The percentage of critical illness claims declined by Zurich rose last year, the insurer has announced.
The firm turned away 12% of claims in 2007 mostly due to the definition of the illness not being met (9%), but also due to non-disclosure (3%).
In comparison, only 10% of claims were declined in 2006, again largely down to definition (7%) and also non-disclosure (3%).
However, the total number of claims paid has increased for the third consecutive year and by over 20% since 2005.
Phil Brown, underwriting and claims director at Zurich, says the company is proud of its record of meeting claims.
“In terms of non-disclosure, I think we have a good track record for paying claims. A 12% claims declined rate is stronger than in some other offices where it is 13-16%.”
Peter Hamilton, Zurich UK Life’s proposition management director, adds: “We have a clear philosophy and a proud history of paying valid claims quickly – as a protection office, our overall mission is to pay claims.
“We think it’s right to highlight where claims have been declined and the reasons for that – greater awareness should ultimately lead to greater consumer understanding and confidence.”
In total, Zurich paid out £49.6m in critical illness claims in 2007, the combined amount for 710 claims. In 2006, Zurich paid 702 claims and in 2005 it paid 584.
Cancer remains the most common condition, accounting for over half of critical illness claims paid last year (55%).
Heart attacks were the cause of over a tenth (13%), while strokes were the third most common condition (6%).
Hamilton says: “As an industry we often lose sight of the massive positive difference we do make to thousands of lives through the payment of millions of pounds in claims.
“We will constantly search for ways to minimise declined claims and to build consumer confidence.”
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