Cancer and mental health issues accounted for 47% of income protection claims paid over the last year, according to research by Unum.
Its Annual claims statement, based on income protection claims paid to 1,700 employees between August 2014 and July 2015, also revealed that around a quarter (24%) of claims were paid to staff under the age of 40.
The research also found:
- Income protection claims for long-term sickness absences caused by cancer accounted for almost a third (29%) of all claims paid.
- 18% of income protection claims related to long-term absences cased by mental health issues, such as stress, depression and anxiety.
- Conditions associated with the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease, accounted for 7% of claims paid.
- 7% of income protection claims paid were related to heart and circulation issues, while musculoskeletal conditions accounted for one in ten claims paid.
- 57% of income protection claims paid were to male employees, and 43% to female staff.
John Letizia, head of public affairs at Unum, said: “We are publishing this data for the first time to show businesses which health conditions are most likely to affect their workforce so they can put the right steps in place to support employees should they fall ill.
“We know that one in ten people will be unable to work for six months or more due to illness at some point during their working life. Having income protection not only provides financial support to that employee should they need time off work, but it also supports them back into work through rehabilitation services.
“A key concern for us is looking at why fewer women are accessing income protection and what we can do with employers, brokers and as an industry to ensure employers are offering equal benefits to all staff along with equal pay.”