Scottish Widows records 22% rise in protection claims paid in 2023

Last year, Scottish Widows paid more than £243mn in protection claims – this is 22% higher than in 2022.

Related topics:  Scottish Widows,  claims
Tabitha Lambie | Editor, Protection Reporter
30th May 2024
Claims Umbrellas
"We’re always listening to feedback from customers and advisers to help us evolve our protection products around their needs."
- Scott Cadger, Head of Protection at Scottish Widows

In 2023, Scottish Widows paid 11,702 (98%) claims across its Life Insurance and Critical Illness (CI), equating to £243mn. The total number of Life claims assessed jumped by almost 18% compared to 2022 and CI claims in the same period rose by 6.5%. Of those, 99.4% of Life Insurance and 92.3% of CI claims were paid – more than 11k customers and their loved ones received financial support.

£149.3mn was paid in Life Insurance claims, which is 32.4% higher than in 2022 – more than £11.5mn was paid in terminal illness claims. The most common cause of claims was a recent cancer diagnosis (31%).

Prostate (27%) was the most common cancer amongst men claiming on their policy, followed by bowel (16%), Hodgkin’s lymphoma (6.8%), malignant melanoma (5.6%), and leukaemia (5.6%). For women, breast cancer (52.3%) was the most common cancer-related claim, followed by bowel (8.4%), uterine or cervical (7.7%), malignant melanoma (5.6%), and lung cancer (3.4%).

The average Life Insurance claim was £57,137 and the highest individual claim paid was £5mn.

£93.9mn was paid in CI claims which is 8.9% higher than in 2022. A recent cancer diagnosis (62%) was, again, the most common cause of claims, followed by heart attack (11.7%), stroke (9.4%), and other diseases (2.6%).

Amongst men, 52% of claims made were for cancer, heart attack (19.2%), and stroke (11.2%), compared to 72% of claims from women relating to cancer, stroke (7.6%), and heart attack (4.3%).

The average CI claim was £57,462 and the highest individual claim paid was £756,480.

Scottish Widows’ customers also have access to 24/7 GP services and free prescription delivery via SquareHealth’s app, Clinic in a Pocket. The provider has documented a 63% year-on-year increase in users of these services, with almost half (47%) of customers returning to use the app.

In 2023, 60% of users were women and almost three in five (58%) consultations were with customers aged 26-45 years old. The most common symptoms last year were children’s health (14%), skin issues such as moles & lumps (12%), and cold, flu, and infection symptoms (11.8%).

“Our customers and their advisers trust us to help alleviate financial pressure at times that can be devasting, unexpected, and emotional for them and those to whom they are closest. We’re continuing to deliver on that safety net commitment, with more than 98% of claims paid out for the fifth year in a row,” said Scott Cadger, Head of Protection at Scottish Widows.

He said: “We’re connecting more and more people and their families to much wider medical, emotional, and practical, help. The increase in use of Clinic in a Pocket is vital to help earlier diagnosis of illness as well as help provide more peace of mind.”  

“We’re always listening to feedback from customers and advisers to help us evolve our protection products around their needs while providing that extra value that we know makes a huge difference during moments that matter,” he concluded.

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