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Irish Life paid €57 million in Income Protection Claims in 2017

  • 3,323 individual claims for Income Protection during 2017; on average claimants received €22,659
  • Mental health and back pain were the main reasons for claims (20% each) followed by cancer (17%)
  • Irish Life paid more than €1 million each week to people who were injured or too ill to work
  • Between 2015-2017, 2,474 people who claimed Income Protection benefits have recovered sufficiently from their illness and returned to work

3rd April 2018 – Irish Life, the leading provider of Income Protection benefits in Ireland*, paid out over €57 million to people who were unable to work due to illness or injury during 2017. A review of Irish Life’s claims data provides a snapshot into the health of the working population in Ireland, and includes an overview of the types of illnesses that led to more than 3,000 people receiving Income Protection payments in 2017 due to illness or injury**.

The data showed that mental health problems and back pain issues were the main reasons for claims paid in 2017, with each illness representing a fifth (20%) of all Irish Life’s Income Protection claims. This was followed by cancer, which represented 17% of all Income Protection claims last year, while injuries accounted for 11% of claims paid.

The average annual benefit amount Irish Life paid out in 2017 was €22,659, and the biggest claim payout last year was for €297,000. Because Income Protection payments are directly based on peoples’ salaries, the amount received by individuals depends on their income at the time of their claim. In 2017, Irish Life paid more than €1 million each week to claimants.

Income Protection claims for men and women varied; in 2017, the average age for men who claimed was 49 years, compared to an average age of 46 for women**.

According to the data, male claims for mental health problems have decreased from 24% in the period 2011-2014 to 22% in 2015-2017. Women’s claims for mental health problems also dropped from 22% to 19% in the same period**. These reductions could be attributed to better awareness and acceptance of mental health problems in society, together with a larger focus on wellness and wellbeing programmes now being provided by many employers. In contrast, claims for injuries have increased from 8% to 11% over the same period.

Due to continued improvements in early detection and treatment, more people who are diagnosed with cancer are surviving this illness. In many cases, people diagnosed with cancer can recover and return to work within 18 to 24 months. This is reflected in the reduction in cancer claims from 19% to 17% in 2015 – 2017.

The Irish Life data also showed that 2,474 people recovered sufficiently from their illness between 2015-2017, allowing them to return to their full-time occupations. In many cases, Irish Life supported claimants with phased returns to work, increasing the chances of people successfully getting back into employment:

  • 4,100 people have met dedicated Health Claims Advisors since 2010
  • More than 480 people attended rehabilitation programmes funded by Irish Life since 1997.
  • Almost 100 employers attended Mental Health conferences organised by Irish Life from 2015-2017, to learn to support employees in times of difficulty

Tony Lawless, Managing Director of Irish Life Corporate Business, said: “With a global trend focussing on health and wellness, thankfully most people are more alert to early warning signs when it comes to their health. Even still, more than three thousand people in Ireland needed our help last year when they were too ill to work. By working with their employers, we reduced the financial burden they would otherwise face at that difficult time and paid them a replacement salary while they were injured or too ill to work.

We’ve put lots of important supports in place to help employees get back on their feet when they are ready to re-join the workforce. Those programmes get phenomenal feedback from our customers. For us, it’s about helping people build more financially secure futures, and Income Protection is a great example of that.”

ENDS

*Source: Market Leading Consultant. Irish Life is Ireland’s leading Income Protection provider, based on a market share of 47% in 2017.

**Source of all data: Irish Life claims data

 

Media Coverage

https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/irish-life-pays-out-more-than-1m-a-week-to-ill-workers-36779449.html

https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/over-1m-weekly-paid-out-to-those-injured-or-unfit-for-work-last-year-irish-life-36777742.html

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