Healthy and prosperous communities

Discovery's Shared-Value Insurance model gives expression to our belief that we are part of the communities that surround us - local, national and global. Community health and wellbeing are of primary importance to us.

"Discovery is known as a disruptor, as an innovator and we think that's something we should be extending into our CSI as well."

Head of Sustainability
Ruth Lewin

Employee volunteering and Discovery's Orange Farm partnership

Offering their time and expertise are two ways Discovery volunteers make a meaningful difference in the lives of Orange Farm's residents

Discovery's corporate social investment (CSI) flagship project provides a point of connection between employees and the community of Orange Farm. By volunteering their time and expertise in a structured programme, Discovery employees make a meaningful difference in the lives of Orange Farm's residents. In our 2017 Sustainable Development Report, we outlined Orange Farm's proximity to our Johannesburg headquarters, and our approach to the partnership.

As the five-year partnership develops, a process of continuous learning has required innovative responses to ensure the desired outcomes are achieved. This evolving understanding has meant getting a strong grip on the developmental model that informs Discovery's approach to our Orange Farm partnership. Some of the learnings informing our partnership are:

The importance of having clearly defined roles
Identifying suitable and capable partners to address identified needs
Ensuring our approach is community-centric, and prioritises communication and consultation with community members

Refining our approach opens up exciting possibilities for the scalability of this programme in terms of reach and the potential to replicate the model in other communities. We have partnered with the experienced non-governmental organisation Pact, the implementation partner for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to document the model to deepen our understanding of the approach to achieve the desired outcomes.

Our employees volunteered over 10 000 hours of their time, worth over R1.8 million in 2018

In our 2017 Sustainable Development Report we committed to engage 60% of our staff in volunteer activities between 2014 and 2018, encouraging them to invest their time and utilise their expertise to contribute towards building healthy communities. We are proud to announce that we have met and exceeded our target, with 76% of Discovery volunteers engaged since 2014 to date. The global average for corporate volunteering per annum is about 18% of the workforce, and while Discovery's rates well exceed this at over 24%.

Discovery's 2018 Corporate Social Investment (CSI) report.

The Discovery Fund

46 projects received support worth R31.8 million from the Discovery Fund in 2018

The Discovery Fund gives supporting grants towards initiatives in the selected communities in which we work. The Fund continues to reflect on the projects we support, to learn, and to assess their impact over time. As with any longterm projects, we experience challenges. Clearly communicating our role as funder, which is separate from the role of implementer, is important.

Agreeing on performance criteria at the start of projects also assists with clarifying expectations and focusing efforts. Fostering ownership of a project and taking steps to prevent excessive reliance on funding also positively contribute to long-term sustainability. Some of the Fund's most innovative models have matured to the stage where we can now explore replicating them in other contexts.

Discovery Insure's Safe Travel to School programme, implemented together with the Discovery Fund and our partner Childsafe, currently transports approximately 9,120 children to school every day, an increase of more than 54% since its inception in 2014. We intend to involve at least 1 000 drivers by the end of 2018, and transport a targeted number of 15 000 children a day by that period. Extending the programme to two additional provinces is currently under consideration.

The Foundation - building a network of health alumni


By drawing on the Foundation's alumni, Discovery is able to harness the power of this emerging network of leaders as a force for social good

Set up in 2006, the Discovery Foundation, an independent trust, aimed to invest R150 million in grants that were geared towards the education and training of 300 healthcare specialists over a period of ten years. In fact, the Foundation invested over R189 million in grants to support academic medicine through research, development and the training of medical specialists in South Africa over the last ten years.

Read more in Discovery's 2018 Corporate Social Investment (CSI) report.


As the Foundation moves into its second decade of existence, the ranks of our 'alumni' continue to grow, comprising doctors and researchers who have benefitted from the grants, scholarships and support from the Foundation. By integrating these alumni into the strategy and planning processes of the Foundation, Discovery can harness the power of this emerging network of leaders as a force for social good. Alumni support in screening candidates, mentoring grant recipients, specialist research collaborations and profiling the work of the Foundation are just some of the possibilities being explored.

In 2018, the Foundation spent in excess of R21 million, with over R16 million spent directly on providing 52 doctors with specialist training. Approximately, R5 million was awarded to a total of 13 institutions.

The Foundation has committed to ensuring that at least 75% of its beneficiaries will be black, and at least 75% of its total financial support will go towards black people. We are proud of our continuing progress towards meeting these targets.


The Foundation continues to identify opportunities to work with previously disadvantaged academic institutions to ensure the opportunities are open to them too, and to strengthen the pipeline of young black doctors opting to continue their studies and specialise, and ultimately even sub-specialise.

In 2018, 88% of the recipients for the Academic, Sub-Specialist and Massachusetts General Hospital Awards were black, and 82% of individual recipients of the Foundation's Rural Fellowships were black.

Looking to the future, the Foundation aims to support the training of 600 medical specialists by 2026. The Foundation began with initial funding of R100 million for this period, but in recognition of the urgent need to increase the number of specialists in South Africa, the Foundation will allocate a total of R300 million.

