Friends Provident said that it has paid GBP34.5m in critical illness (CI) claims in 2009. The company has received 624 claims last year of which 92.6% were paid and 7.4% were declined.

The company said that the percentage of claims declined due to non-disclosure fell by half from 4% to 2.1% and only 5.3% of claims were declined due to definition not being met.

According to Friends Provident, the main causes for the claims include cancer with 68% of claims in 2009, cardiovascular with 12%, stroke and multiple sclerosis with 6%, and children’s critical illness with 5% of total claims in 2009.

In addition, the claims paid due to cancer was 57% for males and 85% for females; the clams paid for cardiovascular was 24% for males and 2% for females; claims for stroke was 10% for males and 3% for females; and for multiple sclerosis was 5% for males and 8% for females.

Ed Stuart-Brown, head of protection at Friends Provident, said: “I am delighted that our percentage of claims paid has increased for the seventh year in a row. What these figures show is just how valuable critical illness benefits are, very often a financial lifeline in difficult times.

“The industry sometimes finds itself under attack for turning down a small proportion of claims, but the reality is we are in business to pay claims rather than to find reasons not to. Over 570 people benefited from a GBP34.5m safety net last year.”