Protection  

Providers see rise in mental health conditions

Providers see rise in mental health conditions
 Credit: Negative Space via Pexels

Protection providers have reported a rise in claims and policyholders seeking support in relation to mental health during the pandemic.

Data from Zurich showed mental health conditions were the most common cause of income protection claims last year at 27 per cent, double that in 2019 (13 per cent).

The data also showed three in 10 new group income protection claims (28 per cent) were for mental illness last year, making it the second most common reason for people to seek support, after cancer.

Nicky Bray, chief underwriter for Zurich’s life business, said: “For customers who share a history of conditions with us, such as depression, stress and anxiety - the vast majority are offered cover and the valuable support that comes with it.

“To help boost uptake, we continually look to simplify the application questions and only request further information when needed to give a fair decision, making the process of buying life insurance easy to understand and quick to apply for.”

AIG Life has also reported an increased demand for mental health support.

The insurer said more than 350 people have had over 900 mental health consultations between January and March via the Smart Health service available to customers and group scheme members.

It added that this was equal to more than half (52 per cent) of the demand the service saw in the whole of 2020, and that younger people and women were most likely to seek support.

According to AIG Life, more than half (57 per cent) of those seeking mental health and psychologist consultations were aged between 18 and 35, and 63 per cent of psychology service appointments were for women.

Furthermore, analysis from the Office for National Statistics published today (May 5) found 21 per cent of adults experienced some form of depression early this year, marking an increase since November (19 per cent) and more than double that observed before the pandemic (10 per cent).

The ABI has said that it is aiming to train 5,000 advisers and frontline staff on mental health by the end of the year, in a bid to improve standards for insurance customers with mental health conditions.

chloe.cheung@ft.com

What do you think about the issues raised by this story? Email us on FTAletters@ft.com to let us know.