The majority of Irish adults report being confused in relation to state illness benefit entitlements, and almost 40% do not know how long they would cope financially without an income.
This comes from a survey conducted by Red C (in conjunction with Aviva) of 2000 Irish adults to better understand health, work patterns and finance across the population.
There are some concerning trends around health, including 35% of under 35’s having experienced mental health issues and a significant percentage of younger workers cancelling healthcare appointments due to work commitments. Looking at the over 65’s group, 27% report that they or someone close to them have experienced heart conditions and 23% say the same for cancer.
Despite the prevalence of health concerns, just 11% of people have serious illness cover or income protection insurance.
‘The research findings are stark – both from the perspective of the number of young people citing anxiety, stress and mental health issues alongside the lack of any financial provision if they were unable to work or indeed lost their job.’ Karen Gallagher, Aviva Life & Pensions
When it comes to working patterns, 63% of 35-44 years olds claim to work 36-50 hours per week outside of the home. Extended working hours impact the ability to achieve a balanced lifestyle and it can be seen acutely in the 25-44 female bracket who get the least amount of exercise at less than four hours per week. Women are also more likely to cancel medical appointments with 31% reporting that they have done so due to work commitments (23% of men have done the same). Another noteworthy finding is that 57% of 18-24 year olds cite looking after their mental health and reducing stress levels amongst their top 3 priorities, an age that was traditionally associated with a less stressful existence.
The over 55 group are aware of their physical health, taking over five hours exercise per week and those aged 45+ reference getting more exercise as a top priority.
When it comes to the unfortunate circumstance of illness, older males tend to be most prepared in relation to protecting their income. Overall, less than a third of respondents have any form of life protection, income protection or serious illness cover.
As referenced above, the majority of respondents are confused around state illness benefit entitlements and how long they would have to wait to receive it. When it comes to protecting one’s income at a more robust level (a replacement salary for the duration of illness) perceived barriers including cost are impacting people’s access to the types of insurance policies that provide this protection.
There is however, a wide range of options at various price points depending on the type of cover taken out. The point at which cover kicks in, or deferred period, impacts pricing so it’s important to discover the right options for a person’s unique requirements, employment status, any work illness schemes, state entitlements etc.
Another key point for income protection cover in particular, is securing it as early as possible so that pre-existing exclusions are kept to a minimum. Once cover is in place, it’s there for the entirety of a person’s career, covering them for anything that periods of illness and accidents right up to retirement age.
Source: Aviva (Ireland)