Women are claiming Life Insurance at an earlier age than men
Cancer is the leading cause of death and illness in Ireland as Irish Life pays out €187.8 million in claims during 2017
2,582 claims paid across Life Insurance, Specified Illness and Terminal Illness Cover
- €129.7 million paid out in Life Insurance to 1689 families for people who died.
€53.7 million paid to 853 people for Specified Illness Cover claims – over a third of these were aged under 50.
- Claims report reveals that over half of women died from cancer, compared to 38% of men.
- Breast cancer was found to be the main cancer for Specified Illness Cover claims.
- Heart-related conditions still the most common cause of death or illness for more men than women according to claims data.
- Women claiming at an earlier age than men – average age of 64 years for female Life Insurance claims and just 51 years for Specified Illness cover, 4 years earlier than men
- Accidental deaths accounted for 25% of Life Insurance claims for people under 40
Cancer continues to be the main cause of death and illness in Ireland according to Irish Life, Ireland’s leading life insurer*. Irish Life today published its annual claims report for its retail business, confirming that it paid out €187.8 million to customers and their families affected by illness and death during 2017. The report provides a unique insight into the health of the nation, and includes an overview of the illnesses and conditions that led to payments for 2,582 Life Insurance, Specified Illness Cover and Terminal Illness claims in 2017.
The claims report highlights that Irish Life paid €129.7 million for 1,689 Life Insurance claims, €53.7 million for 853 Specified Illness Cover claims, and a further €4.4 million for 40 Terminal Illness claims. These figures represent an increase of 10% overall in the value of claims paid out to Irish Life customers compared to 2016 figures. The average payment was €76,786 for Life Insurance claims, €62,992 for Specified Illness Cover claims, and €109,534 for Terminal Illness claims, although there was a wide variation in the size of claims settled.
Cancer was once again the main cause of both Life Insurance (42%) and Specified Illness claims (62%), followed by heart-related conditions which accounted for 10% of deaths and 20% of Specified Illness claims. Overall, breast cancer was the main type of cancer for Specified Illness claimants.
Martin Duffy, Head of Underwriting & Protection Claims, Irish Life Retail, commented on the claims report; “We paid an average of €3.6 million a week last year to people and families affected by illness and death. In fact, we paid 95% of the life insurance and specified illness claims we received last year. And yet we’ve seen from a recent study by Coyne Research** that people in Ireland think that only half (51%) of life insurance claims overall are paid. So clearly, we need to make more people aware of the real benefits of life and specified Illness cover, as it can be a lifeline for you and your family in times of difficulty.
“This is further proven by the fact that over a third of our Specified Illness claims were paid to people under 50 years of age. Those payments would have helped to ease the financial burden for those people and their families at a difficult time. However, it’s a worry that the Coyne Research study also found that less than half of women in Ireland (just 45%) have some form of life insurance, serious illness cover or income protection, compared to almost 2 in every 3 men (63%). And unfortunately, this lack of financial protection among women in particular is also reflected in our 2017 claims data where women made up just 38% of our Life Insurance claims”, he said.
Gender Variations: The Irish Life claims report showed notable gender variations in relation to life insurance, specified illness and terminal illness claims for 2017. Almost two thirds of Life Insurance claims were for men (60%) compared to just 35% for women. In relation to Specified Illness claims, over half (53%) of claims were paid to men and 45% to women. The report also revealed that women are claiming at an earlier age than men; the average age for female life claims was 64 years, compared to 67 years for men, and for specified illness claims the average age for female claimants was just 51 years, compared to 55 years of age for male claims.
Life Insurance claims: The claims report highlighted that the number of people dying from cancer in Ireland remains high, as over half of women (54%) and 38% of men died from cancer in 2017. Heart-related conditions also feature as a main cause of death, with men five times more likely to die from a heart condition when compared to women.
