26 June 2024


• Major milestone for Guardian as it publishes first annual claims report

o 100% of life and terminal illness claims paid
o 92% of critical illness claims paid
o 92% of children’s critical illness claims paid

• Transparent reporting of declines: claims report shows 7 adult critical illness claims declined with 6 of these due to misrepresentation

Guardian has today announced it paid £15,333,395 in claims in 2023 to 150 families consisting of over £7.5 million in life and terminal Illness claims and over £7.5 million in critical illness and children’s critical illness claims. It also paid a further 117 Premium Waiver claims. The announcement marks a major milestone for the protection challenger brand, as it holds itself to account for the claims made on products which now have completed, or are nearing completion of, 5 full years of trading.

It’s the first set of claims statistics released since the firm launched in August 2018 and represents claims made on Guardian’s Life Protection, Critical Illness Protection, Combined Life and Critical Illness Protection, and Children’s Critical Illness Protection.[i] Claims statistics for Guardian’s more recently launched products – including Income Protection and Life Essentials – are not included and will be published on completion of 5 full years of trading.[ii]

Guardian’s 2023 claims payout rates and amounts

Guardian’s claims report shows that the brand has paid 100% of all its life and terminal illness claims, an achievement it says is linked to its approach; as well as 92% of all its critical illness claims and 92% of its children’s critical illness claims.

Claim type % paid Total amount Average amount
Life 100% £5,023,337 £162,043
Terminal Illness 100% £2,530,913 £168,727
Critical Illness 92% £7,298,280 £90,102
Children’s Critical Illness 92% £480,865 £20,907

To encourage transparency, within the report Guardian has also published the reasons why a small proportion of its critical illness claims were declined. Of these, most of the declines (6 of the 7) were as result of misrepresentation. In these cases, this meant that cover wouldn’t have been offered in the first place, or cover would’ve had to be postponed if the disclosure had been made. The other 1 decline was because the claimant had claimed for a heart attack but hadn’t had one.

Katya MacLean, Guardian CEO, said: “Publishing Guardian’s first claims report is a very special moment. It’s now been over 5 full years since we entered the protection market, and since day one our aim has been to design policies that provide certainty and support at claim. The fact that we’ve paid 100% of our life and terminal Illness claims and 92% of our critical illness claims, shows that Guardian is doing what it set out to do – being there, paying claims, when our customers need us most. For us, claims are everything and we hope this report plays a role in providing confidence in our products and increasing trust in our industry.”

More detail from the Guardian claims report

• Life claims
Guardian had 31 Life Protection claims in 2023 totalling over £5 million. The highest payout was £460,769 and the average was £162,043. 71% of claimants were male and 29% female. The average age was 47, the youngest 27, and the oldest 64. 74% of Guardian’s Life Protection claims made in 2023 used Payout Planner meaning the payout could bypass probate, saving 7 months on average.

• Terminal illness claims
15 of Guardian’s claims in 2023 were for terminal illness totalling over £2.5 million. Of these claims, 93% were for cancer. With Guardian’s Life Protection cover, policyholders have bought an enhanced terminal illness definition which means it not only pays out if the illness is expected to lead to death within 12 months, but also if a policyholder is diagnosed with incurable stage 4 cancer, motor neurone disease, Parkinson-plus syndromes or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, irrelevant of their life expectancy. In 2023, this enhanced definition had an important impact on Guardian’s ability to pay claims when they were first received: 5 of the 14 cancer claims would not have been able to be paid at the time of initial claim under an industry standard ‘12-months to live’ definition. By contrast, they were able to be paid at the time of initial claim under the enhanced definition.

• Critical illness claims
81 of Guardian’s claims in 2023 were for critical illness totalling almost £7.3 million, and with a 50-50 breakdown between male and female. The average amount paid was £90,102 and the highest amount paid was £500,000. By condition, 72% of claims were for cancer, 7% were for a heart attack, and 7% were for stroke.

• Children’s critical illness claims
23 of Guardian’s claims in 2023 were for children’s critical illness totalling £480,865. With Guardian, it is possible to add children’s critical illness cover to any adult policy, not just an adult critical illness policy. This flexibility was designed to help more families put in place protection for their children. In 2023, this proved important as 74% of Guardian’s children’s critical illness claims were attached to an adult life policy. Of the children’s critical illness claims, 35% were for a funeral payout and 17% for cancer. The claims included a payout for a stillborn child and a critical illness cover payout for a baby who was 7-days old.

• Premium Waiver claims
Guardian includes Premium Waiver as standard on all its policies. This is designed as a safety net for customers to avoid them cancelling their policies if times get tough, and in 2023, Guardian paid 117 Premium Waiver claims. Of these 74 were for maternity/paternity, 35 were for illness or injury, and 8 were for loss of employment. The average premium waived for claims admitted in 2023 was £53.80.

HALO is Guardian’s free bespoke claims support service which provides claimants and their immediate family members access to whatever they need, including additional medical assistance, counselling, legal services, and financial support. The help provided is at the discretion of Guardian’s claim team, who in 2023 were delighted to have been able to provide the following support: 32 referrals to RedArc for specialist nurse support, 11 referrals to Legacare for legal advice, 5 referrals to Krysalis for neurological support, and 5 offers of additional financial support. Also featured in Guardian’s claims report are three customer stories showing HALO in action.

Phil Deacon, Guardian Head of Claims, added: “Publishing our first claims report is an important milestone but the thing I’m most proud of is how we’ve helped so many people. Our claims team works tirelessly to pay claims and support our customers when they need us most. We’re delighted to again be a signatory to the PDG Claims Charter for 2024, showing our commitment to paying claims promptly. We’ve also had some wonderful adviser feedback about HALO, particularly how our bespoke support has helped policyholders and their immediate families at difficult times, and how our personal approach makes things better for advisers.”

-Release ends-

Notes to editors:

Press enquiries to Natalie Robinson, 07789 501146,

Guardian Financial Services is an appointed representative of Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

All products are provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited and we have an agreement with them to underwrite and issue the protection policies we distribute through the UK intermediary channel.

As an appointed representative of Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited, Guardian Financial Services Limited is the market-facing brand under which we promote our proposition and engage with advisers.

Background to Guardian Financial Services, owned by Gryphon Group Holdings

Guardian, the life and protection insurance business, launched in 2018 and pledged to grow the protection market. The brand promise of ‘Life. Made Better.’ reflects the company’s commitment to rethink and reinvent protection for the better; making sure customers get cover that’s easier to understand, simple to buy and designed to never let them down.

Guardian’s business partners

Gryphon Group Holdings is majority owned by Punter Southall Group as the largest equity capital investor. Guardian partners with UnderwriteMe for its Underwriting Engine, Liss Systems, the UK arm of Nasdaq-listed EXL, for its policy administration technology, and Space, for its front-end technology, branding and marketing. Guardian’s reinsurance partners are Hannover Re, Gen Re and Swiss Re.

[i]Products with claims reported include Life Protection, Critical Illness Protection and Children’s Critical Illness
Protection, which as of year-end 2023 have completed five full years of trading, as well as Combined Life and Critical Illness Protection (launched in October 2019).

[ii]Products not reported due to less than 5 full years of trading include Income Protection (launched April 2023)
and Life Essentials (launched January 2024). Also not reported are claims on Guardian Fracture Plus Protection (which closed to new business in May 2019).