Life insurance statistics UK

The latest statistics on life insurance, including how many people have it.

It might not be something that you want to consider, but life insurance plays an important role in planning for your family’s financial future. We explored the latest statistics to find out how prepared the UK is for death. After all, as Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”.

Life insurance falls under the broader category of protection insurance. Protection insurance includes life insurance but also other types of insurance, such as income protection and serious illness insurance.

Life insurance statistics UK: Highlights

  • It is estimated that 18.6 million people in the UK had life insurance in 2022, which equates to 35% of the adult population.
  • 20.4 million policies taken out in 2021 – 1.5% less than in 2020 (20.7 million).
  • 3.1 million new individual and group protections were taken out in 2021.
  • £4.64 billion was paid out in protection policies in 2022 – £12.7 million each day on average.
  • There are 402 authorised insurance companies in the UK in 2022.

How many people have life insurance?

It is estimated that 18.6 million people in the UK have life insurance, which equates to 35% of the adult population. It is important to note that people are not restricted to one life insurance policy, which explains why the total number of life insurance policies is higher than 18.6 million.

How many life insurance protection policies are taken out in the UK?

Life insurance protection policies have decreased since 2014. In 2021, there were 20.4 million policies taken out, which is 30% less than in 2014 (29.3 million).

Year Protection policies
2014 29,300,000
2015 28,600,000
2016 26,900,000
2017 25,700,000
2018 25,200,000
2019 23,700,000
2020 20,700,000
2021 20,400,000

How common is life insurance in the general insurance market?

Life insurance premiums take the majority of the market share of total insurance premiums. Since 2000, life insurance has averaged 71% of the insurance premium market share. The last year of data was 2021, where life insurance market share was 70%. In 2007, the market share stood at its highest level at 83%.

Year Year
2000 72.30%
2001 66.20%
2002 63.10%
2003 58.90%
2004 61.80%
2005 64.40%
2006 79.60%
2007 83.20%
2008 76.30%
2009 76%
2010 73.60%
2011 73.50%
2012 75.40%
2013 72.40%
2014 73.40%
2015 73.30%
2016 68.80%
2017 69%
2018 72%
2019 72.60%
2020 70.50%
2021 70.49%

Main reasons for life insurance claims

In 2022, cancer (34.2%) was the biggest reason for a life insurance claim. Heart-related claims were second at 21%, followed by neurological reasons (6.1%), Pneumonia (4.1%) and COPD (3.9%). COVID-19 claims accounted for 13%. However, this figure plummeted in 2022 to 1.3% of all claims paid. The number of COVID-19 claims dropped from 10,606 in 2021 to 3,846 in 2022.

Reason for taking out life insurance Percentage
Cancer 34.20%
Heart related 21%
neurological 6.10%
Pneumonia 4.10%
COPD 3.90%
Other 30.70%

Life insurance payouts in the UK

Each policy taken out is unique – but how often do insurers typically pay out for life insurance and how much?

  • £4.64 billion was paid out in protection policies in 2022 – £12.7 million each day on average.
  • 287,000 payouts were made to customers in 2022.

Average payout and total claims by type of insurance

Type of policy Number of claims paid Average value of claims paid Percentage of claims paid
Whole of life 213,064 £4,054 99.99%
Life insurance 53,105 £73,578 96.90%
Income protection 22,542 £21,913 84.40%
Critical illness 19,218 £66,296 91.60%
Total permanent disability 342 £70,414 70.30%
TOTAL 308,270 / 97.50%

Sources used

      • ONS
      • ABI
      • OECD
      • Royal London
      • The Money Charity
      • More Than
      • Sunlife
      • Direct Line

    Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact

    Matt Mckenna
    Head of UK communications
    T: +44 20 8191 8806
    matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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