Within the Life Insurance category, accidental deaths accounted for 7% of all claims, representing a total payment of €17.1 million. The average age for accidental death claims was just 49 years, the lowest average age on record, with more men (63%) dying from accidental death causes than women (28%). A quarter of all Life Insurance claims for those under 40 years were as a result of an accident, making it the second biggest cause of claims for this age-group again this year. €1m in payments was made to families of those who died in road traffic accidents in 2017.
Specified Illness claims: The report also highlighted that cancer was the main cause for Specified Illness claims for both men (49%) and women (77%). Prostate cancer was the leading cancer claim for men (19%), followed by lung cancer and colon cancer. Breast cancer was the main type of cancer claim for women (39%), followed by colon cancer and ovarian cancer.
Irish Life paid over 95% of all Life Insurance and Specified Illness claims received in 2017, paying out over €3.6 million a week on average. Most of the small number of claims it declined were due to non-disclosure of medical information or the illnesses not being covered. The company also confirmed that almost 2 in every 3, Specified Illness claims were paid within five weeks of Irish Life receiving the completed claim forms.
Examples of claims payments made by Irish Life in 2017:
• The largest individual Life Insurance claim of €5,075,000 was paid out to the family of a claimant who died of cancer
• €146,000 was paid to the family of a claimant in their 40s who died of cancer shortly after starting a life insurance policy
• An early Specified Illness claim was paid to a claimant in their 30s who had a cancer diagnosis just a few weeks after starting their cover and received a payment of €24,000
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*Based on market share (2017)
**Research carried out by Coyne Research. 1,000 adults aged 18+ were interviewed online between 6th and 12th December 2017.
Orca Financial talks to the Independent.ie about business
Orca financial chief is man with a plan. Sean Gallagher meets owners of small and medium sized businesses. They share the lessons they’ve learnt in building their companies.
Orca Financial was set up in 2004 by John Molloy and Stephen Byrne. Orca is headquartered in The Grange Offices, on the Stillorgan Road, Blackrock, Co Dublin and with a second office in Portlaoise, Co Laois. The company employs 11 staff and this year will see their turnover reach close to €1.5m
“Ours is a financial brokerage business. It acts as an umbrella for three separate yet complementary services,” says John, the company’s managing director. “Orca Life and Pensions is our core business. As an authorised financial broker, offers Life Assurance, Pension and Investment advice to almost 3,000 clients.
“I am a huge believer in the benefit of life assurance. I have received lots of letters and emails from spouses, families and indeed businesses who have lost loved ones or business partners and whose troubles were lessened as the result of such a payment. Likewise, our pensions and investment business is about ensuring people put in place sufficient provisions to ensure they are protected for unforeseen events. This makes sure they have enough money to enjoy a quality of life once they reach retirement age.”
Their second service, Orca Private Equity, is a separate company within the group that deals with unregulated investments. Managed by John’s business partner, Stephen Byrne, this caters for those investors looking for greater risk and potentially higher returns. “To date, we have raised significant capital for a number of property developers. Private companies such as Pre-pay Power and Homesecure are also who we have raised capital for. We are now currently raising equity for another exciting business, Urban Volt,” says Stephen.
The company’s third and most recent addition is their online service, OOMPH.ie. Oomph was launched last year to help people between the age of 20 and 40 to purchase life insurance. This provides fast and efficient online life assurance cover.
“With over 450,000 parents in Ireland with no life cover, this leaves a lot of families potentially exposed to financial challenges in the future,” says John. “Having researched the market, we found there was an increasing appetite for this service. This services enables customers buy cover in the evenings or over weekends. It provides fair and transparent pricing and provides choice rather than offering only one company’s products.”
“In addition, the lower cost online model allows us offer discounts. These discounts are on life cover rates and mortgage protection plans which also makes it more attractive for customers.”
