The startling statistics revealed that one in two Irish women died from cancer
The largest individual life insurance payout last year was €1,500,000 to the family of a claimant in their 50s who died of lung cancer.
It was among the €171m in claims Irish Life dished out last year.
Other examples of claims paid out include €151,000 to the family of a claimant in their 30s who died of lymphatic cancer just 11 months after starting a life insurance policy.
Another claimant in their 50s who had a heart attack within the first year of their specified illness cover starting received a payment of €100,000.
A further claimant, aged in their 50s, who was diagnosed with throat cancer two years after their terminal illness cover began, was paid €225,000.
The average payment was €66,880 for life insurance claims, €62,229 for specified illness cover claims, and €94,860 for terminal illness claims.
A breakdown of the illnesses and conditions that led to the 2,600 Irish Life payments shows that cancer is the leading cause of death and illness in Ireland.
The startling statistics reveal that one in two Irish women (51%) died from cancer, compared to 41% of men. This is up from 48% and 39% respectively in 2015.
Accidents were the second biggest cause of life insurance claims.
The average age of people for accidental death claims was just 50, with men making up the majority (71%).
Nearly a quarter of all life insurance claims for people under 40 years were as a result of an accident, making it the second biggest cause of claims for this age-group, and worryingly, road traffic accidents accounted for 20% of all accidental deaths.
Martin Duffy from Irish Life said they paid out over €3.4 million a week on average.
He commented: "None of us can predict the future, however our 2016 report highlights how important it is that people protect themselves against any financial difficulties caused by unexpected illness or death.
"This is shown by the fact that accidents were the second biggest cause of life insurance claims for people under 40 years, while nearly 40% of our Specified Illness claims were for people under 50 years, which are startling figures.
“When we look at how young many of our claimants are, it’s worrying that a third of parents still say they’ve no life insurance at all. However, this seems to be changing, as Irish Life’s recent research carried out with RED C found that over 205,000 parents intend to buy life insurance this year, that’s over double the number when we last did this research in 2015.”
Mr Duffy also confirmed that Irish Life paid 95% of all life insurance and specified illness claims it received last year, saying those that were declined were due to non-disclosure of medical information or the illnesses not being covered.