"Our research shows that people, on average, believe that only 34% of protection claims are paid out by insurance companies."
Scottish Widows paid out 98.99% of life claims and 93.06% of critical illness claims in 2017 - above the industry averages of 98% for life and 92.2% for critical illness.
A total of more than £204 million was paid out by Scottish Widows in life and critical illness claims in 2017, an average of just under £4 million per week.
The number of claims paid for life cover was 7,469 and 1,769 for critical illness.
The total amount paid out in life claims was £129.4 million, with £13.46 million paid in terminal illness claims.
55% of all claims from women were as a result of cancer, compared with 44% of men, while heart related claims accounted for 20% of cases for men and 9% of cases for women.
The average size of life claim paid was £41,392, and the highest individual claim was £1,001,205.
The total amount paid out in critical illness claims was £75.19 million.
The four main reasons for women making a claim were cancer (74%, of which 52% were due to breast cancer), multiple sclerosis (6%), stroke (6%) and heart attack (3%).
The average size of claim paid was £42,506 and the highest individual claim was £400,000.
Of the life claims made, 0.85% were declined due to mis-representation and 0.16% due to the definition of terminal illness not being met. Of the critical illness claims made, 4.6% were declined due to the definition not being met and 2.3% were due to mis-representation.
Scott Cadger, head of underwriting and claims strategy at Scottish Widows, said: “Our research shows that people, on average, believe that only 34% of protection claims are paid out by insurance companies. Our claims statistics for 2017, however, separate the facts from fiction. We must do more as an industry to dispel the myth that insurers will do anything to avoid paying a claim, and improve confidence among consumers that their policy will provide for them when it's needed.
“Paying a claim is the core purpose of the product that we offer, providing a safety net if the worst happens, whether a bereavement or a critical illness. It’s where we fulfil on the customer promise made at purchase, and we have a very important part to play in supporting people through illness and bereavement and to help them at the most difficult and challenging times of their lives.”