Cancer critical illness claims at LV= fell 45% during lockdown in April 2020. According to the provider about 2,700 fewer people were diagnosed with cancer each week, and in May 2020 there was a 47% fall in urgent cancer referrals compared to May 2019.
The provider is anticipating a rise in advanced stage cancer diagnoses and claims in 2021 caused by a backlog of screenings.
Cancer accounts for 20% of LV= income protection claims, 56% of critical illness, and 40% of life assurance claims.
Debbie Kennedy, director of protection at LV=, said: “Since the start of lockdown we saw a worrying fall in critical Illness insurance claims as the NHS was forced to shut down or significantly reduce many areas of non Covid care for cancer between April and June.
“This, combined with fewer patients seeking care during lockdown, means that there has been a significant drop in elective procedures, urgent cancer referrals, first cancer treatments and outpatient appointments.
“There is a real risk that having fewer cancer screenings during lockdown will develop into a long-term problem, as more people are prevented from receiving a timely cancer diagnosis. By the time that these cases reach the claims stage, customers may experience more acute symptoms than in previous years which will be difficult to treat.”