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Five things we learnt from Vitality Claims and Benefits Report 2021

By Justin Skinner, Managing Director, VitalityLife

Published: 25/08/2021

During a year when the coronavirus pandemic had a huge impact on people’s lives, we’re extremely proud that we were there for our members and their families when they needed us most.

In the face of widespread loss of life and financial insecurity for many in the UK, Vitality paid out a record £92m worth of protection claims to its members last year. As many as 99.6% of Life Cover claims were paid, 91.3% for Serious Illness Cover (SIC) and 96.8% of Income Protection1.

Every year, Vitality publishes its Claims & Benefits Report to show the percentage of claims paid to its members. It also investigates the numbers behind unique aspects of its proposition, while highlighting the financial value delivered to members through a range of rewards and benefits. Here are five things we learned from it.

1. COVID-19 represented the fifth largest cause of Life Cover claims

More than £4m was paid in COVID-19 related claims by Vitality last year, across Life Cover and SIC, with 9% of life insurance claims being paid out as a direct result of the virus. The majority of these were from Vitality’s eldest members and mostly men, who accounted for 68% of COVID death claims (despite making up 53% of its book). Interestingly, 24% of COVID-19 related claims were for members below 60.

2. Serious Illness Cover claims varied significantly between genders in 2020

While cancer was the main cause of death for both men and women, the reasons for SIC claims varied considerably between genders. Women were more likely to claim for cancer, connective tissue diseases and Endocrine and Metabolic diseases. Men, meanwhile, were more likely to claim across the Neurological and Heart & Artery body systems. Females accounted for 48% of Serious Illness Cover (SIC) claims – and 52% were from men.

3. One in 12 claims for SIC were for conditions only covered by Vitality

Paying out appropriate amounts based on severity of illness allows Vitality to cover more conditions that will financially impact the lives of its members. Pulmonary Embolisms was the most claimed upon unique condition in 2020, followed by moderately severe inflammatory bowel disease and surgery for cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) – one in 12 of all claims paid last year were for conditions only covered by Vitality.

4. Almost 10% of SIC claimants had claimed previously on their plan

With SIC, any plan can be claimed on an unlimited number of times, up to three times the level of the initial cover selected. This helps ensure cover stays in place for longer, while preventing members from becoming financially vulnerable if an illness recurs or they suffer an unrelated secondary condition. Last year, one in 11 claimants had claimed previously on their plan and one in 20 were making their third claim or more.

5. Vitality members received £14m worth of additional value during 2020

Even in the midst of the pandemic, the introduction of Vitality at Home – a range of benefits designed to help members stay healthy during lockdown – meant that as much as £14m worth of additional value was received through incentives from the Vitality Programme. In 2020, more than 50 million days of physical activity were recorded, 10 million cardio workouts tracked, and 420,000 health assessments taken. These preventative lifestyle behaviours resulted in the issuing of millions of pounds worth of rewards, such as free handcrafted coffees, discounted healthy food orders and Rakuten TV codes, and more. Data from parent company Discovery shows that such incentives can help members live longer, delay the onset of disease and reduce the risk of complications or death from COVID-192, as well as delivering financial value through the rewards themselves3.

To find out more about how we supported our members during 2020, read the Claims & Benefits Report 2021 in full here.

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    During a year when the coronavirus pandemic had a huge impact on people’s lives, we remained focused on being there for our members and their families when they needed us most.

  • Nick Telfer: Why not SIC?

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Sources:
1. Vitality Claims & Benefits Report 2021
2. Discovery South Africa Covid-19 Special report March 2021
3. Vitality Claims & Benefits Report 2021