Cancer is responsible for 50 per cent of all claims on critical illness plans according to a report from ERC Frankona.
The re-assurer's annual survey shows that cancer is the main area for claims on policies and these are split fairly evenly between males and females.
Heart attacks were next on the list of most prevalent claims comprising 20 per cent of those made. Strokes were the third most common on 9 per cent with multiple sclerosis standing at 6 per cent.
Men make up nine out of 10 claims by heart attack victums, while women out number men for claims on multiple sclerosis by two to one.