John grew up in Rathfarnham in Dublin. He wanted to go to UCD, but did not receive a high enough score on his Leaving Exam. He completed a diploma in retail marketing in the College of Marketing and Design. Later that year, while deciding whether to advance his studies, John got a job selling life assurance door-to-door. While he didn’t particularly enjoy that aspect of the business, he fell in love with the sector. As a result, he postponed going back to college and joined Norwich Union as a trainee account manager. It would be later in his early 30s that he would eventually return to the Smurfit Business School in UCD. This is where he completed an executive MBA.
He was still only 20 years old when he was promoted as account manager by Norwich. He later moved to Prudential. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions where Prudential became part of the Irish Permanent Group and then the Irish Life and Permanent group. John ended up becoming head of pension distribution for the national network of Permanent TSB branches. “I had felt for a long time that there was a lack of long-term service for pension and retirement planning. In order for customers to get the most out of their investments, annual reviews should be routinely carried out to assess the customer’s risk appetite as their circumstances changed or they grew older. So in 2004, I decided to set up Orca Financial with Stephen.”
Also from Rathfarnham, Stephen had studied IT in Trinity College before forming an IT-based startup. When the pair met, Stephen was working as a mortgage broker. The combination of their skill sets and experience seemed a perfect fit for this new venture.
“I realised that mortgage advice was going to be key and that I had little or no experience in this area, so I approached Stephen after a recommendation from a friend. He was also involved in property development and had a great handle on fundraising and private equity which would also become an important part of our business,” says John.
Starting out in a small basement office in the city centre the pair were joined shortly after by Sarah McGurrin, now a fellow shareholder and sales director in the business. Apart from customers, John emphasises the importance of a strong team.
The company’s focus on mortgages was central to their success until the market collapsed in 2008. “That was our greatest challenge and resulted in a significant drop in income in a very short term. However, we were lucky to have invested to acquire three other life and pension brokerages which we merged into the company, one each year in 2006, 2007 and 2008,” he adds.
One of the businesses they acquired had an office in Portlaoise, which they continue to use to service their many clients throughout the Midland region.
“Referrals, too, have played a key part in our continued growth and today we are proud to have €130m of funds under advice for our 3,000 clients,” he adds. “Unlike some businesses, our emphasis is on personal service where we get to know the customer rather than treating them as a policy number,” says John.
Optimistic about the future of the company, John’s short-term strategy is to grow the business by way of further acquisitions and mergers as a result of the number of smaller brokerages struggling with the increased burden of new legislation. And with his new life assurance online service, OOMPH.ie now up and running, he sees this, too, as a strong source of future revenues.
New website wants to put a bit of Oomph into your life insurance search
Oomph.ie talks all about life insurance
The duo behind established financial brokerage company Orca have branched into life insurance with a new website.
John Molloy and Sarah McGrurruin have set up Oomph.ie to offer cover from the six main insurance providers. These are Irish Life, New Ireland, Friends First, Zurich, Royal London and Aviva. In addition, they hope to target the near 500,000 families in Ireland without life insurance.
Customers have to simply input their details into Oomph.ie. After that, they can access up-to-date information on policy types and levels of cover available. They can also see stories of people like them and what they pay.
Get life insurance online with Oomph.ie’s jargon-free website. You can use the FAQ section or web chat feature if you need assistance.
When Molloy spoke to Extra.ie, he said life insurance is ‘normally cheaper than individuals realise’. For example, a couple in their mid-40s can attain €250,000 coverage over 10 years for around €15 per week.
‘In our business we see the benefits of having protection in place far too regularly when we receive calls from a remaining partner making claims on policies,’ he said.
‘The loss of a partner or parent is a very traumatic event but to know there is financial stability for a family going forward because of advice we provided can be rewarding.’
In conclusion, the company wants to appeal to the 500,000 Irish families without life insurance.
In researching the market, Molloy found people often confused a mortgage protection policy with a family protection policy. Therefore. a website would be the best way to encourage more people to ‘protect themselves from this type of financial stress’.
