Just under third (32%) of all paid income protection claims by The Exeter in 2020 were for COVID-19.
Other claims included those for musculoskeletal conditions (21%) and accident and injuries (12%).
The insurer paid out upwards of £10.1m, equating to 91% of all claims submitted during the year, and was able to support more than 1,700 of its members who became unable to work due to illness or injury.
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In line with Association of British Insurers (ABI) guidance, these figures only include new claims that were paid in 2020, or existing claims that ceased during 2020.
Claims that commenced earlier than 2020 that are still in payment are not included.
Figures from the mutual insurer also show that the average age of a claimant on its Income Protection Plus policy was just 36 years old.
Chris Pollard, chief operating officer at The Exeter, said: “We really believe income protection can be lifechanging for our members, highlighted by the fact that we have been providing long-term support for many members, including an ongoing claim that started 24 years ago.
“Every claim we receive is a member, and potentially a family, turning to us for support in their moment of need, which is why we are proud to have paid over £10.1m in income protection claims in 2020.
“The past year has been extremely challenging for the country’s health and wellbeing, finances and economy, so it’s not surprising that COVID-19 featured so prominently.
“However, although year-on-year our claims data proves the value of income protection, there is still too little awareness of the benefits of this type of insurance for those who are unable to work through illness or injury.
“Raising awareness is critical and we are determined to support financial advisers to have these conversations with clients.”