The number of people claiming income protection caused by mental illness doubled in 2020, new research from Zurich found.
In Mental Health Awareness Week, the insurance giant said more than one in four (27%) claims were triggered by mental health conditions last year, compared to 13% in 2019.
Around £1.7 million was paid out to policyholders, while nearly one in five (18%) also accessed Zurich Support Services, with 82% seeking clinical support for conditions including depression, stress and anxiety.
Zurich said that mental illness was also the second most common reason for new group income protection claims last year after cancer. Central to the product is extensive specialist rehabilitation support provided by an in-house team.
Nicky Bray, chief underwriter for Zurich’s life business, said: “We know around one in four of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives which means it is vital that products such as life and income protection insurance are available to as many people as possible. For customers who share a history of conditions with us, such as depression, stress and anxiety – the vast majority are offered cover and the valuable support that comes with it.”
Bray said that in order to boost uptake, Zurich continually looks to simplify the application questions and only request further information when needed.
Bray added: “We are also progressing various initiatives as part of our work with the ABI on the mental health standards for the industry.”