Press releases

Legal & General urges customers with critical illness symptoms to seek medical advice

22 May 2020

Full press release

  • Legal & General’s Critical Illness Cover (CIC) claims have dropped by just over 40% in April with the UK under lockdown
  • The figures follow concerns that those with critical illness symptoms are not seeking medical advice, after analysis by The Health Foundation found a 30% fall in GP appointments in March 2020
  • The insurer continues to pay out on Critical Illness Cover claims and has reiterated that it is here, ready and able to support its protection customers at this time

Legal & General has backed the NHS’ call for people experiencing symptoms of a critical illness such as cancer to visit their GP and seek medical advice in line with government safety guidelines, after figures showed a fall in the number of people coming forward and claiming on its critical illness policies in April. The NHS recently raised concerns about a fall in the number of people visiting hospitals amid the Covid-19 outbreak and stressed that people should continue to use the service for any urgent medical needs. The insurer has reiterated that it is here, ready and able to pay all valid claims at this time.

Legal & General’s statistics show that 41% fewer policyholders claimed on their critical illness insurance in April than the typical figure of around 300 claims a month. These figures reflect recent research by The Health Foundation, which showed that face-to-face GP appointments in England have steadily declined since January 2020, falling nearly six million by March1. Concerns have also been raised about a 62% drop in urgent cancer referrals for NHS England, as announced by Dame Cally Palmer, Chief Executive of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in a recent Health and Social Care Select Committee hearing1. A cancer diagnosis was responsible for 66% of Legal & General’s CIC claims in 2019, when the market leading provider paid out a total of £224m across its critical illness policies.

Legal & General has reiterated that delaying visiting a GP to proceed with getting a diagnosis will have no impact on whether customers are able to claim. However, the insurer is encouraging people with symptoms to visit their GP as soon as possible in order to catch any critical illnesses early and have the best chance of a successful prognosis.

Ali Crossley, Managing Director, Distribution at Legal & General: "Our NHS is doing a fantastic job in supporting those people affected by Covid-19 and doctors and nurses across the country are truly heroes. We wholeheartedly back the advice given by Public Health England that the NHS is everybody’s service, and nobody should be forgotten.

We are living through uncertain and unprecedented times, but while our attention is focused on the Covid-19 outbreak, there are still thousands of people each and every day experiencing symptoms of a critical illness such as cancer or heart disease.

Nobody ever wants to be in a situation where they are suffering from a critical illness, and we understand that people will be particularly worried in the current crisis as they agonise over visiting their GP or hospital. We support the NHS’ calls that anyone experiencing symptoms of a critical illness seek medical advice. In these uncertain times, our customers can be certain that we are here to support them at what may be some of the most challenging times in their lives."

Notes to editors

Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK's leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with £1.2 trillion in total assets under management1 of which 40% is international. We have a unique and highly synergistic business model, which continues to drive strong returns. Legal & General provides powerful asset origination and management capabilities directly to clients, which also underpin our leading retirement and protection solutions. We are a leading international player in Pension Risk Transfer, in UK and US life insurance, and in UK workplace pensions and retirement income. Our purpose is to improve the lives of our customers and create value for our shareholders. Through inclusive capitalism, we are investing in long-term assets, such as real estate and infrastructure, that can help build a better society for the future.

1Data as at 31 December 2023.

Legal & General Insurance (LGI) has been offering life insurance cover since 1836 and is the UK’s number one individual life insurance provider. Our group protection business in the UK offers life insurance and income protection products to individuals through their employers and we offer term-life insurance in the US. We now have over 5.5 million UK life insurance customers, 1.8 million people in group protection schemes and approaching 1.3 million US term-life insurance policyholders. Here in LGI, we protect our customers and their loved ones throughout life and death.

*at 31 Jun 2021