Protection  

LV expects surge in claims after subdued year

LV expects surge in claims after subdued year
  Frizzell House, LV's Bournemouth office

LV is gearing up for a surge in cancer-related claims as pandemic restrictions lift and hospital wait times let up.

The protection provider paid out £15m in cancer claims between January and May this year across 200 families, reflecting similar levels to 2020.

The wider protection industry saw a 7 per cent dip in claims for critical illness last year compared with 2019, according to figures published in May by the Association of British Insurers. 

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“We are expecting an increase in cancer related claims following the pandemic, but this has yet to emerge,” said Justin Harper, LV’s protection marketing head.

In May 2020, LV noted a 47 per cent drop in urgent cancer referrals compared to the previous year, with 2,700 fewer cancer diagnoses each week.

Due to lower availability and take up of usual screenings services, as well as subsequent delays to early intervention treatment, there is still a backlog of patients.

Once the NHS clears this backlog and more cases are detected, the protection provider is confident cancer-related claims will rise significantly in the latter half of 2020.

“Limited early intervention treatment and delays in cancer diagnosis will make certain cases harder to treat, leading to a potential rise in cancer-related claims,” said Debbie Kennedy, protection director at LV.

Cancer Research UK figures show that between April 2020 to March 2021, roughly 45,000 fewer cancer patients started treatment compared with the previous year.

In the last five months, LV found breast, bowel, lung and prostate cancer to be the most common reasons to claim. The highest cancer-related claim was £367,000, and the youngest claimant was 29.

LV said it was monitoring the situation in terms of pricing. 

Harper said: “There are no ‘savings’ as such. It is too early to say how – or if  – any anticipated increase in cancer claims or wider pandemic factors will impact future pricing for protection. We, and other insurers and reinsurers, will continue to monitor this closely.”

He also pointed out that protection policies are long-term contracts, with policy premiums agreed from the outset - the majority of which are guaranteed and so do not change throughout the term.

ruby.hinchliffe@ft.com