Cancer main cause of illness claims

  • Deborah Condon

Cancer and heart-related illnesses accounted for 80% of the specified illness claims paid out by one of the country’s largest life assurance providers last year.

According to Irish Life, cancer was overall the most common cause of specified illness and death benefit claims in both men and women last year. In women alone, it accounted for almost four out of every five specified illness claims, with breast cancer accounting for one in three cancer-related claims.

The figures also showed that men had seven times the level of heart-related specified illness claims that women did.

A specific analysis of death claims paid out by Irish Life in 2008 found that cancer accounted for 46% of these claims and heart-related conditions accounted for 22%.

The company also noted that in claims relating to accidental or sudden death, alcohol was a factor in one in five cases.

Overall, Irish Life paid out €29.7 million in specified illness cover in 2008 in respect of 504 cases. Aside from cancer and heart-related conditions, the other main causes of claims were stroke and multiple sclerosis. The average payment in 2008 was almost €59,000 per claim.

The single biggest specified illness payment paid by the company was to a 41-year-old female who received over €750,000 for breast cancer, while another female, also in her early 40’s, received €500,000 for thyroid cancer.

Almost one in five specified illness claims paid last year were in respect of plans that had started within the last three years.

In relation to death claims, the company paid out over €86 million in respect of 1,335 claims, an average of almost €65,000 per claim.

The single largest death benefit paid by Irish Life in 2008 was €1.2 million in respect of a 45-year-old female who died of ovarian cancer. The second largest was €900,000 in respect of a 48-year-old male who died of a heart attack.

Commenting on the figures, Irish Life’s head of underwriting and claims, Martin Duffy, pointed out that a significant number of payments were in respect of people in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, many of whom were the main income earners.

“This shows how crucially important it is to examine your level of specified illness and life cover to ensure your family is fully cared for if these things were unfortunately to happen to you,” he said.

Mr Duffy also highlighted the continuing impact of alcohol on accident-related death claims.


Nickname: to be used for all future posts.
Notification: Tick this box if you wish to receive e-mail notifications of further posts on this topic