Major insurer Zurich has released its payout figures in the UK for 2018, with 96% of retail protection claims in 2018 being paid.
Zurich said payments for last year amounted to more than £1.6bn, which was spread between nearly 81,000 general insurance (GI) claims and over 2,700 protection claims. In GI, for instance, 140 of the successful claims were worth more than £1m.
Breaking down the percentages, the insurer noted that it paid 99% of consumer motor claims; 95%, consumer home; 99%, life; 91%, critical illness; and 95%, income protection.
We’re proud to report again that we’ve paid the vast majority of claims across all products"
Europe's fifth-biggest insurer said total payouts with the retail protection claims last year totalled more than £233.4m. £134.6m of this went to 1,798 life insurance customers, with the average payout for a life claim sitting at £51,000.
As for the claims that didn't result in insurance payouts, Zurich explained: "Where a small percentage of home claims weren't paid out, customers had claimed for wear and tear which is not covered by their policy. Likewise, claims for accidental damage were not accepted for customers who didn't have the specific cover in place.
"Zurich paid 96% of all retail protection claims including life, critical illness, and income protection insurance during 2018. A small number of claims were not covered due to non-disclosure of medical information on applications (such as a history of smoking or alcohol misuse) and where an income protection customer may have returned to work before the policy's payment period started."
It declined six life insurance claims due to non-disclosure of medical information.
In terms of critical illness cover, the insurer paid out £90.6m and paid 91% of claims.
Nearly a quarter (23%) of critical illness claims in 2018 were due to breast cancer, while mental illness accounted for 28% of income protection claims.
"We're proud to report again that we've paid the vast majority of claims across all products," commented Zurich's UK chief claims officer David Nichols. "We hope that this will help to reassure our customers that we're here to do the right thing by them when they need us most.
"Over the last year, we've made a huge investment into new technology and systems to make the claim journey as smooth as possible. This includes the launch of our chatbot Zara, enabling customers to report claims 24 hours a day with most enquiries responded to within a matter of hours."
Zurich noted that 5% of customers who used its income protection policy did not receive financial support as they recovered from their illness within their policy's deferred period.
Zurich Insurance is on track to meet or beat its financial targets to 2019 and is seeing positive trends in property and casualty (P&C) insurance pricing.
Click here to subscribe to International Investment's free twice-daily newsletter