Cancer remains the biggest cause of claims, says Liberty
This highlights the importance of life protection
Johannesburg: As the largest writer of new risk business in South Africa since 2003 and the first insurer to publish its Claim Statistics, Liberty has once again proven that it is committed to protecting its customers and their families against life’s uncertainties, despite the tough economic conditions.
In 2016, Liberty paid out R4.3 billion in valid claims, 13% more than 2015. This amounts to R17 million every working day. These statistics reveal concerning trends in health and lifestyle risks with cancer and cardiac and cardiovascular conditions being the main causes.
“Many people believe that misfortunes won’t happen to them but when you consider the statistics, the importance of insurance protection against debilitating events becomes quite clear,” says Henk Meintjes, Head of Risk Product Development at Liberty. The statistics are telling and highlight the importance of life protection insurance.
There are real people behind these numbers
In 2016, Liberty developed segments to more accurately represent its customer-base. The segments include Young Achievers, Young Parents, Established Providers and Empty Nesters. “Whether they are just starting out in their careers, celebrating their first-born child, or planning for their retirement, it is our intention to develop solutions and services that allow our customers the flexibility and assurance to handle life’s challenges,” explains Meintjes.
Cancer was the main cause for claims for all segments other than empty nesters at 15.2% of claims for Young Achievers, 24.4% for Young Parents, 26.2% for Established Providers and 23.31% for Empty Nesters. The most common type of cancer for women was breast cancer and for men, it was prostate cancer.
Liberty’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Philippa Peil says; “we have seen this trend ever since we started reporting on our claim statistics in 2006. There are a number of reasons such as lifestyle choices, our diets, lack of physical activity and genetic markers. Given the increasing rate of cancer claims, it is important for one to take serious care of one’s body and to identify any serious illnesses as early as possible.
Dr Peil recommends that both men and women should take the time to familiarise themselves with their body. “Check your skin for new moles, lumps or whatever doesn’t feel or look right. With medical advancements, early detection can save lives,” she says.
She adds that cancer affects people of all ages. “From age 30, females should take pap smear tests combined with an HPV test until age 65. Clinical breast exams should be done every 3 years, and annually after age 40. Men and women over the age of 50 should have colonoscopies every 5 to 10 years, among other tests.”
As a proportion of claims submitted, retrenchment was highest amongst Young Achievers at 11.7%
Cardiovascular was the second most common cause overall; 9.0% (Young Achievers), 14.72% (Young Parents), 22.18% (Established Providers) and 23.67% (Empty Nesters) of paid claims respectively.
Strokes or central nervous system disorders also contributed significantly to total claims paid and were responsible for 9.31% of Young Parents’ claims paid and 9.21% of Established Providers’ claims paid. As expected for Empty Nesters, who are generally older, respiratory diseases and disorders were responsible for 7.31% of paid claims.
Most motor vehicle accident claims were from Gauteng
Although Liberty’s Claim Statistics for 2016 reveal that the biggest cause for claims is health related conditions, many claims are also as a result of accidents. Looking at the data in more detail, motor vehicle accidents made up 10% of claims for Young Achievers. At least 12% of these were for young men and 8% for young women. “Sadly, for Young Achievers, 74% of motor vehicle accidents which lead to long term insurance claims at Liberty were death claims. It’s difficult to say from the data whether motor vehicle accidents are becoming more frequent or more severe. But the high paced lifestyle of major cities can lead to higher stress which impacts our health but could also lead to reduced focus on the roads,” Meintjes added.
Keeping the promise to customers
For the past 60 years, Liberty has built a legacy of changing the realities of millions of South Africans and pioneering financial freedom for them.
“Insuring against life’s uncertainties is only a part of the solution Liberty provides. However, our promise to pay all valid claims is paramount to allowing policyholders to live the life they’ve worked so hard to build,” says Meintjes.
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