Brits woefully underprotected should serious illness strike, warns Scottish Widows

29 February 2016

Although we’re four times more likely to claim on a critical illness policy than a life insurance policy before the age of 65[1], fewer than one in 10 (eight per cent) of us have critical illness insurance, and only a third (33 per cent) have life cover, according to Scottish Widows[2].


With three national cancer awareness campaigns taking place in March – Prostate Cancer, Ovarian Cancer and Brain Tumour – Scottish Widows is highlighting lack of protection Brits have in place should serious illness strike.


The statistics are startling. Prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer in men in the UK, with around 130 being diagnosed every day and one in eight having this type of cancer during their lifetime[3]. And ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer in females in the UK, with around 20 women being diagnosed every day.


In the meantime, 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour, and more children and adults under 40 die of a brain tumour than from any other cancer.[4]


Scottish Widows paid out more than £5.5million in critical illness claims relating to prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and brain tumours in 2014[5], which collectively accounted for more than 10 per cent of all cancer claims that year.


The average age of diagnosis for prostate cancer in 2014 was 56, while the average age for ovarian cancer was 50. Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of brain tumour claimants were male, with the youngest just 13 years of age.


Scott Cadger, Head of Underwriting and Claims Strategy at Scottish Widows, says: “While medical advances mean that more people are surviving conditions that might have caused death in earlier generations, financial protection is becoming a decreasing priority for most of us.


“Our research has revealed that 80 per cent of us consider broadband as essential for daily living, while 71 per cent can’t get by without a mobile phone. In contrast, only 28 per cent of us feel that protecting our families in case we become critically ill or unable to work is a necessity.


“Although the here and now tends to dominate when it comes to the way we assess our needs, it’s more important now than ever to have an appropriate plan in place at the right time to protect our homes and families.”




For further information please contact:                           

Lorna Waddell, Scottish Widows, 07793 670682


Kimberley Hamilton, Scottish Widows, 07557 257298  


Notes to editors:

  • Scottish Widows was founded in 1815 as Scotland’s first mutual life office and is one of the most recognised brands in the life, pensions and investment industry in the UK

  • Scottish Widows supports the Seven Families campaign, which aims to provide a tax-free income for one year to seven families who have lost income because of a serious or long-term illness or disability. For more information visit

[1] ONS

[2]Scottish Widows Protection Report 2015

[3] Cancer Research UK

[4] Brain Tumour Research

[5] Based on Scottish Widows and Clerical Medical claims