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Scottish Widows' £25m payout for critical illness

Scottish Widows has announced that it has paid out over £25 million on 774 critical illness policies for the twelve months up to October 2006, but warns that 16 per cent of claims were turned down. The most common claim is for cancer, which accounts for 61 per cent of claims, followed by heart disease and strokes.However of the claims that failed, 53 per cent were refused because people had not disclosed information when they took the policy out and 43 per cent of people were denied a payout as the claim did not meet the policy definition.Richard Jones, interim protection market director at Scottish Widows, said: "Through its work with the Association of British Insurers and the Critical Illness Working Party, Scottish Widows has been working to address the issue of declined claims."To reduce non-disclosure, application forms have been improved to make them clearer for our customers. To reduce the incidence of a claim not meeting the policy definition, the industry has made real headway in improving the clarity of illness definitions - thus ensuring it is clearer to consumers about what is, and isn't, covered."Although the benefits, ie fewer declined claims, won't be seen for a couple of years, these measures all go towards making each step of the process - from application to claim - clearer for consumers."

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