranged with financial advisers supporting their customers when completing the initial underwriting information on the application form, without them necessarily having had any formal underwriting or disclosure training. Norwich Union's academy will seek to address this as one of the key areas we can support advisers in when building confidence in critical illness cover with their customers."    


Press office contacts:

The Norwich Union press office can be contacted on:
Holly Smart                         
Telephone: 01904 452766                                                 
Mobile: 07800699218                                                    

Notes to editors:

  • To align statistics with competitors, all numbers for 2007 have been restated to exclude pending cases.
  • Terminal illness claims and death claims are paid under our life policies and are therefore not included in critical illness statistics.
  • During 2008 claims by illness type were as follows:
    • Cancer 63%
    • Heart attack 7%
    • Multiple sclerosis 7%
    • Stroke 6%
    • Total permanent disability 5%
    • Heart Surgery 5%
    • Benign brain tumour 3%
    • Other 3%

About Norwich Union
Norwich Union is one of the UK's biggest life insurers. 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 has strategic alliances with building societies and other leading UK brand names including CIS and The Royal Bank of Scotland Group. Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at

In the summer of 2009 Norwich Union will change its name to Aviva.  Aviva is the world's fifth largest insurance group and operates in 27 countries. Aviva is to become the customer brand worldwide, thus enabling the company to compete even more effectively on a global scale for the benefit of customers, staff, business partners and shareholders.

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