A total of £1.2 billion was paid out by the group risk industry during 2012, according to research by industry body Group Risk Development (Grid).
Its research compiled claims statistics to reveal the breakdown of benefits paid out by products, such as group life assurance, group income protection and group critical illness insurance.
The research found that claims paid for group life assurance and group income protection saw a significant increase, with an extra £74.6 million and £8.2 million paid out, respectively, over the previous year.
Group critical illness benefits paid remained in line with previous years.
The main causes for claims differ across the product range, with cancer (44%) and ischaemic heart disease (15%) highest for group life assurance, mental illness (21%) and musculoskeletal conditions (21%) highest for group income protection, and cancer (69%) and heart attacks (10%) highest for group critical illness.
Katharine Moxham (pictured), spokesperson for Grid, said: “We are pleased to once again bring together these figures, providing insight into the collective contribution the group risk industry makes to supporting British families and conclusive proof of the value of employer-sponsored group protection policies for their workers.
“It’s important to recognise that employers are not obliged to provide any of these benefits and those that do, therefore, make a sizeable contribution towards protecting the UK population against the financial consequences of death or prolonged disability.
“They are a much-valued benefit, not only to employees, but also the government, because they take the burden off the state and help reduce welfare benefit payments.
“Looking ahead to claims statistics for next year, we are working closely with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and will be publishing claims paid/declined figures in Q2 2014.
“This is the first time this data will be published from the group risk industry and it will be on a basis consistent with the ABI’s recently agreed definitions. We will continue to work side by side as we strive for industry-wide transparency on claims.”