Car accidents top death claims in 2016 – Discovery

Johannesburg – Just over two out of five claims paid out by insurer Discovery Life in 2016 for unnatural deaths were related to car accidents.

Discovery Life is the life insurance business unit of financial services group Discovery. 

According to a report on Discovery Life's claims statistics for 2016 released Monday, more than one in five death claims were due to unnatural causes.

And of these, 42% were for car accidents.

More than 70% of the total number of death claims for under-30s were due to unnatural causes, according to the report. For this group, motor accidents were responsible for the majority of deaths. 

“Motor vehicle accidents were the leading cause of death among the younger clients, while cancer and heart-related conditions were much more prevalent among the older age bands,” the report read.

Overall 70% of death claims were paid to men, and 30% to women. “The oldest male died at the age of 86, as a result of cardiac respiratory failure, while the youngest died of an accidental fall at the age of 24," stated the report. 

“The oldest female was 87 years old and died as a result of Parkinson’s disease, and the youngest female, 28, died as a result of a motor vehicle accident."

Causes of death 

According to the report, among men the cause of most deaths was heart and artery conditions (30%), and unnatural deaths (25%). The majority (63%) of severe illness claims were submitted by men. For men, the causes of these claims were mainly cancer and conditions of the heart and arteries.

Among women, the most common cause of death was cancer (38%) and heart and artery conditions (30%). The causes for severe illness claims among women were mainly cancer and nervous system conditions.

The statistics showed that in the Western Cape the main cause of death was cancer.

These death claims were 22% higher than the national average. Cancer-related disability claims in the province were 44% higher than the national average. Severe illness claims were 13% higher than the national average.

The report listed heart and artery related conditions as the main cause of death in Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN). These death claims were 17% higher than the national average. KZN was also the cause for most severe illness claims, 38% higher than the national average.

The majority of death claims in Gauteng were related to nervous system conditions, 25% higher than the national average. Claims for heart-related conditions were 21% lower than the national average.

Among inland provinces, death claims for unnatural deaths were 9% higher than the national average.

“Inland provinces also had the highest incidence of musculoskeletal conditions, at 40% higher than the national average for disability claims, and 34% higher for severe illness claims,” the report read.

In total, Discovery Life paid out 20 247 claims for the year, amounting to some R3.2bn. The majority of these claims were related to life cover (R1.7bn), followed by severe illness benefits (R647m), and capital disability benefits (R553m).

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