The first modern day critical illness policy was launched in South Africa thirty years ago, developed by heart surgeon Dr Marius Barnard.
The insurance product initially called ‘Dread Disease' was developed as Dr Barnard witnessed first-hand the financial impact of illness on his patients.
The original policy, brought to market by Crusader Life Insurance, covered four conditions: heart attack, cancer, stroke, and coronary artery surgery and was soon adopted across the world.
In recent years Dr Barnard has worked with insurer Scottish Widows on developing its protection policies.
Dr Barnard said: "I never imagined thirty years ago that the need for this cover could have increased, but seeing the world as it is now, it's clear that this is the case. I understand that it's not always at the top of the list in people's priorities but I can't describe how passionate I am about this type of cover.
"It can be the difference between keeping a business going, children in education and a roof over a family's heads and it is something I urge everyone to seriously think about."
ABI statistics from 2012 has shown the total paid out in critical illness claims in the UK was £801 million.