Discovery Life has redefined its severe illness cover to factor in Covid-19
Acute multi-organ failure as a result of Covid-19 infection is in the same league as other severe illnesses such as cancer
At the start of the devastating Covid-19 pandemic, many South Africans became acutely aware of the fragility of life. Covid-19 quickly became widespread due to its highly contagious nature. Even worse, it proved to be deadly too.
The lives and livelihoods of people were at a new level of risk overnight. For many South Africans, the reality hit home starkly: What if my health is severely affected by the virus? What if I don’t survive this? What if someone I love doesn’t survive this?
Life insurance as a key financial support mechanism
As Covid-19 progressed, South Africans with a life insurance policy reviewed their plans to cross-check their specific cover. This gave rise to numerous questions about how Covid-19 claims would be handled. Specifically, how Covid-19 is covered by life insurance and severe illness benefits.
In this new risk context, insurers had to re-examine their benefits. Not just for the claims they expect to pay and have paid, but also in relation to their ability to provide relevant cover to their clients.
“Life cover must remain relevant to the needs of policyholders and their beneficiaries. It is all about providing much-needed financial security alongside preserving quality of life,” says Kashmeera Kanji, head of market analytics and research & development at Discovery Life.
“Clients recognise the relevance of life insurance policies. Lapse rates at one point were at their lowest levels ever, despite the increased financial strain in the economy due to the pandemic.”
Severe illness benefits in the context of Covid-19
Critical illness or dread disease cover pays out a lump sum on qualifying severe illnesses. To qualify, a severe illness must meet the set criteria of a specific definition. For years these definitions and their associated payouts have been evolving to cater for advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.
Before 2020, rampant, serious infections that were a result of Covid-19 were not known or understood. This meant they were not on the list of qualifying conditions. Today, acute multi-organ failure as a result of Covid-19 infection is in the same league as other severe illnesses such as cancer or heart disease — simply because of how severe and life threatening it can be.
“Discovery Life immediately evaluated its existing comprehensive severe illness benefits to see where they could re-engineer the product to provide the comprehensive cover anticipated by the client,” says Kanji.
“Discovery Life has enhanced its benefit to cater for the new health risks Covid-19 infection presents, so that clients have access to the most comprehensive and holistic severe illness cover on the market — that matches the risks that we are all exposed to. This enhancement is the market-first multi-organ benefit. Industrywide, clients were left financially exposed to the effects of acute multi-organ failure,” she says.
Your severe illness cover needs to be comprehensive and holistic
Despite being top of mind, Covid-19 is not the only rampant severe illness we face. Cancer, heart disease and nervous system conditions, among many others, remain prevalent. So, it makes sense to take a more responsible approach when it comes to choosing your severe illness cover.
“Discovery Life’s product suite ensures comprehensive and holistic cover for all clients and across the spectrum of risks. One of the flagship benefits is the Lifetime Severe Illness Benefit, which is recognised for its comprehensive offering, including significant cover for cancer — from early-stage to late-stage cancers, as well as cover for cancer relapse,” says Kanji.
“Discovery Life provides the best protective risk benefits, allowing it to stay true to its purpose of making people healthier, and enhancing and protecting their lives. The Severe Illness Benefit offers unparalleled value that can make a difference in a time of need when faced with severe illness.”
For more details on our Severe Illness Benefit, speak to a financial adviser today or get a quote in 60 seconds.
Discovery Life Ltd, 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 & conditions apply.
This article was paid for by Discovery Life.