‘A couple can get insured by us with a policy documentation issued if there are is no significant medical history,’ he said
‘Naturally, we are constantly timing the process if purchasing life insurance. Our fastest time is 50 minutes. The lady bought mortgage insurance.’
Contact us to speak to one of our experts and they will guide you through the process. Click Here.
Article featured in Extra.ie by George Morahan
Me & My Money: John Molloy, managing director, Oomph.ie
‘My most extravagant purchase was also my most stupid… a BMW in 2005 for €78,000’
Are you a saver or a spender? A spender! I save a lot in my pension fund but try to only draw out what I need in salary from the company to cover bills and lifestyle on a monthly basis.
Do you shop around for better value? Almost always for larger purchases. I’d have a look online before purchase and traditionally identify where I get the best value before I walk into the shop.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost? My most extravagant purchase was also my most stupid. I bought a one-year-old 645 Coupe BMW in 2005, in the height of the boom, for €78,000.I sold it in 2012 for €7,000.
I’ll never make that mistake again. What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money? My wife’s engagement ring! Regardless of what I paid for the ring, she is invaluable.
How do you prefer to shop – online or local? I’d very much do a mixture of both, so no preference, but I always look for good value and try to support local business where possible.
Do you haggle over prices? Always!
Has the recession changed your spending habits? Very much so. As with the example of the BMW, I will never again borrow for a car. I draw a smaller salary and live within my means. Pre-2008, I thought the good times would last forever. I now realise that we will have more downturns and I’ll be a lot more prepared next time both to keep financially secure and to take advantage.
Do you invest in shares? Yes, I lost a lot in 2008-2009 after saving for almost 20 years in bank shares, but I have also gained a lot of it back by getting into Bank of Ireland shares at seven cent. Almost all my share dealing is done through my pension fund, and I trade several times a year.
Cash or card? Cash. It gives you better bargaining power.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money? A weekend away deal for my wife and I in the Mount Falcon Hotel in Mayo.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase? Other than my home, not really.
Have you ever lost money? Yes. The decrease in value of bank shares during the recession wiped out a lot of my equity investment. I still hold them, but they are worth a fraction of what I paid. Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win? Anyone who leaves a well-paid pensionable job to start his or her own business is a gambler. So yes, I’m a gambler but it has paid off, so far, almost 15 years later.
Is money important to you? Somewhat, but it’s by no means the be-all and end-all. I want enough to lead a nice lifestyle for my family and myself, and I have enough saved when I retire to really start to enjoy life. As a result, my pension funding is very important to me. Health and contentment are far more important, though, and as I get older that becomes a lot clearer.
How much money do you have on you now? €165.
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea at The Irish Times
It Would be a Crime to Ignore Life Insurance
For the security and peace of mind of your family, life insurance is the most important policy you will buy. It may not be as pricey as you think.
Consumers tend to pay more attention to choosing car insurance than life insurance. If you don’t know the difference between the many different types of life insurance and assume that all policies are for life, then prepare to be seriously mistaken. There is also a good chance that you are paying too much for your policy. You could also be buying too little cover for too long a term.
Here we explain the seven most common mistakes people make when purchasing life insurance.
Mortgage protection is not a family protection policy
Many people feel if they have mortgage protection, they have family protection. This is not correct.
A bank or lender will require a life policy to be put in place to cover the mortgage on a family home. This exists to protect the lender in the event of death of one of the borrowers. Upon the death of a partner, it’s a comfort to have the family home debt-free. However, it leaves no lump sum for the family to survive financially.
A life policy is designed to replace future income on death. It allows a family to remain financially secure for many years if one or both of the incomes stops suddenly.
According to a survey conducted at Orca Financial and Oomph.ie, 46% of the life cover holders said their life assurance was a mortgage protection policy.
