Our 2023 individual protection claims results

£1.18bn paid out, on more than 50,600 of our individual protection claims in 2023

  • 97.8% of all individual protection claims were paid last year
  • Over the last five years, more than £5.37bn has been paid out on individual protection claims
  • More than £760m was paid out in 2023 on individual life and terminal illness claims
  • 81% of individual income protection customers given rehabilitation support for mental health conditions either remained in or successfully returned to work

Last year, we paid out £1.18bn to help individual protection customers and their families in their time of need. This is the fourth consecutive year that claims payments have exceeded £1bn. 

More than 50,600 claims were paid across individual life insurance, critical illness cover, income protection and other protection policies and we paid 97.8% of claims.

In addition to individual protection claims, we paid out more than £413m across group protection policies last year, giving a total of £1.59bn paid out across all protection policies in 2023.  

Jacqueline Kerwood, Head of Claims Strategy and Governance at Aviva, said:

“With an average of £3.2m paid out every day last year on individual protection claims, we have again shown our consistency and scale in helping customers and their families with crucial financial support when their lives are turned upside down by bereavement or ill health. Since 2019 we have paid out more than £5.37bn to UK families on just over 233,000 claims.

“However, the support we give to customers is so much broader than just making payments, with our claims specialists experienced in identifying where additional support would benefit and make a real difference to each customer.

“Whether that’s with rehabilitation services, signposting additional support, or sending gifts to help brighten their day, a claim is more than a financial payment. We go beyond insurance to help support the people we protect.

We’ll be bringing some of these individual stories to life through the launch of the Aviva Individual Protection Claims Report next month and at our planned intermediary live event and webinars.

Jacqueline Kerwood, Head of Claims Strategy and Governance

Life insurance claims (including terminal illness benefit)

More than £761m was paid out on individual life insurance and terminal illness benefit last year. This was £78m more than the amount paid out in the previous year, despite the number of claims paid, 40,436, being slightly lower than the previous year’s 41,002 claims.

More than £101m of the total was paid out as terminal illness benefit to 729 customers, with an average payment of around £139,000, helping those customers put their affairs in order.

Cancer remains the most common reason for claim at 43% of all claims, more so for women (50%) than men (38%). Cardiovascular conditions were the second most common reason for claim at 25%, though higher for men (29%) compared to women (18%). Respiratory conditions was the third most common reason for claim at 8%, but dropping from 14% of all claims the prior year.

Consistent with previous years, 99.3% of all claims were paid. Of the 0.7% of claims declined, more than half were because the customer misrepresented relevant information at the point of application, for example their health and lifestyle.

Critical illness (including children’s benefit and total permanent disability)

More than £362m was paid out to support customers with individual critical illness policies, including children’s benefit and total and permanent disability. 

More than half of all claims (58%) were for a cancer diagnosis, rising to 74% of all claims for women. The second most common reason for claim, heart attack, was more prevalent for men (17% of all male claims) than women (4% of female claims). Stroke remained the third most common reason at 11% of all claims for men and 4% of all claims for women.

The most common cancer claims amongst men was prostate (30%), followed by gastrointestinal (17%) and haematological (14%). For women, breast cancer was the most common cancer (55%), followed by gastrointestinal (10%) and gynaecological (9%).

£5.9m was paid out as Children's Benefit to 283 claimants. The most common reason for a children’s claim is cancer (31%), with haematological cancer being the most common form at 51% of all children’s cancer claims.

5,048 claims were paid in total for critical illness including total permanent disability and children’s benefit, with 91.6% of claims paid. 5.8% were declined as the definition had not been met, with a further 2.4% declined for the misrepresentation of relevant information during the application.

Income protection

More than £53m in monthly benefits was paid last year to individual income protection policyholders through ongoing and new claims. Just over 3,900 long term and new claims were paid, with 92.5% of all claims being paid.

While musculoskeletal conditions were the most common reason for claim (27%), mental health was also a leading cause accounting for 24% of all claims.  We also saw a 53% increase in new mental health rehabilitation cases last year, with the tailored support we offer making a significant difference by enabling 81% to successfully return to work after our early interventions.

The average age when customers first claim on a policy is 42 years, with almost three-fifths of claims (59%) occurring between the ages of 40 and 59.

In addition to the main monthly income benefit, we also paid out just over £6.2m in back to work benefit, £197,000 in hospital benefit and £58,000 in trauma benefit, showing the breadth of support available on our Income Protection+ policies.

Fewer than eight in every 100 claims were declined last year, the most common reason being that relevant health and lifestyle information was not shared when the policy was taken out.

Visit our protection claims page for customer stories and information on our claims process.

Please note

• Aggregate claims data for 2019 to 2020 includes Fracture Cover. Data from 2021 includes Fracture Cover and additional benefits claims (Fracture Cover, hospital, trauma, carer and therapy benefit claims). From 2020, Life Insurance claims data includes Over 50s and Whole of Life claims not included in 2019.

• Life insurance claims (including terminal illness benefit): Data on conditions is based on paid claims and excludes claims where the cause of death or gender was not reported in enough detail.

• Critical illness claims (including children’s benefit and total permanent disability): Data on most common reasons for claim is for paid claims only and based on reported illness type. It includes children’s benefit and funeral benefit claims. For gender specific data, claims are excluded where gender and/or site of cancer is not recorded. 

Children’s benefit data includes funeral benefit claims but excludes children’s hospital benefit claims. Data on children’s conditions excludes children’s hospital benefit. 

• Income protection claims: Data on conditions exclude some claims due to data reporting constraints. All paid income protection claims are included (new and existing claims).