We paid out over €125 million in Life insurance claims last year
In January of each New Year, we like to take a look back at the year that was, and publish details of our customers’ Life Insurance claims experience from the previous year.
The figures reveal that in 2012 Irish Life paid out a total of €83.5 million in Life Insurance benefits held by 1,168 customers. A further €41.5m was paid out to 606 customers in respect of Specified Illness Cover plans.
Our largest payout last year, a €5 million Life Insurance payment is the highest made by Irish Life in the past 7 years and compares to the highest claim paid in 2011 of €700,000. Indeed, this was just one of a number of claims north of €1 million paid out last year.
The average claim for Life Insurance however was just over €71,500, and the fact that the average payment was just €71,500 suggests that the level of Life Insurance taken out by many Irish people is still insufficient to look after their dependents in the event of an early death, especially as the average age of adult claims is 62.
Death and Specified Illness Cover is one of the best value financial products available. This sort of financial protection is just as important for those on lower incomes as it is for those on higher incomes. Last year we paid a €69,800 death benefit in respect of a Special Needs Assistant and a Specified Illness Cover payment of over €220,000 in respect of a young Home Care Assistant who contracted Multiple Sclerosis. It’s probably fair to say that the payments to those customers are probably more significant to them and their dependents than some substantially bigger claims we settled for customers on much higher incomes.
Cancer and heart-related conditions continue to account for a majority of death and Specified Illness Cover claims. Cancer accounted for 46% of death claims and 63% of Specified Illness Cover claims, while heart conditions accounted for 14% of death and 19% of Specified Illness Cover claims. Cancer was the cause of 56% of death claims involving females and 43% involving males, while heart conditions were the cause of almost one-in-five of claims involving males compared to just 7% involving females.
Accidents accounted for 135 Life Insurance claims – 12% of the total – and these were concentrated heavily among younger people with 40% of all Life Insurance claims for customers under age 40 the result of an accident. A total of 21 Life Insurance claims were the result of a road traffic accident. Alcohol was a factor in 7% of all accident claims. There has been a welcome improvement in the incidence of alcohol as a factor in accidents from 14% in 2011 to 7% last year and I hope to see a further improvement in the current year.
Keep an eye on the website, as in the coming days we’ll be producing our 2012 claims map, which gives a county by county breakdown of our claims paid.