Protection payouts climb 9 per cent since 2021

This is according to a survey conducted by LifeSearch. The insurance broker's chief executive, Debbie Kennedy, said the average age of customers enquiring about its products "is falling".

She said: "Those aged 18-34 represented 41 per cent of enquiries in 2021, which is a 4 per cent increase on pre-pandemic levels.

"This age group are also more likely to take out some form of sickness cover with 45 per cent of policies bought by 18-34 year-olds last year being either income protection or critical illness, opposed to just 36 per cent for the 35-49 year-old age group.”

Looking at these statistics, CIExpert founder Alan Lakey, said they looked particularly encouraging in respect to critical illness and income protection.

"It appears that the message of protecting income and debts is getting through to the younger generation," he said.

"As always, advice is needed to ensure that consumers do not veer towards the default cheapest option. One only has to compare the quality of cheap direct-to-consumer offerings with the quality offerings used by specialist protection advisers."

Insurance broker Reassured's corporate strategy director, Phil Jeynes, said his firm has not seen a shift towards a noticeably younger applicant in recent years.

"These survey results are positive and might demonstrate a generational shift away from a belief that the state will look after you if push comes to shove. We are certainly developing our omni-channel services across digital, non-advised and advised sales to cater for all demographics," he said.