Critical illness claims show a marked difference between the sexes, according to the latest GE Frankona survey.

Women tend to make their claims earlier, with almost half of female claims coming from those under 40 – the figure for men is 34%.

Males dominate claims for heart disease, accounting for 90% of claims for heart attack and 89% of those for coronary artery surgery. Women dominate claims for multiple sclerosis, making around two thirds of claims, and also for cancer, making 55% of claims.

The number of claims regarding the five most common conditions – cancer, heart attack, stroke, coronary artery surgery and multiple sclerosis – fell from 94% to 90% over the year. The total number of claims reported during 2000 rose by 23%.