More than one in four income protection claims due to mental health problems in 2020, study says

0

More than one in four income protection claims were caused by mental health problems in 2020 amid a coronavirus pandemic, research shows.

  • According to insurer Zurich, the share of income protection claims as a result of mental health problems will double in 2020
  • About £ 1.7 million in payments were made to individual policyholders who made claims
  • Some sought clinical support as part of their management for conditions such as depression, stress, and anxiety

More than one in four income protection claims were caused by mental illness in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, a study finds.

According to data from insurer Zurich, the share of such claims due to mental health problems doubled last year.

It said 27 percent of income protection claims were caused by mental illness in 2020, compared to 13 percent in 2019, making it the most common cause of claims.

The insurer published the findings ahead of Mental Health Awareness week May 10-16.

About £ 1.7 million in payments were made to individual policyholders who made claims. Some sought clinical support as part of their policy for conditions such as depression, stress and anxiety, Zurich said.

More than one in four income protection claims were caused by mental illness in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, a study finds.  (stock image)

More than one in four income protection claims were caused by mental illness in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, a study finds. (stock image)

The company also said 28 percent of new collective income protection claims last year related to mental illness, making it the second most common reason for people seeking support, after cancer.

This is cover from an employer as part of the employment conditions package.

Nicky Bray, Zurich’s lead insurer for his life insurance, said: ‘We know that about one in four of us will develop a mental health problem at some point in our lives, which means it is vital that products such as life insurance and income insurance available to as many people as possible.

‘To drive adoption, we are constantly seeking to simplify application questions and only ask for more information when needed to make a fair decision, making the process of buying life insurance easy to understand and quick are requested.

“We are also continuing several initiatives as part of our work with the ABI (Association of British Insurers) on mental health standards for the industry.”

Money Worries: About £ 1.7 million in payments were made to individual policyholders who had made a claim.  Some sought clinical support as part of their policy for conditions such as depression, stress and anxiety, Zurich said.  (stock image)

Money Worries: About £ 1.7 million in payments were made to individual policyholders who had made a claim.  Some sought clinical support as part of their policy for conditions such as depression, stress and anxiety, Zurich said.  (stock image)

Money Worries: About £ 1.7 million in payments were made to individual policyholders who had made a claim. Some sought clinical support as part of their policy for conditions such as depression, stress and anxiety, Zurich said. (stock image)

10 million people ‘face post-Covid mental health crisis’

Up to 10 million people could need mental health support in the aftermath of the pandemic, a report warned ahead of Britain’s second wave of coronavirus.

Experts said that about 8.5 million adults and 1.5 million children in England are likely to need help to cope with the effects of the coronavirus, including the loss of loved ones and jobs.

They will especially need help with depression and anxiety, according to an analysis from the Center for Mental Health, which consulted NHS experts.

But others – including NHS workers – could develop conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is more commonly associated with service personnel after armed conflict.

Insurer AIG Life Limited also said there was a growing demand for private services to help people with mental health problems. It said young people in particular sought help.

AIG said the demand for mental health among members of societal risk programs is growing through its wellness service, Smart Health by AIG, a digital healthcare service.

It said demand for appointments with mental health psychologists boomed in the first three months of the year.

Lee Lovett, general manager, group protection at AIG Life, said that as lockdown restrictions eased, “many will have been psychologically scarred by the fear and worry of the pandemic.”

Mr. Lovett said, “This has significantly diminished people’s emotional resilience for dealing with the new concept of contact risk.

This could express itself as fear of commuting, of sitting in the office, of venturing into built-up, densely populated areas, and leaving behind the only constant that has provided safety: at home.

“We can expect people to become anxious and need mental health support.”

AIG usage data showed that younger people and women were the most likely to ask for help. More than half (57 percent) of those seeking Smart Health mental health consultations and psychologists were between the ages of 18 and 35 and 5 percent were under the age of 18, while 63% of psychology service appointments were for women .

Research commissioned by AIG Life found that one in four (25 percent) adults wanted training to help others and identify the signs of mental health problems in themselves.

Some employers were already addressing the need for training, it found, with about one in five (18 percent) employees said they had received training through work. Another 13 percent said they went online to learn about mental health issues.

Alison Esson, proposition manager at AIG Life, said, “Attitudes toward mental health have changed a lot, especially in the past year, and people are much more aware of the risks to themselves and others.”

Advertisement

.