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Friends Life bows to pressure and publishes IP claims data for first time

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Friends Life has bowed to pressure and published its income protection claims statistics for the first time.

The insurer paid out 87 per cent of all new income protection claims in 2012, having received 497 claims.

Of these, 45, or 9 per cent, were declined because the medical definition was not met with 18, or 4 per cent, declined due to non-disclosure.

More than 2,300 income protection customers received payouts from their policies, with Friends Life paying out a total of £21m to its income protection customers. During 2012, some 1,553 new and existing claims were reviewed and 96 per cent continued to receive payments.

Zurich was the first to published its claims statistics in March, quickly followed by Aegon and later Scottish Provident and Bright Grey, but Friends Life consitently refused to reveal its data.

The insurer is continuing to call for the industry to work with the Association of British Insurers towards a consistent basis on which insurance firms disclose this information in the future. It still believes that without a consistent basis the data could be misleading for both advisers and consumers.

Friends Life Individual Protection head of underwriting, claims and operations Chris Pollard says it has listened to the market sentiment.

But he says: “We remain concerned there is no consistent basis on which the industry discloses its income protection claims statistics other than via the ABI.

“Disclosure and transparency are positive things for the industry, but we strongly believe that the figures themselves need to be meaningful so as not to lead to incorrect conclusions.”

Friends Life also revealed it increased its critical illness payouts in 2012 by £33m to £122m as well as paying out £140m in death benefit from life or critical illness polcies.

In addition to the main benefit payments, £123,000 was paid out in fracture claims for 125 claimants during 2012.

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