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When we talk about critical illness and other insurances the industry is very good at quoting the averages, the bigger picture. As advisers, we look at people’s situations, and when we dive into the details some more interesting patterns emerge.

Men and women are statistically more likely to contract different illnesses. Defaqto Engage, an independent research tool we use, collected information on claims statistics.

Source: Defaqto Engage, 27 October 2023

From this, we see some interesting observations:

Cancer is the most common reason to claim for both Men and Women but for females it’s a much larger proportion of claims than anything else 73% whereas for men it is less than half. This instantly emphasises the breadth of cover more for men than for women.

Heart-based conditions be it heart attack, cardiomyopathy, valve replacements or associated treatments are significantly higher in men than in women.

Men commonly make protection claims for stroke, Parkinson’s and kidney-related problems as well.

In fact, when we look beyond the most common to the tail of less common but still equally as traumatic and life-changing.

We can see that men and women claim differently. Coverage of different conditions varies from insurer to insurer. So this begs the question are insurance policies significantly different to use gender alone as a justification for one provider over the other? 

Regardless of gender, each insurance provider exhibits varying strengths and weaknesses in their policies. Generally, unless we have specific concerns about a particular condition, the overall differences across all conditions are minimal. 

The most significant variations in coverage are found at the less common end of the spectrum and in situations where gender has less statistical impact.

Once we factor in other areas of insurance advice this difference as part of an overall protection package is marginalised even more. These different factors may include cost, service and multi-benefit discounts. If we are advising for a family, then we often take a holistic approach to the overall suitability for the family and this may include considering the ease of having one number for everything rather than calling multiple providers in the case of a claim or other value-added benefits.  

When we quantitatively assess each policy as we have done here then the general outcome is that policies across the board score equally less for women than it does for men but relatively each policy scores int eh the same order as it does for men with one marginal exception.

So, on balance, this is usually at best a minor consideration in isolated cases and there are many more variables that come into play in an advice process to build a protection package.