Cancer main cause of critical illness claims amongst men last year, say Scottish Widows

by | Jun 13, 2022

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Half of critical illness claims submitted to protection provider Scottish Widows in 2021 were from males with cancer, followed by heart attack (16%) and stroke (10%), according to new data.

Bowel cancer accounted for almost one in six (15%) critical illness claims from men, with prostate cancer resulting in a similar number (14%). Malignant melanoma (7%) and Hodgkin’s lymphoma (6%) were next highest on the list in 2021.

The overall value of all critical illness pay-outs made by Scottish Widows in 2021 came to over £74 million, with male claims accounting for £38 million, £1.4 million more than those from women.

Furthermore, a quarter (25%) of life insurance claims submitted in 2021 were from men who had been diagnosed with cancer.


Research from Macmillan Cancer Support shows that 83% of people with cancer in the UK experience some kind of financial impact from their diagnosis, and for those affected, this reaches an average of £891 a month, on top of their usual expenditure [i].

Additional data from Scottish Widows found that over a quarter (26%) of those with cancer or living with someone who had been diagnosed would have found advice around accessing government benefits and other forms of financial support helpful[ii].

To support customers impacted by cancer, Scottish Widows has partnered with Macmillan Cancer Support, offering all life, pensions, and investments policyholders an easy way to be referred to Macmillan’s free and confidential support line to gain access to a range of specialist help. They have also worked together to speed up the critical illness claims process for customers with cancer, reducing the time it takes to process a claim from over 60 to approximately 17 days.


Scott Cadger, Head of Protection Underwriting and Claims Strategy at Scottish Widows, said: “It is crucial to listen to your body and seek medical help if something feels wrong. Ignoring these bodily alarms and not getting things checked out can sometimes lead to missed opportunities for early detection – where less invasive and preventative solutions are available.

“When diagnosed with an illness such as cancer, the priority should always be on health and recovery, but unfortunately money concerns can become a heavy burden for many – especially as living costs increase. Our partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support looks to help address these issues in a very real way, to help our customers to get the support they need so they are able to prioritise their health during what can be an extremely difficult period.”

More information on the Macmillan partnership can be found, here.


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