The Discovery Foundation website.

Building and broadening our supply chain

Nurturing new businesses takes years and decades rather than weeks or months, and Discovery is committed to this journey

In 2017, we reported comprehensively on our approach to building and broadening our supply chain to benefit more black, young and female South Africans. We want to drive entrepreneurship by providing financial support to entrepreneurs whose businesses are aligned to Discovery's core purpose and have access to relevant markets. Not only will this approach promote ways to lower the cost of healthcare and increase access to healthcare across South Africa, it will also enhance economic inclusion and financial security in our communities. We are proud to have directly supported 38 independent entrepreneurs in 2018.

Identifying and nurturing suppliers requires a significant investment of time and resources. Factors outside of our control often determine whether or not a business relationship succeeds. Measuring the impact can also prove a complex challenge given the interconnected nature of job creation. Nevertheless, in the financial year, we spent R966 million, as part of our procurement, on black-owned businesses. R357 million of this was on black women-owned enterprises.

Discovery also provides financial support, in the form of loans and grants, and non-financial support, in the form of training and mentorship opportunities, to selected enterprise and supplier development (ESD) beneficiaries. Our current ESD loan book is sitting at over R101 million, and R5 million worth of grants were provided in 2018.

Discovery's 2018 Corporate Social Investment (CSI) report.

Investing in the next generation of Discovery financial advisers

Our highly valued network of financial advisers is often our clients' first introduction to the concept of shared value in health, insurance and savings. But the population of financial advisers is ageing, and female and black advisers are still under-represented. Together with changes in legislation, this prompted the establishment of the Discovery Financial Adviser (DFA) Sales Division in June 2015, a new distribution channel for Discovery. The Academy is designed to broaden Discovery's network to be younger, more diverse and more productive.

Each intake admits approximately ten university graduates with a relevant industry qualification such as financial planning. They are then developed for 24 months by Discovery business leaders and Sales Managers in the division, including being given detailed product knowledge and sales tools.

Once the DFA graduates have completed their two years of supervision, they are transferred into our sales division as fully accredited financial advisers, ready and able to run their own practices. Since 2015, there have been 26 intake rounds to start new applicants on the programme. In total, 219 graduates have been accepted and 24 have now moved within Discovery's businesses as accredited advisors.

Supporting the government of South Africa to improve healthcare delivery

Being a force for social good means recognising and actively contributing to the health of South Africans. Discovery is committed to supporting efforts to improve the healthcare delivery system by focusing on access, equity, efficiency, quality and sustainability. Wherever Discovery is able to collaborate, it will share its expertise, insights, technology and - where possible and appropriate - data to support evidence-based decision making that benefits the healthcare system.

The National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, published in late June 2018, proposed the establishment of an NHI Fund, which will initially prioritise projects for vulnerable groups where the need is the greatest. Based on our initial review of the NHI Bill and the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill, which was published at the same time, we are supportive of the general approach taken, including the fact that medical schemes will continue to operate alongside the NHI. We do however have some significant concerns with elements of the Medical Schemes Ammendment Bill, and some elements of the NHI Bill and have provided our comments on these matters. We will continue to provide constructive feedback and input into the development of the NHI and its supporting legal and regulatory framework, both as Discovery and jointly with other industry stakeholders.

Discovery has contributed R32 million to the Public Health Enhancement Fund since its creation

The Public Health Enhancement Fund (PHEF) is a forum that allows the private health sector to engage with and strategically support the Minister of Health. Selected initiatives aim to address the challenges facing the health sector to the collective benefit of the health of all South Africans. The PHEF is the only forum where stakeholders in the health field act collectively in the broader societal interest. Since the PHEF's establishment in 2012, Discovery has contributed over R32 million, including R5 million in the current financial year. Excellent progress has been seen in increasing the number of medical students in South Africa, as well as a significant increase in health science researchers, both of which have been priorities for the PHEF. We will be able to provide more detail on the programme and its impact in our 2019 report, as our data matures.

The Public Health Enhancement Fund website.


The Health Market Inquiry sets out a number of positive recommendations to build South Africa's healthcare system

Discovery has also been actively involved in the Competition Commission's Market Inquiry into the Private Healthcare Sector. Originally initiated in November 2013, the Inquiry has proven to be a complex multi-stakeholder process, and Discovery has made a number of submissions to the Inquiry, which are publicly available. We welcome the publication of the provisional findings which provide a number of positive recommendations to build South Africa's healthcare system. The Health Market Inquiry (HMI) has identified the need for improved competition in all sectors of the private healthcare market and has made wide ranging recommendations encompassing a variety of factors and stakeholders, and we welcome the opportunity to contribute positively to this process. You can read more about Discovery's response and approach to the HMI's recommendations in our Integrated Report for 2018.

Log in

Please click here to login into Discovery Digital Id

Please click here to login into Discovery Digital Id