Friends Life plans to cut protection process times

The company’s head of underwriting, claims and operations for individual protection said that while the insurer is able to pay out on protection claims to more than 7,000 customers and their families, there is room to improve.

Mr Pollard said: “Last year we were able to help more than 7,000 of our customers and their families when they needed it most. We are proud to help our customers in times of need and distress, paying out £1 million every working day.”

His comments came as the insurer published figures for 2013 showing it paid 91 per cent of critical illness claims, 85 per cent of income protection claims and 99 per cent of life cover claims.

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Overall, this saw Friends Life pay out more than £248m in claims over the year, the equivalent of £1m per working day. The firm paid an average of 19 claims every working day for life cover or critical illness.

Life cover claim payouts totalled £111m during 2013, while critical illness saw £116m paid out. The four most claimed-for illnesses were cancer, heart attack, stroke and multiple sclerosis. Approximately 70 per cent of all claims were cancer-related.

Meanwhile, 85 per cent of income protection claims were paid, totalling £21m, with an average payout of £840 a month. Customers suffering mental illness or musculoskeletal disabilities made up around half of all claims.

Adviser view

Tom Conner, director of London-based Drewberry Insurance, said: “It is really important for insurers to publish these sort of statistics, since it definitely builds confidence with customers. We did research recently that showed people don’t think insurers pay out, when in fact these numbers show they do.”

Key figures

£1 million paid per working day in claims

19 claims paid every working day for life cover or critical illness

91 per cent of critical illness claims paid