New data from Discovery shows statistics on death and disease in South Africa


New data from insurer Discovery shows it paid R48 billion in group risk claims in 2020.

At least R100 million of that amount was directly owed to Covid-19, Discovery said. The company offers group risk benefits that include life coverage, comprehensive coverage for the education of employees’ children, critical illness coverage, flat-rate and monthly disability coverage, and funeral coverage.

“2020 has been a stressful year for employers at all levels, especially for decision makers looking to protect their employees and families from financial hardship,” said Guy Chennells, product manager for Discovery Employee Benefits.

“We have seen the high value our clients place on these benefits as nearly all of our clients have continued to prioritize maintaining coverage during this time of financial stress.

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“Many of our pension and provident fund clients have taken payment holidays to ease the cash pressure, but have wisely continued to pay for our full risk coverage throughout,” Chennells said.

Some of the key findings from Discovery’s data include:

  • The group has reported at least 79 group risk claims related to Covid-19, the trend following the national trend through our first wave. To date, Rand 9.5 million has been the highest payment linked to Covid-19;
  • The largest payment under the life insurance guarantee, for all causes of death, was R18 million;
  • 85% of the causes of death were natural, with an average age of 47 years;
  • Almost one in five claims deaths were due to unnatural causes, which affect customers regardless of their age or underlying health. In this category, the average age was 40;
  • The most common cause of death in men was due to unnatural causes, such as traffic accidents. Men are 2.3 times more likely to die from unnatural deaths than women;
  • The largest number of claims received during the year came from Discovery’s Income Maintenance Allowance. In this category, people under 40 mostly claimed nervous system disorders (including stroke), musculoskeletal disorder was the most common reason for claiming for people aged 40 to 60 and Cancer was the leading cause of disability in people over 60. ;
  • Cancer is also the number one reason men and women claim the Critical Illness Benefit, accounting for 48% of all claims. The biggest payout was for colon cancer. Discovery received four times as many heart and arterial disease claims among men (21%) than among women (5%).
  • The highest number of critical illness claims was in the 31-40 age group. However, the highest total value of claims was in the 51 to 60 age group, as these individuals’ claims were of a higher severity than younger members.
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“A pandemic puts the payment of claims in the spotlight; but the reality is that we are there for people throughout their daily crises, ”Chennells said.

“On average, we pay one claim every 80 minutes, and to date Discovery Group Risk has paid 48,800 claims for a total value of R 10.2 billion.”

Read: 50 large companies in South Africa pledge to pay SMEs faster

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