• The average length of time that customers claim for is 9 years
  • Psychiatric conditions are the most common reason for claims (28%)
  • The average age for starting a claim through disability is 44 years
  • The longest time in claim is (currently) 36 years


Aviva’s income protection cover provided payments totalling more than £29.5m in 20111, helping around 2,600 customers who were unable to work for long periods of time due to illness or accidental injury.


Aviva’s claims data, published as the Government’s reduction in state benefit for people on long-term sick takes effect, shows the range of conditions that prevented or restricted customers from working last year, and the length of time some Aviva customers are in claim.


Psychiatric conditions were the most common reason for claim last year, with more than one in four income protection claims (28%) paid for this reason. Just over a fifth (21%) of claims were for orthopaedic conditions, which also account for one of the longest average periods of time in claim, at 10 years. The third most common condition claimed for is neurological, with 18% of claimants unable to work for this reason.


The data also shows that of the claims relating to psychiatric conditions in 2011, moderate depression was the most common, with nearly a third (28%) of psychiatric claims made for this reason. Anxiety was cited for 15% of psychiatric claims, and stress for 12%.


The average age for the start of a claim through disability is surprisingly low at 44 years, (45 for men and 43 for women); and nearly half (45%) of individual income protection customers currently receiving benefit have been in claim for over 10 years. The longest current claim is for a corporate customer who had to give up work 36 years ago as a fitter due to an orthopaedic condition.


Aviva paid over 91% of income protection claims in 2011 and last month announced that it has significantly changed its Income Protection Solutions offering to make cover more affordable and accessible to a wider range of customers.  Aviva is also working with the industry to agree a consistent approach to reporting income protection claims pay-out rates.


Will Kentish, head of income protection, Aviva, UK Health said: “We want to help customers understand the importance and real benefit of protecting their income by releasing this data. The figures show just how young the typical age can be for loss of income due to injury or illness, and just how long this can last. As the Government’s changes in Employment Support Allowance take effect, we’d encourage people to consider how they can ensure a regular income for as long as they would need, if they were prevented or restricted from working due to illness or injury.”


Examples of claims paid in 2011 for a range of customers are detailed below.


Occupation Condition Age stopped work Time in claim Current monthly benefit (potential total benefit from start of claim until policy expiry) Policy in force before claim





11 years


£574.78 (£219,727)


5 months


Taxi driver


Eye condition


18 years


£1993.32 (£268,830)


1 year


Bus driver




24 years


£165.49 (£115,004)


3 years

Financial Consultant  



10 years


£652.23 (£198,277)


6 years


HGV Driver




11 years


£1776.59 (£164,124)


8 years

Haulage Contractor  



26 years


£217.41 (£88,920)


8 years


Station Manager




12 years


£1421.24 (£124,246)


9 years




Blood disorder


6 years


£1531.00 (£125,542)


10 years






16 years


£435.67 (£93,486)


12 years






8 years


£1957.00 (£320,948)


13 years