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3 minute read
21 Jul 2022
2:54 pm

The vital importance of life cover for young and old

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Here, we outline some of the key findings affecting South Africans of all ages, and at every stage of life.

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Discovery Life’s recently published 2021 claims experience data reveals interesting trends that show the true impact of various life-changing events as well as highlighting the importance of holistic and comprehensive cover in this day and age.

The impact of COVID-19 on young and old

Discovery Life paid out R11,8 billion in claims during the 2021 calendar year, of which R9,1 billion was paid out for roughly 10,000 individual life claim events ranging from death to severe illness, income protection, and disability, with the balance paid on group risk policies.

The record claims experience was significantly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with total life cover payouts to individuals in 2021 being almost three times higher than the previous year and accounting for almost 60% of all death claim payouts.

“The claims experience takes on new meaning. Every single one of us has been impacted by this pandemic, with many of us either having lost a loved one or knowing of someone in our close circles who has,” said Discovery Life Deputy CEO, Gareth Friedlander.

Vaccinations, alongside immunity and preventative behaviours, have played a critical role in bringing down the case fatality rate of COVID-19.

In fact, Discovery noted an 85% reduction in COVID-19 mortality claims among its Diamond Vitality status clients. Such findings emphasise the notion that proactive engagement in the behaviourally-led Vitality programme promotes healthier living, which in turn rewards clients with improved quality of life.

Rise in mental health concerns

The data further revealed a spike in the number of unnatural deaths, which rose by 55% from 2020 to 2021, with those aged between 18 and 40 being particularly impacted.

Among these, suicides continued a concerning upward trend. In the past four years the number of suicides was 25% higher than the previous four years. This 25% figure is accompanied by an 18% increase in the number of suicides from 2020.

“We must not underestimate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns and the very sad effect they have had on all aspects of one’s life,” says Discovery Life Chief Medical Officer, Dr Maritha van der Walt.

Throughout the organisation, Discovery has shifted focus to preventing as well as treating mental health concerns, while also encouraging people –both young and old – to reach out if they’re feeling down.

A growing need to support the education needs of children

The tangible positive impact of Discovery Life’s comprehensive insurance offering on its clients is further demonstrated through the support offered to children. 2021 saw R56 million paid to cover the education costs of children due to a parent or guardian suffering an adverse life event. Currently over 36,000 children are covered through the Global Education Protector.

What Discovery Life 2021 claims experience data reveals is just how valuable a comprehensive life insurance plan can be. “Protecting our lives with comprehensive life cover for those we love is also about ensuring that quality of life is safeguarded too. No matter what happens, at what stage or age of our lives we are, holistic cover can best protect against any and every eventuality or life-changing event that we are all exposed to,” Friedlander concludes.

Discovery Life Limited, registration number 1966/003901/06, is a licensed life insurer, and an authorised financial services and registered credit provider, NCR registration number NCRCP3555. Product rules, terms and conditions apply.