Heart attack and stroke were the most common reasons for life and critical illness cover claims by men in the Middle East, while cancer was the leading cause for claims by women, according to new research.
Zurich International Life’s latest claim statistics revealed that the majority of claims made by men are from those aged 40 and above, whereas for women, the majority of claims were paid to women in their 30s.
The total value of claims Zurich paid out from January 2014 to December 2016 in the Middle East was just under AED250 million ($67 million), with the largest life cover payout being AED5.5 million ($1.5 million).
The Zurich data showed significant variation in the causes of premature death and critical illness by condition. For life insurance, almost half (48 percent) of male claims were due to heart attack and stroke with a quarter (26 percent) from cancer, while for women, half of the claims (50 percent) were for cancer and 19 percent were for cardio vascular disease.
When it comes to critical illness, over two-thirds (68 percent) of claims for men were paid out due to cardio vascular disease while four out of five (81 percent) claims paid out to women were for breast and cervical cancer.
In general, statistics showed that the majority of the claimants (73 percent) were men, which is reflective of the portfolio gender split of Zurich, revealing that women remain under-insured in the region.
Findings from a recent report by Zurich revealed that 97 percent of UAE residents considered themselves to be healthy, with 88 percent believing they would remain healthy for the next five years.
However, Zurich’s claims records demonstrate that the youngest claimants for life cover is 27, while for critical illness, it is 29 years.
Zurich said it paid out 94 percent of life cover claims and 91 percent of critical illness. The top reason why some insurance claims are not paid out was due to serious non-disclosure of a previous or existing condition such as heart attack, cancer, diabetes while a small percentage was due to fraud.
Chris Bagnall, chief underwriting officer and head of claims, from Zurich Middle East said: “Zurich continues to work hard to increase the levels of disclosure. This period has seen an increase in the percentage of valid critical illness claims paid out. The percentage of rejected death claims increased this year as Zurich continues to be diligent in detecting attempted fraudulent claims.”
He added: “It remains of upmost importance to Zurich customers that these fraudulent claims are detected as this helps to keep premium levels low.”