DORSET insurer LV= has said it expects to see a jump in cancer claims in 2021 following screening backlogs.

The protection specialist said it recorded a 45 per cent fall in critical illness claims in April compared with 2019 figures.

But it is anticipating a rise in advanced stage cancer diagnoses and claims in 2021, caused by a backlog of screenings.

Despite the fall in cancer claims during lockdown, LV= said that between January and July it paid more than £22.7million in cancer claims to 412 people and their families across income protection, critical illness and life insurance.

Debbie Kennedy, director of protection at the County Gates-based business, said: “Since the start of lockdown we saw a worrying fall in critical illness insurance claims as the NHS was forced to shut down or significantly reduce many areas of non-Covid care for cancer between April and June.

“This, combined with fewer patients seeking care during lockdown, means that there has been a significant drop in elective procedures, urgent cancer referrals, first cancer treatments and outpatient appointments.

“There is a real risk that having fewer cancer screenings during lockdown will develop into a long-term problem, as more people are prevented from receiving a timely cancer diagnosis. By the time that these cases reach the claims stage, customers may experience more acute symptoms than in previous years which will be difficult to treat.

“We extended our cancer coverage earlier in the year with enhanced cancer cover; including adding additional payment conditions, and a new £1,000 cost of diagnosis of cancer payment to help with the unexpected initial costs associated.

“At LV=, we have adapted our claims processes making it easier for policyholders to claim and, through conversations with our claims assessors, access timely and helpful guidance, treatment and support for those diagnosed with cancer.”


Cancer accounts for 20 per cent of LV= income protection claims, 56 per cent of critical illness and 40 per cent of life assurance claims. Breast, bowel and lung cancer are the most commonly claimed for, amounting to more than 40 per cent of LV= claims.