Women over 45 twice as likely to be disabled from illness

The stark result of a research report released by the Financial Services Council (FSC) and KPMG Australia has delivered the news that women at age 45 are almost twice as likely as men to make an insurance claim due to disability that was developed after falling ill. Disability insurance claims were analysed to determine the likelihood of claims, and 45-year-old women are a whopping 94 per cent more likely to make a claim due to sickness than men.

The data is part of the Disability Income Table, which is a new actuarial tool that life companies are using to determine how much insurance costs, with the last one updated 20 years ago.

The information is based on over 30,000 claims made over a four-year period between 2007 and 2011. It isn't known whether the claims results were skewed somewhat due to the financial crisis, as it has been observed that during recessions, insurance claims tend to rise. 

The new data includes previously unchartered territory, including the impacts of policy duration, benefit periods and the causes of claims.

Key findings include:

  • Women are 22 per cent less likely to lodge a claim due to an accident than men with white collar jobs
  •  If an individual has held a policy for over a decade is 50 per cent more likely to make a claim than someone who has held the policy for a year.
  • White collar male smokers are 50 per cent more likely to make a claim due to illness than male white collar non-smokers.
  • Smokers are 12 per cent less likely to return to work than non-smokers.

KPMG Actuarial Partner, Briallen Cummings said: “This new report includes data and analytics insights that were unimaginable 20 year ago, and which life companies will benefit hugely from. Using old data impacted their ability to fully comprehend the real drivers of claims. We believe this table will enable the industry to make much better allowance of these factors for pricing and reserving, which should in turn improve consumer experience.” 

The full media release can be found at the FSC website.