Healthcare workers made up 60% of Discovery Life's R1.5bn Covid-19-related claims

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Discovery's Life says that healthcare workers accounted for 60% of all Covid-19 related claims.
Discovery's Life says that healthcare workers accounted for 60% of all Covid-19 related claims.
Reuters
  • Discovery's life insurance business has released its Covid-19 claims data showing that it has paid out R1.5 billion to date.
  • The company says that healthcare workers accounted for 60% of all Covid-19 related claims.
  • Discovery Life says Vitality data shows that the healthier people live their lives, even if they are in high-risk categories, the less likely they are to die from the virus.


Discovery Life says it has paid out a total of R1.5 billion in Covid-19-related claims paid to date and has flagged that its healthcare worker clients were disproportionately affected.

In total, Discovery life paid R1.4 billion towards death claims, R73 million in income-protection benefits, and R14 million in severe illness claims caused by the virus. The insurer released its claims statistics on Monday where it pointed out that, while healthcare workers made up just 4.9% of Discovery Life clients, they accounted for 60% of all Covid-19-related claims.

"Healthcare professionals on the frontline are exposed to the virus on a daily basis. It should therefore come as no surprise that healthcare professionals have the highest incidence of Discovery Life's Covid-19 claims out of all occupations," wrote the insurer in a statement.

In terms of gender, more male clients died because of the virus. They accounted for 69% of death claims, despite only making up 54% of Discovery Life’s covered clients.

January deadliest month so far

The insurer has also revealed that January 2021 was the deadliest month on record as far as Covid-19 is concerned. During that month alone, Discovery Life paid nearly R1 billion in claims.

Sanlam, Momentum Metropolitan, and Liberty have also shared that they recorded the highest claims in January/February, and in some instances, these were 60% higher than what insurers witnessed at the peak of the first wave in July 2020.

While almost all of the country's life insurers that have released their claims data predict an unavoidable third wave of Covid-19 infections and additional waves in some instances, Discovery Life said its data showed that keeping healthy and active does reduce the mortality risk.

Discovery has always positioned the Vitality programme as a solution to many of the problems that keep life insurers up at night, arguing that a lot of ailments that cause clients to claim are fuelled by sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition.

Health and wellness

On Monday, Discovery Life said that Vitality data showed that, on average, a 65-year-old that is highly engaged in their health and wellness had a 22% lower Covid-19 mortality risk than an unengaged 45-year-old with no additional risk factors. The insurer added that the higher the level of engagement, measured in terms of Vitality status, the lower that mortality rate even for those who tested positive for the virus.

"At a high level, Discovery Life has continued to reap the benefits of positive health behaviours and therefore improved outcomes during the Covid-19 pandemic. While South Africa's fatality rate for citizens infected with the disease remains similar to global rates ... Discovery Life's fatality rate for infected clients is 59% lower than the national population," wrote the insurer.

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