Aegon paid out more than £125m in individual protection claims in 2018, according to the company's latest figures.
The data, which is compiled using Association of British Insurers guidance, showed a total of £128.6m was paid in claims across all protection benefits last year.
The company said the percentage of life and critical illness claims remained broadly in line with 2017 figures at 98 per cent and 93 per cent, respectively.
For claims relating to life protection, the average size was £90,435 with the average claimant being 62 years old.
Aegon said the most common cause of death for a life claim was cancer at 47 per cent, along with heart-related conditions at 21 per cent.
The average size of the critical illness claims paid in 2018 was £80,644, with cancer, heart attacks and strokes accounting for 81 per cent.
Simon Jacobs, head of claims and underwriting at Aegon UK, said: “These figures represent people, businesses and families who are going through some of the most difficult times in their lives, and we’re proud to have been able to help them through that.
“The claim is the heart of every protection policy. When customers have to make a claim and deal with the emotional and financial upheaval a death or illness can bring, our experienced team of claims assessors support them through every step.
He added: “In terms of figures, our claims performance is consistent – paying 98 per cent of life, 93 per cent of critical illness and 93 per cent of income protection claims.
“We’ve reported our claims statistics for around eight years and over this time we’ve worked hard to reduce incidents of misrepresentation and make sure that customers receive the best claims experience. The customer experience at point of claim is just as important as the number of claims paid.”
The figures also showed 23 per cent of life claims as being paid early by Aegon where life expectancy is 12 months or less on diagnosis of an illness.
In total, £23m was paid for terminal illness claims in 2018.
Meanwhile, Aegon paid 93 per cent of new income protection claims in 2018, totalling more than £561,000 in regular monthly benefits.
Mr Jacobs added: “The low number of claims we continue to receive on this type of protection policy can impact the figures dramatically. With only 29 claims received last year, a single decline can make a big difference. The number of claims we’ve paid has remained static.
“However, while we don’t believe this data can provide any meaningful like-for-like comparison, we continue to share it for the sake of complete transparency for advisers and customers.”
Martin Bamford, a chartered financial planner at Informed Choice, said: "The regular publication of these claims figures really helps to smash the misconception that life assurance and critical illness cover doesn’t pay out when needed.
"It’s important that we all highlight not only the importance of life cover, but how reliable insurance providers are when it comes to meeting valid claims. It’s often not until we have first-hand experience of benefiting from this type of insurance cover that we start trusting providers to pay out.”