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Gloucestershire Business News

Cirencester Friendly publishes surprising payout figures

Payouts totalling more than £8.5million were made by insurers Cirencester Friendly last year.

The income protection specialist based in South Cerney gave the green light to 95.4% of claims in 2022- up from 93.6% in 2021.

It said the figures challenge the misconception that insurers are slow to hand out money and that insurance is only for older people.

Of the 1,348 successful claims, 59% were aged 31-50 and almost a quarter were aged 30 or under.The firm said this demonstrates the value of protection for anyone of working age and that accidents or illness can happen to anyone.

The business has grown from an agricultural workers society formed in 1890 to a company which has more than 44,000 members from all walks of life across the UK. Between 1997 and 2022 it saw assets increase from £23m to more than £165m and premium income from £2m to over £21m.

A new CEO Andy Morris was appointed in April 2022  and he is delighted the firm has continued to pay out such a high proportion of claims- on average 94% over the past decade.

Mr Morris said: "One of the most effective ways to increase the appeal of income protection is to reassure people that their claim is highly likely to be successful. As an industry, we need to work harder to get this message out, building a greater level of trust with consumers."

The latest AMI Viewpoint survey with 3,000 UK adults, showed consumers assume pay out rates for insurers sit at around 60%.

Cirencester Friendly has published its figures to challenge this misconception and has urged other insurers to follow their lead.

The top reasons for its members to claim were accidents (26%), musculoskeletal conditions (26%) and infections (16%). While 95% of claims were made for a deferred period of four weeks or less, helping members avoid falling into serious financial difficulties.

Mr Morris said: "As a mutual society, Cirencester Friendly puts the needs of members at the very heart of our organisation.

"These claims statistics demonstrate how strongly we adhere to this commitment and the real value our policies bring to members.

"In 2023, we will continue to work hard in these challenging times to provide this important protection to more people, ensuring they have a financial safety net when they need."

David Mead, joint head of protection at St. James Place, said: "There is a tendency for people to think protection is just for older people, but these show that it can be a vital safety net for people of any age.

"The pandemic highlighted that everyone is vulnerable to illness and these results will help us demonstrate the real value of protection to working people of all ages."

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