Aviva Life Claims increase by 9% to €109 million in 2020

  • Psychological issues now the No 1 reason for new income protection claims
  • Cancer represents over half of all Specified Illness claims
Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland DAC (Aviva), one of Ireland’s leading insurers, today reported that the company paid out almost €109 million to customers with protection policies in 2020, an increase of 9% over the previous year when customers received €100 million. The company paid the €109 million to 2,585 customers (2019: 2,168) across its death benefit, specified illness and income protection policies last year. The average age of those customers claiming on their income protection policy was 48 years, with 56% of them under the age of 50 at the time of the claim.  An income protection policy will pay up to 75% of a person’s income if they are unable to work due to illness or injury, potentially up to retirement age.

Death benefit claims

The company paid out €51 million in total (2019: €45 million) to 453 (2019: 430) death benefit claims, with the largest single claim pay-out of €1 million.  The leading causes of claims continues to be cancer, cardiac and respiratory issues. 

Specified Illness claims

Some 132 customers who were diagnosed with a serious illness (2019:138) were paid €12.8 million (2019: €12.4m.) during the year.  The average age of female customers claiming on their policies was 51 years, with breast cancer accounting for 50% of those claims (+5%), other cancers represented 27% (-4%) and multiple sclerosis accounting for 10% (+8%) of claims.  Some 60% of claims from men were cancer related, while 27% of them had suffered cardiac issues (+2%) and 4% of them suffered strokes (-4%).  The average age of male customers claiming on their specified illness policy was slightly older than female claimants at 54 years of age. 

Income protection claims

Aviva paid out €45 million to 2,000 income protection customers during 2020, which was in line with the previous year. These payments were made to customers who had income protection policies with Aviva but who have been unable to work as a result of injury or illness over the period. Of the new customers who claimed on their income protection policy last year, the majority were female at 59% while 41% were male, a trend that has been evident for some time now. The average age of customers claiming was 48 years and the youngest claimant last year was only 23 years old.

The toll that the outbreak of Covid-19 continues to have on peoples’ mental health has been widely acknowledged for some time now. We carried out some research over six-months ago that highlighted the significant increase in anxiety levels which had almost doubled since the start of the pandemic last March, with 4 in 10 people (42%) admitting suffering from anxiety and stress. These startling figures highlight the increasing importance of ensuring that our income is protected. Few people will manage to pay their mortgage, look after their children and other outgoings if they have to depend on the State Disability benefit of €203 per week. This amount is in stark contrast to our average weekly pay-out of €700 to our customers with income protection claims, with most claims lasting an average of five years. In addition, income protection premiums qualify for tax relief at the individuals marginal tax rate when they take out a policy.

Richard Jones, Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland

The company reported that psychological issues are now the number one medical reason for claiming at 25% of all claims (up 1%), having surpassed orthopaedic issues at 24% (-7%), the latter of which held that number one slot for many years. Some 21% of those who claimed suffered some form of cancer (+5%), while 9% recorded neurological issues (+2%). The number of claimants with cardiac issues also increased by 3% last year to 6%.  Of those first-time claimants in 2020, 56% were under 50 years of age at the time of the claim.

Aviva provides a range of additional benefits* to customers paying into an income protection policy with us and we would encourage them to make full use of these, particularly as we have all been impacted to some degree by the outbreak of Covid-19 and the disruption it has had on our lives.  The benefits are available free of charge to most Aviva customers who have an income protection, life insurance or specified illness policy with us”, concluded Richard Jones.

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*These benefits include a mental health support service, where customers can access up to five free counselling sessions per eligible person, per year for each issue that could arise, e.g. stress related, issues in the workplace, a bereavement or relationship breakdown etc.  The sessions are provided by highly experienced clinical psychologists and the service is extended to include the customer’s spouse/partner and children up to 18 years of age, or 23 if in full time education. 

Best Doctors offers customers a second medical opinion, providing access to over 50,000 of the world’s top physicians that will support their Irish treating doctor at no extra cost.  This is available to our income protection customer, their spouse/partner, and their parents/spouse’s/partner’s parents.  Best Doctors can: double-check the diagnosis they have been given or the treatment being proposed. It allows the customer to investigate if there are any alternative treatment options and allows them to review their options if the symptoms do not improve.  Of those Aviva customers who used this service in 2020, 12% had their diagnosis changed and 33% had their treatment changed as a result.

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.