People assume that serious illness is something that happens when we get older but that is not always true, according to an analysis from AA Life Insurance. Almost a fifth of Specified Illness claims made in Ireland were made by people under the age of 40.
“Serious illnesses hit young people as well.” Says AA Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan. “The consequences can me more serious for the family when that happens, especially in terms of loss of income.”
Announcing the launch of Specified Illness cover from AA Life, the analysis showed that 18% of serious illness claims were made by a person under the age of 40. Men were also found to have made up a lower percentage of the number of claims made in 2016 in comparison to 2015, dropping from 61% to 55% of all claims within the last year.
“Young couples very often think about Life Insurance and can imagine protecting their families if they or their partner dies. That’s prudent but a serious illness is more likely to happen and too often forget that and prepare only for the very worst. Specified illness cover is more important for younger people as the financial impact of being out of work for a significant length of time or even permanently is likely to hit them harder,” says Faughnan. “Getting cover in place while you’re young will help ensure that, should a serious illness strike, you’ll receive a cash lump sum to help maintain a good standard of living and allow you to focus on your recovery without financial worries.”
The market analysis also found that women, while accounting for less specified illness claims, were likely to be younger when making a claim against their cover.
While the average age of male claimants in 2016 was between 49 and 53, this figure dropped to an average age of 42 among women. In addition, an overwhelming majority of specified illness claims made by women (83%) related to a form of cancer, compared to 54% of claims made by men.
“We all hope that we won’t ever have to deal with these kinds of serious illness, but they are an unfortunate part of life and can have a particularly serious impact on a person’s life if they develop the illness at a younger age,” Faughnan added. “If an illness renders you unable to work that can place serious stress on both the person with the illness and on their family. However, having cover in place removes that financial strain and allows you to focus on your health at a time when doing so is most important.”
On average the amount paid out in relation to specified illness claims increased slightly in 2016, with the average claim amounting to €96,672 compared to €94,857 in 2015.