Underestimating the cover
In a family where a main earner brings in a net annual income of €35,000 per annum, life insurance of €100,000 may sound a lot. There is no doubt that it will add financial security for a family in the short term. In the long term though, there will more than likely be severe financial strain.
If, for example, there are three children in the family, aged 11, nine and seven, a more appropriate amount of cover would be about €350,000. This would allow a surviving partner to invest the proceeds of the payout . They will also draw off the €35,000 per annum over a 13- to 14-year period, if invested properly.
Replacement income should be calculated to last until the youngest child in the family reaches independence, at about age 21. Some cover is always better than no cover, and budgeting will also be a factor. However, if possible, life cover should be calculated at a minimum of 10 times net salary.
No income, no cover
There is a misunderstanding that a spouse or partner who chooses to remain at home and look after the children has no need for life cover. This is incorrect, as there is a sizeable financial contribution made to a family by an individual choosing to remain at home rather than work.
Without wanting to sound cold, the financial implications need to be considered. Depending on the age of dependent children, a homemaker should be insured to cover the subsequent costs that may be incurred until the youngest child reaches independence.
Overestimating the cost of insurance
In most cases, life insurance is a lot cheaper than people think. The Oomph.ie survey found that the vast majority of respondents overestimated the cost of life assurance. For example, a non-smoking couple in their mid-thirties can attain €250,000 life insurance over 10 years for about €7.50 a week. A couple in their mid-forties can attain the same cover for about €15 a week.
Do not buy off anyone, or institution, that can only sell one company’s products
There are six main providers of life assurance in the Irish market. An independent broker should ensure that you get the best available price.
If you have recently bought life cover from your bank or a tied agent, it is worth getting a comparative quotation to establish if you received the best available price on the market. It’s unlikely you did.
Get the term for which you need cover correct
The term of your insurance is an important factor when determining price. Personal life cover is required to make sure there is financial stability in a family until there is no longer a need, generally when the youngest child hits independence.
Life cover taken on for longer periods may only increase the cost of cover. You may be better off taking out higher cover for a shorter term. Similarly, taking out cover for too short a term may leave you in a position that the cover runs out when you need it most and it will cost a lot more to replace as you get older.
It is possible to take out cover for a higher amount over a shorter term, and include a conversion option. This allows the policyholder to convert their cover to another plan at any stage of their existing policy. They will not have to further medical information at the end of the term. The option can be added to most life policies for very little additional cost.
Lack of belief in life company claims record
Life insurance companies have some of the strongest claims payouts in the trade, with an average of 99% of claims being paid from companies operating in Ireland. It’s hard to dispute death. Yet it is vitally important that all details are completed correctly on life insurance application forms, including smoking status, medical history and family history.
If someone has had a medical scare, it does not mean they won’t get cover. While they may or may not be charged a premium based on their medical or family history, it is still worth making the application to establish the position
John Molloy is managing director of Orca Financial Services. He is a founder of Oomph.ie, an online life insurance broker
Life assurance or insurance?
There are two types of life cover, assurance and insurance. Though the terms are often interchanged, they refer to two very different products.
Assurance refers to an event that is assured to happen, where as insurance refers to something that merely might happen.
If you take out a whole of life assurance policy, and continue to pay the premium, there will be a payout of the insured amount to your estate in the future. As a result, premiums are a lot more expensive. Life insurance is much more common. An individual or couple typically insure themselves for an agreed amount over a fixed term. Should they pass away during this term, the cover is paid out, if they don’t, there is no payout.
Life insurance is taken out generally for the period in which there is a potential financial exposure for a dependent family.
Whole of life assurance would typically be arranged as part of an individual’s inheritance tax planning, and should be discussed with tax advisers and reviewed every few years.
Royal London offers whole of life cover with a “life changes” option. This offers the ability to pay for cover for 15 years and then cease payments. For an additional 10% of the premium, agreed at the outset, you get an option at the end of the cover period to get cashback of 70% of the premiums paid, or leave a percentage of the cover in place until you die.