Aegon is the latest insurer to report a significant drop in critical illness claims during the coronavirus lockdown.
The insurer said that 37 per cent fewer policyholders claimed on CI policies in May, compared with the same period the previous year. This follows a 17 per cent drop in CI claims in April.
However the insurer said it had seen a significant rise in life insurance claims, with the number of payouts rising by more than 80 per cent in April, when compared to the previous year.
The insurer described the drop in CI claims as “worrying” as it indicated many people were not accessing GP services, primary healthcare and regular screenings which can pick up early cases of disease like cancer.
Aegon says as these services resume and lockdown loosens, it expects a steady increase in claims in coming months. It points out that cancer cases typically account for 60 per cent of CI claims. Early detection is generally linked to better outcomes for patients.
When it comes to life insurance claims, Aegon says it has seen increased claims in both in April and May, compared to the year before.
April 2020 saw an 83 per cent increase on life insurance, while there was a 58 per cent increase in the number of life insurance claims received in May 2020, compared to May 2019.
Aegon says around a third (31 per cent) of the life insurance claims received in April and May were related to the coronavirus.
The average age of life insurance claimant during April and May was 64, with 80 per cent of claimants being male. In addition to this, Aegon reported that fewer accident related life insurance claims were received.
Aegon UK, head of underwriting and claims Simon Jacobs says the claims team is working hard to support families of those who have lost loved ones during this time.
“The impact of lockdown can be clearly seen in the volume of CI claims and it’s worrying. People being mindful of burdening the NHS, might have delayed a GP visit or might have missed early detection due to limited screenings for things like breast and bowel cancer. Early detection is important when it comes to cancer and treatment options so we would urge those who have a health concern to seek medical advice as soon as they can.
He adds: “An increase in life claims is expected during a global health crisis of this scale. However, the rise was slightly countered by the impact of lockdown life. With more people staying in and staying safe, there was a reduced risk of deaths caused by road traffic accidents for example.”
He points out Aegon customers get additional support through the company’s health and wellbeing service, provided by Health Assured. This offers confidential counselling and support tools for a range of issues, including bereavement, medical diagnosis, family concerns, debt, and other legal issues.