Employee benefits packages have been scaled back over recent years, leaving many workers without proper critical illness protection, an insurance adviser has suggested.

Paul Litster, managing director of newcomer Specialists4Protection, said: “The economic difficulties over the past few years has seen many companies cut back on their employee benefits packages, and in many cases this has seen critical illness cover no longer being offered."

However, over the past 10 years 11 per cent of adults have suffered from a critical illness that meant they had to stop work permanently or for a prolonged period of time, but had no insurance cover for this.

According to research carried out by the firm, which launched in October this year, 14 per cent of men claim that this has happened to them, and the corresponding figure for women is 9 per cent.

Of those people who have suffered from a serious medical condition and had to stop work but had no insurance, 18 per cent said it had contributed to them losing their home as a result of this.

Mr Litster added: "If you have dependents and significant monthly outgoings such as a mortgage, having critical illness cover can be essential for many people."

Of the 748 people surveyed with children under the age of 18 and/or who are in a long term relationship, only 24 per cent currently have critical illness cover, which pays out a lump sum if you suffer from a medical condition listed on the policy.

In October, Specialists4Protection carried out research among brokers, which revealed 8 per cent of IFAs have stopped selling critical illness cover over the past five years because they wanted to focus on the more profitable investment management side of their businesses. 

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