More than £62.8m was paid out by Aviva and Friends Life last year to critical illness customers with breast cancer.
Data from the insurers show that breast cancer is the single most common condition among critical illness claims, accounting for nearly a quarter of all claims paid in 2014.
In terms of claims by females, this figure rises to 44 per cent of all claims. Robert Morrison, chief protection underwriter for Aviva, said: “Unfortunately, one in eight women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime and it’s by far the most common cause of critical illness claims among our customers, accounting for well over two-fifths of claims last year.
“Receiving a critical illness payment can mean that people have choices they might not otherwise have, whether this means being able to take time off work to concentrate on treatment and their family, getting help around the house, or helping to pay off the mortgage to provide some financial security in the future.”
The data was released as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is taking place during October.
Every year, more than 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK.
Marvin Evans, financial adviser with Gloucestershire-based Old Bank Wealth Management, said: “Often critical illness isn’t bought, it has to be sold because a lot of people think it will happen to someone else. It is the cost that puts a lot of people off.”
Income protection awareness campaign launched
Aviva and Friends Life have launched a campaign to help advisers demonstrate the importance of income protection to clients.
Income Protection Matters provides advisers with an online portal to help them overcome objections and start conversations with clients.
Advisers can also use a tool to show clients how long they could manage financially without their salary.
ABI figures have shown that 10.8m households are at risk of their income falling by at least a third if the main earner stopped working.
The awareness campaign will complement Aviva and Friends Life’s sponsorship of the 7 Families initiative, a charity-led project that shows the value of income protection by paying families a tax-free income for a year.
Louise Colley, Aviva’s director of protection, said: “Making people aware of the real risk of not having any protection in place if they were to lose a main household income is an absolute priority.”
Jeremy Edwards, financial adviser at Leicestershire-based Bankfield Financial Advisers, said: “Income protection is probably one of the most useful policies, but getting people to buy it is another thing. Although not entirely altruistic, the campaign had to come from someone.
“I would like to see employers and trade unions encouraging staff to take out a policy.”