Protection specialist Bright Grey says it paid out 91 per cent of critical illness claims in the last six months of 2011.
The provider says it declined 2 per cent of claims for non-disclosure and the average payout was £82,000.
Cancer remained the most common reason for a claim at 55 per cent, followed by heart attacks at 10 per cent, strokes at 10 per cent and multiple sclerosis at 9 per cent.
Nearly half of claims, 44 per cent, were made by people who were 40 or under and the youngest claimant was just 23 years old having suffered a stroke.
Bright Grey proposition director Roger Edwards says: “Over half of our claims were for cancer which might appear to be a frightening statistic. But the good news is that with better screening and earlier testing, more people than ever before are surviving the disease.
“For many, chemo and other treatment means taking months off work and this is where the money from a critical illness policy comes into its own – easing any financial worries so they can focus on getting better.”
Edwards adds: “It is vital that we keep improving our critical illness cover to give clients even greater protection and to keep pace with medical advances.”