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17 Million Reasons A Day: Why You Need To Revisit Your Insurance Cover

Liberty recently paid out R4.3 billion in valid claims, which amounts to R17 million every working day. Henk Meintjes, Head of Risk Product Development at Liberty, explains.

While we are proud that over the last 60 years we have continued to meet our promise to our customers, the 13% increase in claim payments compared to 2015 reveals concerning trends in health and lifestyle risks.
Our claim statistics show that cancer and cardiovascular conditions continue to be the main driver of claims. Cancer was the number one cause for claims for people under the age of 65, with breast cancer the most common type of cancer for women and prostate cancer for men. Colon and rectal cancer were the second most prevalent types among both men and women with skin cancer accounting for nearly 7% of cancer claims from men and nearly 5% of cancer claims from women. Given the increasing rate of cancer claims, it is important to take care of one’s body and to identify any serious illnesses as early as possible.

The economy in Rustenburg is also taking its toll on our bodies with an increase in stress-related claims, such as suicide and cardiac and cardiovascular diseases and disorders. Last year’s drought would have put even more stress on farming communities. In the Northern Cape, for example, we saw that the majority of suicides were farmers over the age of 55. Hopefully with the breaking of the drought, we will see fewer of these types of claims.

The tougher economic conditions also led to a higher number of invalid claims. During challenging economic times people tend to put through more invalid claims for conditions they are not covered for in the hope that they will receive some form of payment. An example could be a non-cancerous tumour or a disability/impairment, which is not permanent or hasn’t been continuous for the full waiting period.

We also saw an increase in non-disclosure where the applicants did not disclose all the relevant information, possibly in the hope of a lower premium. However, non-disclosure or under disclosure could delay the underwriting process or the claim process (when access to the claim payment could be vital). Should the information not provided at underwriting stage have been material to the cover applied for, the terms on which the cover was provided may be altered, or the cover may be cancelled resulting in no claim payments. Full upfront disclosure is the only way to ensure you receive the cover you are paying for. Please refer to the summary of your disclosures included in your policy document if you have any doubts.

What risks do you face?

Young achievers: cancer, cars and the economy

As the economy continues to falter, young achievers remain at risk of retrenchment with 12% of their claims a result of retrenchment. Motor vehicle accidents were responsible for 10% of claims (higher for young men at 12% compared to 8% for young women) and, concerningly, 74% of these were for Life Cover. Cancer once again remains the highest cause for claims at 15.2%, although this is predominately for Lifestyle Protection rather than death claims.

Young parents and established providers: cancer, hearts and blood pressure

Young parents and established providers shared similar claims experience suggesting that cancer, heart problems and blood pressure remain significant threats for working households. A quarter of all claims were cancer-related for both young parents and established providers, followed by cardiovascular which was more prevalent among the older established providers. Strokes or central nervous system disorders contributed just over 9% of claims for both these groups. We have seen this trend of increasing cancer and heart-related illnesses since we started reporting on our claim statistics in 2006. This is due to a number of reasons, such as lifestyle choices, diets, a lack of physical activity and improvements in diagnostic tests and tools.

Empty nesters: heart, cancer and lungs

Together, cardiovascular and cancer accounted for nearly half of the claims paid to individuals over the age of 55. As expected for ‘Empty Nesters’, who are generally older, respiratory diseases and disorders were the third largest claim responsible for 7,31% of paid claims.