Protection in Numbers  

Zurich raises the bar on claims history transparency

Zurich raises the bar on claims history transparency

As part of its bid to raise transparency in insurance Zurich UK has revealed its claims history for life and general insurance claims in the first half of the year.

Around 30 percent of the £1 billion total it paid on claims in the first half of the year originated from its UK life business, with the remainder coming from general insurance.

Zurich’s UK Life business paid out 95 per cent of all its 1,345 claims in the first half of the year with 98 per cent of life claims, 89 per cent of critical illness claims and 87 per cent of income protection claims paid. 

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For life insurance the average claim was just under £50,000, while the largest single claim was £2m. Where life claims were turned down it was largely because of the non-disclosure of medical information.

For critical illness the average claim was £83,336 with breast cancer and heart attacks being the most common cause of claim.

For income protection the most common claims were for mental illness (23 per cent) and cancer (15 per cent). Here the average monthly payments to customers were for £1,460.

Gary Shaughnessy, chief executive of Zurich, said: "There is often a misconception that insurers shy away from paying claims – but by publishing these numbers we are trying to lift the lid on the fact that the vast majority are paid."

He added that more could be done to educate the public on what is and what is not covered by their policies so that it did not have to turn people down. 

Jason Witcombe a director at Evolve Financial Planning, thought Zurich's disclosure could start a trend among other insurers.  

"Ultimately they are doing it as a marketing strategy, but if other insurers follow suit and start quoting their claims history that is more likely to give consumers much more confidence and peace of mind, which is what insurance is about."

For Zurich's general insurance business there were 17 payments of over £1 million across 115,000 claims for personal and commercial lines which amounted to around £700m in total.

It paid out on 99 percent of personal lines motor claims and 99 percent of claims from commercial customers, which covers motor, property and casualty.

The lowest proportion of claims paid came from personal lines home cover – where the amount paid was slightly over 91 percent.

Here customers were often turned down for making claims for damage caused by wear and tear or where they made claims for accidental damage, but this was not part of their policy cover.