Cancer still main cause of claims for life insurance

Cancer remains the main cause of claims for life insurance and serious illness cover, Irish Life says. The life assurance company paid out a total of €168m in claims last year.

Cancer accounted for more than half of life insurance claims for females and 41% for males. Heart-related conditions accounted for double the level of claims for males as for females.

Breast and prostate cancer were the main types of cancer claims made to Irish Life in 2013. Breast cancer accounted for more than 50% of all specified illness cover claims, while the corresponding figure for prostate cancer was 34% for men.

The analysis of the claims book, which for 2013 includes data from both Irish Life and Canada Life, shows that €112.4m was paid out for 1,714 life insurance claims and a further €56.4m for 810 specified illness cover claims.

The average payment was €65,560 in respect of life insurance claims and €69,638 for specified illness cover claims — although the figures show wide variations in the size of claims settled.

The largest single life insurance claim paid out by Irish Life and Canada Life in 2013 was more than €1m in respect of a man in his 50s, while the largest claim paid out for a female was almost €800,000 for a woman in her 50s. In the case of specified illness cover claims, the largest payment was €1.1m to a man in his 40s for cancer, while €380,000 was paid to a woman in her 40s, also for cancer.

Gerry Hassett, managing director, Irish Life Retail, said: “The scale of the life insurance and specified illness cover claims paid shows that it is crucially important for people to look after the interests of their dependants.”

He added: “It also makes financial sense when you consider that a healthy 30-year-old non-smoker will pay just under €38 per month for €100,000 life cover and €100,000 Independent Specified Illness cover, assuming a 20-year term.”

The figures also show that of the 138 claims paid out for accidental death, 25 were the result of a road traffic accident, which equated to €2m in payments. Alcohol was a factor in 6% of all accident claims, which is down slightly from 7% in 2012, and 14% in 2011.


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