Life insurance: Irish Life’s paid out €171 million on 2,600 claims during 2016, up by 10 per cent on 2015. Photograph: Getty

Claim book analysis shows a third of parents have no life insurance at all!!

Cancer is still the leading cause of death and illness in Ireland according to new figures, which also show accidents are the second biggest cause of death for the under- 40s, while a third of parents have no life insurance.

An analysis of Irish Life’s claim book shows that the life assurance company paid out €171 million on 2,600 claims during 2016, up by 10 per cent on 2015.The average payment was €66,880 for life insurance claims, €62,229 for specified illness cover, and €94,860 for terminal illness.

The largest individual life insurance claim paid out last year was €1.5 million, which went to the family of a claimant in their 50s who died of lung cancer. The family of a claimant in their 30s, who died of lymphatic cancer just 11 months after starting a life insurance policy, received a payment of €151,000.

Martin Duffy, head of underwriting and protection claims with Irish Life Retail, said the report highlights how important it is that people protect themselves against any financial difficulties caused by unexpected illness or death.

“When we look at how young many of our claimants are, it’s worrying that a third of parents still say they’ve no life insurance at all.”

Heart conditions

The number of people dying from cancer is continuing to rise, the data shows. Over half of women’s deaths (51 per cent) and 41 per cent of men’s death were attributable cancer last year, up from 48 per cent and 39 per cent respectively in 2015.

Heart-related conditions also featured as a leading cause of death but were more common in men at 13 per cent than women (9 per cent).

When it comes to specified illness claims, the disparity is not as great, with 53 per cent of claims paid to men, and 44 per cent to women. Malignant cancer was the main cause of such claims for women in 2016, with 74 per cent of women claimants having malignant cancer compared to just 46 per cent of their male counterparts. Breast cancer was the most common cancer in women, for men, it was prostate cancer.