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Protection Research 2019

Stress, anxiety and mental health issues more prevalent amongst under 35s, according to new Aviva research

  • Cancer and heart conditions more prevalent in over 65s
  • One in four cancelled a healthcare appointment due to work commitments

10 November 2019, Dublin:  Some 54% of under 35s claim that they or someone close to them experience stress or anxiety, with 35% admitting to having mental health issues, according to new research by leading insurance company, Aviva.  These statistics are particularly stark relative to other age groups, where on average 41% of men and 45% of women reported stress or anxiety and 21% of men and 28% of women claiming mental health issues. Cancer and heart conditions are more prevalent amongst the over 65s with 23% saying that they or someone close to them experienced cancer and 27% having had heart conditions.

Protection Research - happy family laughing

The online research conducted by Red C interviewed a representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18+.  When questioned on hours worked outside the home men claimed to be putting in the longest hours with 61% saying they worked between 36-50 hours versus 36% of women, with 63% of all those aged 35-44 claiming the same.  When asked about the amount of exercise taken each week, females and those aged 25-44 are getting the least exercise at under four hours per week. However, the average hours exercise reported is extremely low at only 4.3 hours, particularly as this is boosted by the over 55s who reported to undertaking over 5 hours exercise on a weekly basis.

Females, younger workers and those working longer hours are much more likely to have cancelled a healthcare appointment due to work commitments. This is evidenced by 31% of females versus 23% of males admitted to cancelling appointments and this number rises to 34% of 18-24 year olds. Getting more exercise is the top priority over the next 12 months for all those aged 45+ whereas for 25-44 year olds, it’s about spending more time with family. Looking after mental health is the top priority for the 18-24 year olds (27%).

Getting more exercise, improving their diet and looking after mental health are the top three priorities cited for the next 12 months, with 57% of 18-24 year olds targeting looking after their mental health and reducing stress levels amongst their top three priorities.  This correlates with the worrying numbers in that age cohort admitting to suffering from stress, anxiety and mental health issues and implies that it is more likely themselves rather than someone close to them.

Looking to how respondents protect their financial security in the unfortunate event that they are unable to work due to illness or losing their job, the survey found that less than a third have any life protection, serious illness or income protection cover.  Whilst 30% of those surveyed had life cover, only 11% had some form of serious illness or income protection cover.  Those with some form of income protection tend to be males, older and those who have spoken with a financial advisor.

Commenting on the research findings Karen Gallagher, Aviva Life & Pensions said: “These research findings are stark – both from the perspective of the number of young people citing anxiety, stress and mental health issues alongside the lack of any financial provision if they were unable to work or indeed lost their job.  It is evident that people are conscious of the need to look after their mental health however, it is not always possible to prevent issues arising and a level of protection should be in place”.

The research highlighted the fact that the majority of those surveyed have no idea how long they would have to wait to claim the State Disability Benefit, if entitled to it. This is despite 25% of people believing they could not cope financially for longer than a year if they had no income, with almost 40% having no idea how long they could cope.

The perceived cost* and just not thinking about it are the main barriers cited as why they don’t have some form of life insurance, income protection or serious illness cover.

Our average income protection claims last for seven years during which individuals receive financial and rehabilitation support. These research findings highlight a major gap in financial planning to safeguard individuals whereby, should the worst happen, and they are out of work for an extended period due to illness or injury or loss of work, they are protected financially. This leads us to believe that a high level of financial exposure exists amongst Irish households if out of work for whatever reason for a period

Commenting on the research findings Karen Gallagher, Aviva Life & Pensions

An analysis of Aviva Life & Pensions’ claims statistics show that the company paid out in excess of €90 million to almost 2,600 claimants in 2018 across its protection business.  Cancer and heart conditions were the main drivers of claims across death benefit and serious illness claims, while orthopaedic and psychological conditions were the main drivers of income protection claims.

*Sample Quotes

Male or female, aged 32 next birthday, non-smoker:  cost of life cover of €100,000 and serious illness cover of €50,000 for 20 years on a convertible basis costs €25.93 per month.

Cost of income protection cover for male or female aged 32 next birthday, non-smoker, cover to age 65, occupation class 1 is €36.00 – assuming tax relief at 21% the net premium would be €28.44.

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Aviva Group Services Ireland Limited, a private company limited by shares. Registered in Ireland No.322579. Registered Office One Park Place, Hatch Street, Dublin 2.