INSURANCE giant Zurich expects to pay more than £15million in claims related to Covid-19.

The company, which employs more than 600 people at Whiteley, paid out £154.2million on 3,200 life, critical illness and income protection policies in the first half of 2020 – compared with £140m in the same period last year.

Covid-19 accounted for around a third of the increase.

Zurich has already paid more than £4.5m in Covid-related claims and expects to pay more than £10m in the coming weeks.

Claims for critical illness cover have fallen – prompting the insurer to make sure they are seeking medical advice when they need to.

Peter Hamilton, Zurich’s head of retail protection, said: “Our claims data shows that we have seen a marked increase in the numbers of customers and their families needing to claim on their life insurance policies, with this jump driven in part by the Covid pandemic. This is exactly why we’re in business – to help customers and their families at the most difficult times in their lives.

“At the same time, we’ve seen fewer critical illness claims towards the end of the first half of this year – so we urge customers to seek medical advice to ensure they are accessing any treatment they may need.”

He said customer feedback had never been more positive. “As well as working hard to make claims as smooth as possible, we’ve added flexibility to help those struggling financially,” he said.

“Our aim with this support is to help people maintain vital cover. We also encourage customers to continue using their policy benefits such as rehabilitation through their income protection cover and Zurich Support Services where they can access advice on health matters as well as professional counselling services.”

There were more than 2,100 life insurance claims received during the period, with settlements worth more than £108m, compared with 1,980 claims and £97.2m in the same period last year. More than 99 per cent were paid – and Zurich said the one per cent declined were cases where customers had not shared important information, such as excessive drinking, when they applied for cover.

Critical illness payments totalled £42.4m for 561 customers, whereas last year Zurich paid £38.6m to 570 customers. New claims in June were down by around a third on last year, which Zurich said may be due to customers being unable to access medical advice and treatment.

There were 367 income protection claims paid, totalling £3.3m, compared with £3.7m last year.


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