Royal London paid a record total of £632m in claims in 2021

Published  31 May 2022
   5 min read

Mutual insurer, Royal London paid 99.5% of all protection claims last year, totalling a record of £632 million and more than 84,000 claims.

COVID claims

£24.9m was paid in protection claims related to COVID last year, almost doubling what was paid out in 2020 and supporting more than 2,000 customers and their families.

Around 1 in 10 of all COVID related claims paid were for life insurance policies, totalling more than £16 million and helping the families of 217 customers. Nearly £69,000 was paid in income protection claims to those unable to work due to COVID. Whole of Life COVID claims totalled more than £8m, supporting more than 1,900 customers.

Life Insurance

More than £174m was paid in Life Insurance and Terminal Illness claims in 2021. Royal London paid more than 2,000 claims, averaging just over £84,000 per claim.

Whole of Life

Around a third of a billion (£313m) was paid in Whole of Life claims in 2021, with 99.9% of all claims paid. The mutual insurer paid over 80,000 claims averaging £3,906 per claim.

Critical Illness

Royal London paid 91.7% of Critical Illness (CI) claims in 2021, averaging more than £70,000 per claim and a total of more than £136m. Just over 8% of critical illness claims were declined with the majority of those due to not meeting the policy definition. The most common reasons for a CI claim in 2021 were cancer (65%), heart attack (11%) and stroke (7%).

Income Protection

More than £4m was paid out in income protection (IP) claims last year. The most common reasons for an IP claim in 2021 were musculoskeletal (36%), cancer (16%) and mental health disorders (10%).

Helping Hand

As well as receiving a financial pay out at claim, customers can also access the Helping Hand service which comes with all Royal London protection policies bought through an adviser. The service offers comprehensive, tailored support and access to a dedicated nurse for customers and their families. Royal London enhanced its Helping Hand service in January to include health and wellbeing support for new customers, including online access to hand-picked early care medical services.

More than 700 individuals benefited from Helping Hand in 2021, with the top reasons for referrals being bereavement (23%), cancer (16%), mental health (15%) and orthopaedic (15%). Sadly, 57 of the referrals to Helping Hand were for children, with the most common condition being mental health disorders (40%).

Craig Paterson, Chief Underwriter at Royal London, said:

“Last year we paid a record total of £632m in protection claims, supporting more than 84,000 customers and their families. Although the world is starting to move on from the COVID pandemic, many people have still suffered from its impact, such as those who lived with long COVID and those who have sadly lost loved ones. We’ve demonstrated our support as a provider over the past two years and have almost doubled the amount paid out in COVID related claims, paying out nearly £25m in 2021.

“In addition to paying claims for COVID, our customers are also able to get support through Royal London’s Helping Hand service, such as help with bereavement, mental health, and returning to work after illness or injury. Customers and their families can receive access to the support of a dedicated nurse with tailored and personal support whenever it's needed, for as long as it's needed.”

Product Received Paid % Paid Total value paid (£) Average value paid (£)
Term Life Insurance 1,919 1,842 96% 146,566,137 79,569
Terminal Illness 256 230 89.8% 27,899,194 121,301
Critical Illness 2,113 1,937 91.7% 136,031,147 70,228
Total Permanent Disability 89 36 40.4% 4,081,710 113,228
Whole of Life Assurance 80,107 80,103 99.9% 312,888,589 3,906
Individual IP (new claims + claims already in payment) 924 835 90.4% 4,154,829 4,952
Individual IP (new claims only) 484 399 82,4% 1,056,727 1,056,727


For further information please contact:

Neil Cameron, PR Manager

Notes to Editors

  1. £632m - Royal London UK and Ireland Protection business claims paid (1 January to 31 December 2021)
  2. Royal London’s Helping Hand is a package of support services and each service is provided by third parties that aren’t regulated by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Support from Helping Hand is available from the day the policy is taken out and does not require a claim to be made. In 2021, 774 referrals were made to Helping Hand.
  3. Not meeting the definition means an aspect of the policy definition has not been satisfied. In critical illness this could mean the customer had suffered a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) and therefore didn’t satisfy the stroke definition. In income protection this could mean the customer continued to receive their full salary beyond the end of their deferred period so there was no financial loss.

About Royal London

Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK, with assets under management of £147 billion, 8.7 million policies in force and 4,232 employees. Figures quoted are as at 31 December 2022. 

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