Unum UK paid a total of £395m in claims in 2022, up £29m on 2021, with around £216m of the total being for group income protection (GIP).
However it warned that the rise of remote and hybrid working was delaying interventions to support people who may be struggling through ongoing illness or injury, or in need of support.
Cancer continued as the most common cause for claims across all of the insurer’s group risk products, accounting for 32% of GIP claims, 36% of group life insurance (GL) claims and 69% of group critical illness (GCI) claims.
Unum achieved an overall success rate for GIP customers of 95% for people returning to work or having their case resolved after referral to its rehabilitation team.
Group critical illness (GCI) claims saw an £8m increase from 2021 to £34.7m, with the number of spouse or partner claims now accounting for more than one in 10 (11%) of total GCI claims, while claims for cardiac conditions such as heart attacks rose 29%.
A large proportion of income protection claims (23.5%) were for employees under the age of 40, the insurer added.
While group life claims were up 12% from 2021, Covid life claims fell 55%, in line with the government’s vaccination programme which has reduced the number of hospitalisation and deaths since the peak of the pandemic.
Commenting on the latest data, Paula Coffey, director of claims, rehabilitation and medical services at Unum UK said: “Although cancer continues to be the most common reason for claim across the group risk product spectrum, we have experienced a sharp rise in critical illness claims for cardiac conditions as the hangover from the pandemic reduced screening and impacted waiting times.
“It’s critical that employers look out for early signs where an employee may require support before the need for claim. Hybrid and remote working have significantly impacted the timely notification of GIP claims as they make spotting the early signs of illness or injury much more difficult.”
The insurer added it was possible to train line managers and HR teams to recognise early signs of where an employee may be struggling.