More than half insurer’s 2011 CI claims for sector

The insurer reported that 2 per cent of claims were declined for non-disclosure and that the average critical illness payout was £82,000.

Cancer remained the most common reason for a claim at 55 per cent, followed by heart attack at 10 per cent, stroke at 10 per cent and multiple sclerosis at 9 per cent.

Almost half, 47 per cent, of claims were made by people who were 40 or under and the youngest claimant was just 23 years old having suffered a stroke.

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Roger Edwards, proposition director for Bright Grey, said: “More than half of our claims were for cancer, which might appear to be a frightening statistic.

“But the good news is that with better screening and earlier testing, more people than ever before are surviving the disease. For many, chemo and other treatment means taking months off work and this is where the money from a critical illness policy comes into its own - easing any financial worries so they can focus on getting better.

“One consequence of better screening is that we are seeing more people being treated for earlier forms of cancer. So, last year we introduced two definitions that provide additional cover for ductal carcinoma in situ, an early form of breast cancer and low grade prostate cancer.”

Nick McBreen of Truro-based Worldwide Financial Planning, said: “Critical illness is a very significant segment of the protection market and Bright Grey is a good quality provider, doing a good job.”