Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cancer overtakes heart illness as the most common serious illness in men according to Irish Life figures

By Finfacts Team
Feb 21, 2007, 09:30

Cancer overtakes heart illness as the most common serious illness in men, according to Irish Life figures
Company pays over €76million in protection claims in 2006

New figures published today by Irish Life reveal that for the first time cancer has overtaken heart related illness as the number one cause of serious illness claims for men.

The findings are published as part of an analysis of the total payments made by Irish Life to life cover and specified illness cover customers in 2006. Irish Life is the largest life assurance provider in the country.

The figures also reveal that, when analysing claims for men and women together, cancer illnesses generated twice as many claims as heart related illnesses.

The company reported that of payments made to serious illness policy holders in 2006, 63% related to cancer ailments. This was a rise of 10% on 2005 figures. 24% of payments related to heart illness (a fall of 1% on 2005 figures). The remaining 13% relate to stroke (6%), multiple sclerosis (2%) and a variety of other illnesses (5%).

In common with the experience of previous years the most common illness amongst women was cancer, with over 85% of female claims relating to the disease (an increase of 9% from the 2005). Just 4% of claims relating to heart related illness (the same percentage as 2005).

In a reversal of previous years the payments made to male customers in 2006 show that 47% of claims relating to cancer related illness. This was an increase of 12% on 2005. 39% of claims accounted for heart related illness, in line with the 2005 figure of 40%.

Accidents accounted for 10% of all life cover payments made by Irish Life. 48% of payments made to those less than 40 years of age arose as a direct result of accidents. The figures showed that the average hospital stay experienced by customers was 8 days (a rise of 2 days from 2005 figures). The average age of those dying as a result of accident was just 41 years of age.

Announcing the results, Kevin Murphy, Head of Irish Life Retail, said, “During 2006 we paid a total of €76million, to over 2,200 customers of our life cover and serious illness cover products. The average payments made to life cover customers increased from €38,000 in 2005 to over €52,500 in 2006. The average payment made to specified illness customers rose from €48,000 in 2005 to €55,700 in 2006. Worryingly there seems to be an increase in the percentage of our customers suffering from cancer related illnesses. However, this increase may be partly due to people addressing the issues that lead to heart illness thus reducing the numbers experiencing heart ailments.”