United Kingdom (UK) Critical Illness Insurance Distribution Dynamics and Future Market

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United Kingdom (UK) Critical Illness Insurance Market Report Overview

The COVID-19 pandemic has left a lasting impact on consumers, highlighting the importance of mental and physical well-being and boosting awareness around the advantages of critical illness coverage. The total critical illness insurance market premiums was GBP28.7 million in 2022 and it will grow at a CAGR of more than 7% from 2022 to 2027.

The UK critical illness insurance market research report explores consumer purchasing behaviors for critical illness insurance in the country. The report provides valuable insights into the trends and innovations that will shape the UK critical illness market in the coming years.

Key Channels ·       Insurers

·       Broker

·       Bank

·       Price Comparison Website (PCW)

Key Purchasing Methods ·       Online Via A PC/Laptop

·       Online Via A Smartphone/Tablet

·       On the Phone

·       Face To Face

·       By Post

Key Brands (Non-Mortgage Related Term Insurance) ·       Aviva

·       Legal & General

·       Scottish Widows

·       HSBC

·       Royal London

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UK Critical Illness Insurance Market Trends

The evolution of genomic medicine is intended to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with certain diseases or illnesses. Detection of certain diseases that an individual is predisposed to would allow insurers to adopt policies to cater to their needs. However, sharing these results remains an obstacle. Personal use of predictive genetic testing may influence consumers’ decision to purchase critical illness coverage in the future. If individuals understand the conditions they might be at risk, which will increase critical illness uptake.

According to the British Medical Association, the NHS waiting list for consultant-led elective care stood at 7.5 million as of February 2024. As conditions go undiagnosed, critical illness insurers will see claims increase in terms of both numbers and costs. This could put a financial strain on insurers depending on the extent to which claim payouts increase. Therefore, insurers are developing support services such as remote GPs, second opinions, and consultations in an attempt to mitigate some of the difficulties posed by the NHS backlog. Not only will this act as a method of removing some level of risk within the industry, but it will also appeal to consumers who are searching for greater value in their cover.

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UK Critical Illness Insurance Market Segmentation by Purchase Channels

The key purchase channels in the UK critical illness insurance market are insurers, brokers, PCW, banks, and others. In 2023, insurers dominated the UK critical illness insurance market. Insurers’ good reputation, a quicker purchasing process, and lower premiums are a few reasons for this purchase channel’s popularity among UK consumers.

UK Critical Illness Insurance Market Analysis by Purchase Channels, 2023 (%)

UK Critical Illness Insurance Market Analysis by Purchase Channels, 2023 (%)

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UK Critical Illness Insurance Market Segmentation by Purchase Method

The key purchase methods in the UK critical illness insurance market are on the phone, online via a PC/laptop, online via a smartphone/tablet, through the provider’s app, face-to-face, and by post among others. In 2023, online via a PC/laptop was the most preferred critical illness insurance purchase method. Confidence in purchasing online will increase as users become more accustomed to this method and the online purchasing process becomes increasingly streamlined. Additionally, by embracing digitalization and leveraging technologies such as AI and data analytics, insurers can better understand customer preferences, tailor their offerings, and deliver more personalized experiences, which will drive online purchases even higher in the coming years.

UK Critical Illness Insurance Market Analysis by Purchase Method, 2023 (%)

UK Critical Illness Insurance Market Analysis by Purchase Method, 2023 (%)

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UK Critical Illness Insurance Market – Competitive Landscape

The key UK critical illness insurance market providers include Legal & General, Aviva, Scottish Widows, HSBC, and Royal London among others. In 2023, Aviva led the critical illness insurance market. The company’s improvements to policy wordings around dementia, cancer, and mental health have helped consumers feel more confident purchasing one of these policies, thus boosting its market share.

UK Critical Illness Insurance Market Analysis by Companies, 2023 (%)

UK Critical Illness Insurance Market Analysis by Companies, 2023 (%)

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UK Critical Illness Insurance Market – Latest Developments

  • In February 2023 Vitality released its SIC proposition alongside a consolidated income protection product. The SIC proposition features three separate products, with the level of cover and number of illnesses covered varying between the products.
  • In May 2023, digital pensions provider PensionBee partnered with life insurance broker LifeSearch to offer protection products to the former’s customers.


• The insurer channel increased its share of critical illness policies by 6.3pp in 2023 compared to 2022. GlobalData surveying suggests this channel is popular due to insurers’ good reputation, a quicker purchasing process, and lower premiums.

• In 2023, the most popular reason or event driving critical illness purchases was consumers reaching an age where they feel they need the product. This reason saw its share rise by 4.5pp compared to 2022.

• Consumers are increasingly concerned about their ability to save money for retirement and meet their monthly financial commitments such as credit card dues, monthly bills, and mortgage and rent payments. This can be attributed to the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

Key Highlights

  • Critical illness customers are most inclined to visit price comparison websites (PCWs) and take advice from an independent financial advisor before purchasing a policy.
  • The top financial concerns among critical illness policyholders were paying monthly bills, saving for a comfortable retirement, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In 2020, the number of new contracts with and without critical illness declined.

Reasons to Buy

  • Understand consumer purchasing decisions and how these will influence the market over the next few years.
  • Improve customer engagement by recognizing what is most important to consumers and how insurers can adapt products and services to meet their needs.
  • Compare the Net Promoter Scores of key insurance providers.
  • Discover which providers lead the way in the market.
  • Adapt your distribution strategy to ensure it still meets customer purchasing behaviors.

Legal & General
Royal London
SunLife (Phoenix Life)
Scottish Widows
AIG Life
Canada Life
Beagle Street
NFU Mutual
Sun Life of Canada
Old Mutual
Vitality Health

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

The Purchasing Journey

Behaviors and Attitudes

Brand Selection

Future Market


Frequently asked questions

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