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Friends Life bows to pressure and publishes IP claims data

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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.

Some 9 per cent of claims were declined because the medical definition was not met, with 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 publish its income protection claims statistics in March, followed by Aegon and later Scottish Provident/Bright Grey but Friends Life refused to reveal its data.

Friends Life individual protection head of underwriting, claims and operations Chris Pollard says it has listened to market sentiment but called on the industry to work with the ABI to create consistent data reporting.

He says: “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.”

Protection Review chief executive Kevin Carr says: “Now that most companies are publishing statistics the next step is an agreed level of standardisation but the important issue is getting the numbers out there because they are significantly better than the public realises.”

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 policies.

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