New Ireland pays out €111m for life insurance claims in 2017

Insurer says 15% of serious illness claims rejected, with 51 as average age of claimant

New Ireland’s biggest single category of income protection claim related to mental illness (29 per cent), with 22 per cent due to musculoskeletal issues and 20 per cent to cancer.

New Ireland’s biggest single category of income protection claim related to mental illness (29 per cent), with 22 per cent due to musculoskeletal issues and 20 per cent to cancer.

 

People claiming cover for serious illness, such as cancer or heart disease, are, on average, just 51 years old, according to figures from New Ireland.

And the insurer said the youngest claimant under a life policy last year was just 29.

The Bank of Ireland-owned New Ireland said it paid out a record amount of more than €111 million in 2017 across its life, serious illness and income protection policies, up 5 per cent on 2016.

Life claims accounted for the majority of the payouts, at some €70.5 million, with an average claim among 1,110 people of €51,358. Men accounted for close to two-thirds of claimants.

When it comes to specified illness, which pays out a lump sum in the event of a serious illness, the average claim was €73,299 compared with €69,898 in 2016, with total claims of about €28 million.

Almost 80 per cent of claims were paid to people 59 or younger, with the youngest being just 25. Cancer-related illness claims accounted for over half (56 per cent) of specified illness claims and heart-related claims one-fifth (21 per cent).

‘Definition not met’

While 366 people successfully claimed on these policies, the insurer said that 64 claims, or 15 per cent of those who applied for a payout, were turned down. A spokeswoman for the insurer said that the most common reason for not paying out was “definition not met”.

Specified illness policies often come with restrictions, which means that the severity or acuteness of the illness is a factor in whether they pay out or not.

New Ireland also paid out €11 million on income protection policies, which protect people when they find themselves unable to work. These typically offer up to two-thirds of income, less illness benefit or any other cover received from an employer. Premiums are eligible for tax relief at the marginal rate of tax.

The biggest single category of income protection claim related to mental illness (29 per cent), with 22 per cent due to musculoskeletal issues and 20 per cent related to cancer.

Over 70 per cent of new claims for income protection were made by women last year. The youngest claimant was 23.