Critical illness insurance is a key sale as a rider product alongside life insurance. Critical illness insurance pays out an insured lump sum tax-free in the event of the insured being diagnosed with a listed specific illness or medical condition within the cover term.

The attitudes, preferences, and behaviors of customers purchasing critical illness insurance in the past 12 months differed depending on factors including whether they purchased independently or with advice, what triggered them to purchase a policy, their top financial concerns, and product features sought. Available as a standalone product, critical illness is also bolted on to other life products such as term assurance, which is referred to as with-rider.

More than a quarter of critical illness customers spoke to an independent financial advisor (IFA) or broker before purchasing their policy. Although the unadvised space for critical illness is growing, advice is still important to customers, and is likely given when discussing life insurance options. Just less than half of all critical illness policyholders purchased their cover online. The online space is becoming more prevalent due to the younger demographic of customers buying these policies. An industry effort to simplify and standardize policies has also led to customers being able to buy these products online without any prior consultation.

Providers must seek to understand customers in order to encourage them to purchase cover. A range of factors must be acknowledged within policy design, purchasing channels, and marketing strategies.

The report "How Customers Purchase Critical Illness Insurance 2018", explores the attitudes, behaviors, and preferences of customers who purchased a critical illness policy in the last 12 months. It explores distribution and the purchasing journey, policy purchase triggers, the financial concerns of customers, and brand selection. It also sizes the critical insurance market using Association of British Insurers data.


  • The majority of critical illness policies are sold as a rider with a life insurance policy.
  • A quarter of customers seek advice from an insurance broker or independent financial advisor before purchasing a critical illness policy.
  • A quarter of critical illness customers purchased a policy after buying a house.

Reasons To Buy

  • Understand consumer purchasing decisions and how these will influence the market over the next few years.
  • Improve customer engagement by recognizing what is most important to them and how insurers can adapt their products and services to meet their needs.
  • Discover which providers lead the way in the critical illness space.
  • Adapt your distribution strategy to ensure it still meets customer purchasing behaviors.