Lots of people simply want cheaper car, home, life, gadget or pet insurance, end of story. But for some UK consumers, there are other factors at play when comparing companies and assessing if a policy is great value. One of those is the chance of a decent pay-out if the worst happens. So it’s worth noting that Zurich announced recently that it paid 96% of all retail protection claims in 2018 with payments of over £233.4m benefiting thousands of customers and their families.
This includes 1,798 life insurance customers with payments amounting to over £134.6m. The highest claim paid was for £1.2m with the average being £51k. Just six claims were declined because of non-disclosure of important medical information when customers applied for cover – for example a history of smoking or alcohol misuse.
Over 912 critical illness claims were paid last year worth £90.6m including partial payments for customers diagnosed with less severe illnesses covered by their policies. The largest claim paid was for £2.1m and the average was just over £83k.
The majority (91%) of claims were accepted with 9% declined where illnesses were not covered by policies or for non-disclosure of medical information at application stage. Breast cancer accounted for nearly a quarter of all claims (23%), followed by heart attack (13%), stroke (8%) and prostate cancer (6%). Zurich paid over £600,000 in claims for children with cancer being the most common cause.
For income protection, 95% of new claims were paid. A minority (5%) of customers did not receive financial support from their policies as they recovered from their illness within their policy’s deferred period.
Many customers in this situation however, benefit from support and treatment available through their policy via Zurich’s in-house rehabilitation team. This might include quick access to counselling or physiotherapy which can be key to quick recovery and supporting customers back to health.
All payments made to customers with income protection policies amounted to £8.2m with an average of 451 claims in payment each month.
The most common causes of claims were mental illness including anxiety, stress or depression (28%), followed by cancers (23%), musculoskeletal disorders (10%) and chronic fatigue syndrome (7%).
As well as paying the vast majority of claims, 83% of its customers last year said that they would recommend Zurich to friends and family.* It has also been recognised as one of the best brands in the UK for ranking 12th in the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index published by the Institute of Customer Service.
Peter Hamilton, Zurich’s Head of Retail Protection said, “Our consistently high claims paid figures help to reinforce the message that we’re here to support our customers when they need it. As well as flexible products and extra support services we’re committed to providing first class service with claims handled sensitively and efficiently. When people make a claim we know that they’re usually facing difficult and life changing situations and we’re here to support them to make the whole process as smooth as possible.”
Insurance Edge Comment:
Quoting stats like these is very useful, as far as it goes, although the industry as a whole needs to learn the art of telling good news stories in a better way. Using words like musculoskeletal disorders is pointless – try speaking in plain english. As Sam White from Pukka Insure noted recently at BIBA,
“Insurance is all about repairing people’s lives and we need to shout about that a bit better.”
Make your own You Tube documentaries about how your insurance product saved someone’s life through healthcare screening & treatment. Record a pet’s journey from vet visit, to bouncing on the sofa again full of beans. Chat with a biker who has recovered from the shock of having his pride and joy stolen, and then seen it recovered, repaired and back at the Sunday morning breakfast hang-out.
Tweet, Facebook and Instagram the heck out of such brilliant life stories, because people always want to read about, and watch, other people. These are the stories that real, breathing, emotional, human beings can relate to – not league tables and percentages. The moment you turn good news into an actuarial table is the point at which you’ve lost half your audience.