Millions of Brits are not protected against serious illness

Christina Hoghton
Written By:
Christina Hoghton

A fifth of Brits admit that their household would not be financially secure for any length of time if it lost its main income through unforeseen circumstances, according to Scottish Widows.

And more than a third (36%) would have to resort to raiding their savings if they were unable to work.

Despite this, only a third (32%) of people have life insurance, and just one in 10 (9%) have taken out critical illness cover.

Serious illness stats

The statistics about serious illness are just as concerning. Prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer in men in the UK and one in eight men will be diagnosed with this illness during their lifetime, while around 20 women are diagnosed with Ovarian cancer every day.

In addition, 10 people a day die of a brain tumour, and this is the chief cause of cancer deaths in children and young people.

Claims paid out

Scottish Widows paid out almost £4.5m in critical illness claims relating to prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and brain tumours in 2015, which collectively accounted for almost one in 10 (9%) of all cancer claims that year.

Almost two thirds (63%) of all critical illness claims were, in fact, due to cancer.

The average age of diagnosis for prostate cancer in 2015 was 57, while the average age for ovarian cancer was 47. More than half (55%) of brain tumour claimants were male, the youngest being 30 years of age.

Scott Cadger, head of underwriting and claims strategy at Scottish Widows, said: “Critical illness insurance can provide a significant financial boost at a time of emotional stress and financial difficulty, and can really help families who are struggling to come to terms with the impact of cancer.

“No matter what our personal circumstances, it is vital for all of us to ensure we have an appropriate plan in place to protect our finances and wellbeing. At a time when welfare reform is resulting in significant changes to benefits, families need to do all they can to protect themselves in the event of the unexpected happening.”