Inside SA’s Risk Insurance Claims

life-insuranceIf you read our blog regularly, you’ll know how much emphasis Northwood places on risk insurance for our clients – but how many people really claim on their risk cover? The figures may surprise you.

Risk Cover Trends

Recently, Liberty released its annual claim statistics for risk cover policies. As one of the country’s largest insurers, the company paid out more than R 2.7 billion in disability and health insurance claims last year – here are some insights into the figures.

  • Of the R 2.7 billion total, almost R1.9 billion was paid out to beneficiaries of life insurance policies
  • R414 million was paid out to critical illness policy holders
  • R439 million was paid out for income protection policy holders

With almost R 900 million paid to critical illness and income protection policy holders by a single insurer last year, the benefits of this type of cover become more obvious. A large number of South Africans benefitted from their insurance policies last year – at a time when their ill health could have put them in dire circumstances.

What illnesses are the most common?

The three illnesses that were listed as causing the highest number of life insurance claims were lung cancer, breast cancer (women only), and prostate cancer (men only). Cancer claims were higher among smokers than non-smokers. Unnatural causes – including accidents – were the second-highest item on the list.

Income replacement claims showed a slightly different trend:

  • 7% of claims were caused by nervous system conditions and strokes
  • 9% were caused by cancers
  • 7% were caused by muscular and skeletal conditions
  • 4% were caused by heart conditions
  • 6% were caused by respiratory diseases

Lifestyle protection (permanent disability) claims were as follows:

  • 2% were caused by cancers
  • 1 % were caused by heart conditions
  • 9% were caused by nervous system conditions and strokes

What the figures tell us about health and risk cover

Based on Liberty’s claim statistics, it’s quite clear that cancer, heart disease, and strokes are still the main causes of death, disability, and loss of income in South Africa.

If you’re 30 or older, you’ll need to ensure that you have sufficient risk cover to protect yourself, should you be diagnosed with any one of these three serious conditions. There are also a few basic lifestyle steps you can take to reduce your risk:

  • Avoid smoking
  • Stick to a balanced diet and get regular exercise
  • Find ways of reducing stress in your daily life – many strokes and blood pressure conditions are linked to stress

For those unfortunate enough to have been diagnosed with a serious illness, the claim statistics are a reminder of how useful a risk cover policy can be at a time when health issues threaten our income. Without a comprehensive risk cover policy, you could be exposed to loss of income and difficulty in covering your excess medical bills.

If you’d like to know more about risk cover and the type of policy that would best suit you, contact Northwood today for a planning session. Our team will assist you in finding the policy that best suits your needs.

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