How critical is critical illness?

J Insur Med. 2009;41(1):54-61.


Introduction: Today, 2.2 million Danes hold insurance against critical illnesses. The current study was undertaken in a Danish pension fund, Finanssektorens Pensionskasse (FSP), which insures 14,000 bank clerks against critical illness. The aim of the study was to investigate the frequency and distribution of those diagnoses, which entitle the insured to payout. Furthermore, the study investigates the development of the various critical illnesses, and whether these lead to permanent disablement or death.

Materials and method: A prospective design has been used in which all the applications for payout of critical illness insurance in the period from November 2, 1999 to September 19, 2005, have been examined. The insurance holders' policy numbers were related to FSP's registers of invalidity pensioners and deceased.

Results: The risk of developing a critical illness increases with age, and women seem more susceptible than men. Of the payouts, 64% were cancer-related, 15% were related to myocardial infarction, and 9% due to apoplexy. After 5 years, 12% were disabled, while 20% were deceased. The incidence of cancer among FSP members was approximately 50% lower than in the background population. The risk of developing a critical illness was half of what it was for those employed within "Trade, Transport and Industry."

Discussion and conclusion: Similar studies in other pension funds would add to our knowledge of occupational health risks and disablement. Further investigation would also give an idea of social and health related consequences of particular critical illnesses.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Critical Illness / epidemiology*
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Life / statistics & numerical data*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Distribution