Insurance cover that continues to encourage healthier living


As a business, Discovery Life continues to seek protective solutions for the unexpected risks people face, while also striving to enhance quality of life.

Is life insurance just about purchasing protection for ‘what if’ moments? ‘What if I become ill?’ ‘What if my spouse loses their job?’ ‘What if my child becomes disabled after a car accident?’ Yes, protection against such events is the primary reason life insurance is important, but it can also hold more value in your life than that. Discovery Life’s product range does both: it protects in the most comprehensive of ways, as well as ensures that life can be more rewarding down the line too.

Protecting people’s lives with relevance

To date, Discovery Life has paid out around R31.3 billion in claims that span across its entire product range. During 2019 alone, the total amount paid out to clients amounted to R4.8 billion. The business uses objective and proactive claims assessment criteria to innovatively ensure that all relevant claims receive the financial support that is needed. During 2019, 97% of claims received were paid out.

Discovery Life’s extensive product range has been designed to provide protective cover for a full range of potential life-changing events that can impact people’s lives,” says Head of Technical Marketing and Distribution at Discovery Life Andrew Mc Currie.

“Any person can be affected by, for instance, the development of disability or severe illness – both of which can impact a person’s ability to earn sufficiently for a household. The death of a loved one or even the inability to work are also life-changing events that can result in financial difficulties,” he adds.

“Our most recent pool of data indicates that the R4.8 billion we paid out in claims spans across our wide range of cover benefits, with less than 50% of that for traditional life cover. This tells us that we have an extensive enough offering that is capable of protecting people’s lives, no matter what life-altering event takes place. It’s reassuring in the sense that there isn’t a major life-changing circumstance that people are at risk of that we haven’t provided cover for.”

“Of the total we paid out between January and December 2019, more than R2.2 billion has helped support families with life cover payouts. More than R1.1 billion was paid to clients who submitted Severe Illness Benefit claims. The unique features attached to this benefit, like our multiple-claims facility, Early Cancer and Cancer Relapse benefits, and global treatment access ensure that the product is relevant and comprehensive. For instance, we paid out R226 million in multiple claims during the course of last year. Around 21% of severe illness-related claims were also paid out as second or subsequent claims. Again, this shows us that we are catering for the needs of people today.”

“Also on the higher end of claims payouts during 2019 were against Capital Disability and Income Continuation benefits with more than R816 million and R375 million respectively,” says Mc Currie.

“All of our claims data shows us is that there is a definite need to continue making our Life Plan and value-added benefit offerings comprehensive enough to support families in the country, while also keeping them relevant to clients’ needs and affordable enough to maintain.”

Discovery’s life cover offering is also about enhancing people’s lives

“In order to maintain an offering that can better benefit people’s lives, we’ve woven in reward mechanisms that enhance financial security into every product offering,” Mc Currie explains.

“These include features like upfront premium discounts and the ability to earn PayBack at various points, as well as the options to select the Cash Conversion benefit, which provides lump-sum payouts in retirement.”

“To date, we have paid out around R6.8 billion in PayBack to our clients. Between January and December 2019, client’s received R1.2 billion in PayBack. We’ve even saved our clients and their families around R1.2 billion in gym fees during 2019. How? Our incentivised rewards programme Vitality that consistently encourages clients to proactively take the best care of their state of health,” he adds.

“Essentially, when our clients take care of their health by eating well, exercising regularly and completing necessary health checks, they become healthier, even well beyond the point of retirement. This reduces risk for the development of potential conditions like cancer or cardiovascular conditions, among others – especially later in life when risk for these typically increases. Maintaining a healthier state earlier in life reduces the chances of this.”

“When clients reduce their risk, Discovery Life can reward them for the proactive steps they’ve taken to protect their own health and wellness.”

“We know that this type of system works. In 2019, clients on either a Gold or Diamond Vitality status showed a 53% lower mortality risk than those clients who aren’t engaged with the programme,” says Mc Currie. “Positive behaviour enhance a person’s state of health and that lowers insurance risk. The benefit of this is that value can then be shared – in the form of discounted premiums and PayBack that can all contribute to making cover go even further.”

Cover that’s dynamically structured to evolve through the various stages of life is well positioned to maintain protection that is relevant to changing needs. Whenever a genuine need arises, access to funds is available. From the outset, policyholders can tailor their cover in order to be better positioned to take care of their families following life-altering events, as well as provide for the education of their children through the Global Education Protector benefit.

“We’ve taken the stance that to protect people’s quality of life through insurance, we need to keep a close eye on what needs to be covered as comprehensively as possible. We assess risk based on these dynamic needs and offer a range of cover that can continually evolve to remain relevant. When cover is relevant, it’s also more valuable – for life,” concludes Mc Currie.

This article does not constitute financial advice. Discovery Life Limited. Registration number 1966/003901/06, is a registered long-term insurer, and an authorised financial services and registered credit provider, ncr reg no. Ncrcp3555 no liability will be accepted for the effect of any future legislative or regulatory changes. Product rules, terms and conditions apply.

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