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Life cover is the safety net you need for any life eventuality

Discovery Life’s 2021 claims data reveals the impact of Covid-19 on the young and old, and highlights the value of having holistic and comprehensive life cover

25 July 2022 - 15:48
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Discovery has shifted its focus to preventing and treating mental health concerns, while encouraging people of all ages to reach out if they’re feeling down.
Discovery has shifted its focus to preventing and treating mental health concerns, while encouraging people of all ages to reach out if they’re feeling down.
Image: Supplied/Discovery Life

Life-changing events such as the Covid-19 pandemic have had a severe impact on people’s physical and mental health as well as their finances. 2021 was a challenging year for the life insurance industry and its clients. 

Discovery Life’s recently published 2021 claims experience data reveals interesting trends that speak to the impact of the pandemic and highlight the importance of holistic and comprehensive cover.

Discovery Life outlines some key findings affecting South Africans of all ages: 

The impact of Covid-19 on the young and old

Discovery Life paid out R11.8bn in claims in 2021, of which R9.1bn was paid out for an estimated 10,000 individual life claim events - ranging from death to severe illness, income protection, and disability. The balance was paid on group risk policies.

The claims experience was worsened by the 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. 

“Everyone of us has been affected by the pandemic. Many of us have either lost a loved one or know someone in our close circles who has,” says Gareth Friedlander, Discovery Life deputy CEO. 

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

Comprehensive life cover is about ensuring that quality of life is safeguarded too
Gareth Friedlander, Discovery Life deputy CEO 

Discovery noted an 85% reduction in Covid-19 mortality claims among its Diamond Vitality status clients. These findings indicate that proactive engagement in the behaviourally-led Vitality programme promotes healthier living, which rewards clients with improved quality of life. 

Rise in mental health concerns 

The data also revealed a spike in the number of unnatural deaths, which rose 55% from 2020 to 2021, with those aged between 18 and 40-years-old being the most affected. 

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 impact of the pandemic, lockdowns and the sad effect they have had on all aspects of our lives,” says Dr Maritha van der Walt, Discovery Life chief medical officer. 

Discovery SA has shifted its focus to preventing and treating mental health concerns, while also encouraging people of all ages to reach out if they’re feeling down

Supporting children’s education needs

Discovery Life’s comprehensive cover has had a tangible impact on people’s lives, including children. Last year, R56m was paid to cover the education costs of children due to a parent or guardian suffering an adverse life event. More than 36,000 children are covered through the Global Education Protector. 

The Discovery Life 2021 claims experience reveals how valuable a comprehensive life insurance plan can be.

“Protecting our lives with comprehensive life cover is about ensuring that quality of life is safeguarded too. No matter what happens and at what stage or age, holistic cover can best protect against any eventuality or life-changing event,” says Friedlander.

This article was paid for by Discovery Life.

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.


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