Aegon UK's 2016 claims data has revealed the company paid a total of £123.4m in claims for life (including terminal illness), critical illness and income protection to more than 1,300 families and businesses last year.
The figures show 98% of all life claims were paid out in 2016 to 663 families and businesses, representing payments amounting to £64.4m - a 15% increase on 2015.
The average size of claim paid was £100,661 and the average age at claim was 61 years old. Cancer continued to be the most common cause of death in a life claim (44%), followed by heart-related conditions (20%).
In total £23m was paid out early for terminal illness claims in 2016. Aegon paid 95% of all terminal illness claims it received.
The group also paid 95% of critical illness claims, which represented payments of £35.4m - up more than £2m on the previous year. The average size of claim paid was £92,860 and the average age at claim for critical illness was 50 years old.
The ‘big three' critical illnesses - cancer, heart attack and stroke - accounted for 82.6% of critical illness claims. Cancer alone accounted for 60% of critical illness claims in 2016, followed by heart attacks (15%) and strokes (7.6%).
Of the critical illness claims declined in 2016, nearly 4% were due to the definition not being met and the remaining 1% were due to misrepresentation.
Aegon UK protection director Stephen Crosbie said the insurer had taken steps to improve service and claims experience and were using electronic death certificates to reduce delays in claims payments to bereaved families.
Income protection claims
Last year, Aegon UK paid 85% of new income protection claims received - broadly in line with the claims paid in 2015 - and almost £343,000 in regular monthly benefits.
Crosbie added: "The low number of claims we continue to receive on this type of protection policy can impact the figures dramatically. With only 22 claims received last year, a single decline can make all the difference, so while this year the number of claims paid has remained static, it would only take one declined claim next year to completely change our story."
Crosbie said that while Aegon UK does not believe this data can provide any meaningful like-for-like comparison, it continues to share it "for the sake of complete transparency for both advisers and customers".
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