The insurer published its numbers for the first half (H1) of 2020, saying they paid out over £154.2 million in life insurance claims during H1 compared to £140 million in 2019. The overall amount paid out to customers by the insurer has jumped by more than £14.2 million compared to the same period last year, with claims already paid for Covid-19 accounting for around one third of the increase. Many more claims are still being processed with over £10 million more expected to be paid in the coming weeks.
The company said that for life insurance, more than 2,100 claims were received during H1, with settlements worth over £108 million. This compares to 1,980 claims over the same period last year valued at £97.2 million. Over 99 per cent were paid, with just one per cent declined (where customers had not shared important medical information when they applied for cover, such as a history of excessive alcohol consumption).
Peter Hamilton, Zurich’s Head of Retail Protection, said: “Our claims data shows that we have seen a marked increase in the numbers of customers and their families needing to claim on their life insurance policies, with this jump driven in part by the Covid pandemic. This is exactly why we’re in business – to help customers and their families at the most difficult times in their lives. At the same time, we’ve seen fewer critical illness claims towards the end of the first half of this year – so we urge customers to seek medical advice to ensure they are accessing any treatment they may need.
“We’re pleased to report that through this challenging time, our customer feedback has never been stronger. As well as working hard to make claims as smooth as possible, we’ve added flexibility to help those struggling financially. Our aim with this support is to help people maintain vital cover. We also encourage customers to continue using their policy benefits such as rehabilitation through their income protection cover and Zurich Support Services where they can access advice on health matters as well as professional counselling services.”
Ian McKenna, Founder of life insurance guide Protection Guru, added: “Having excellent claims payment statistics is really important for any insurer but, in many ways, it is only half of the story. Consumers should receive an exceptional claims experience. Zurich’s exceptional performance in our recent Operational Ratings, where they achieve a higher score than any other life company and the joint highest rating for claims processes shows they deliver an outstanding proposition across the board.”