Scottish Widows paid out more than 99 per cent of life claims in 2016, exceeding the previous year’s total.
The group paid out 99.38 per cent of life claims in 2016 - an increase of 0.5 per cent on 2015, and 93.2 per cent of critical illness claims, an increase of 2.7 per cent.
In total, more than £211m was paid out in life and critical illness claims in 2016, helping 9,599 individuals and their families.
The total amount paid out in life claims was £128.9m, with £14.45m paid in terminal illness claims. The average claim size was £36,749 and the highest individual claim was £918,934.
The total amount paid out in critical illness claims was £82.68m, with the average claim size £40,730 and the highest individual claim £501,721.
Of the declined life claims, 0.49 per cent were due to misrepresentation and 0.13 per cent due to the definition of terminal illness not being met.
Some 1.8 per cent of critical illness claims were declined due to the definition not being met, while 5 per cent were declined due to misrepresentation.
Scott Cadger, head of underwriting and claims strategy at Scottish Widows, said: “The most important thing we, as a provider, can do is pay claims.
"That’s our ‘moment of truth’, and we’re pleased that we’ve been able to provide vital support to each of the 9,599 individuals, and their families, who claimed in 2016.
“As an industry, however, we’re still failing to communicate our strong claims record to consumers. Many still believe that insurers will try to avoid paying a claim, and this misconception can have long lasting and devastating effects in cases where people choose not to invest in financial protection because they believe it will never pay out.
“This is why our 200-year heritage of paying claims and our extremely strong 2016 statistics are so important to us. Our commitment to helping people at the most difficult and challenging times of their lives continues to drive everything we do.”
Alan Knowles, managing director of Yorkshire-based Cura Financial Services, said: “The most important part of any insurance is the claim, and customers need to have confidence that their policy will pay out when it's needed. Many protection insurers have exceptional payout rates and should proudly publish these statistics.
“All advisers will undoubtedly speak to a client at some point who says 'insurers will do anything not to pay’. Claims statistics like these from Scottish Widows, however, not only prove this to be the total opposite, but also highlight that the financial strength and track record of an insurer can be invaluable in improving customer confidence.”