Sharing the value of life


Shared-value insurance. It’s written in Discovery’s DNA. We speak of its importance to our business often and strive to find ways to make it impactful to every client every day.

Protective risk cover is central to the Discovery Life business. Our portfolio range is extensive, offering you the opportunity to build the most protective life plan for yourself and your family. We do this because we understand that life is unpredictable. Any one of us can experience an event that fundamentally shifts our lives.

By having protective life insurance, the impact of life-changing events don’t have to be as heavy on your shoulders. Insurance claim payouts are a way of ensuring that clients can always take care of unforeseen needs without incurring major financial loss. In this way, life insurance policies help to achieve what we, as a business, constantly set out to do: to enhance and protect people’s lives.

Structured policies and benefits that are comprehensive ensure that no matter what life-changing event may occur, financial protection is available at a time that it becomes most needed. To put such benefits together, we keep a close eye on data and statistics – some of which come from our own client base.

Looking back at 2019: 97% of all submitted claims received a payout

“From January to December 2019, Discovery Life paid out R4.8 billion for a total of 22 524 policyholder claims,” says Discovery Life Head of Technical Marketing and Distribution, Andrew Mc Currie. Accumulatively over the years, more than R31.3 billion has reached policyholders in their time of need.

During 2019, claim payments were made against various Life Plan benefits that include the Severe Illness, Capital Disability, Income Continuation, Global Education Protector, Overhead Expenses, Funeral and Family Benefits, as well as Life Cover.

The statistics behind life insurance payouts during 2019

“More than R2 billion in Life Cover was paid out to families following the loss of a loved one,” says Mc Currie. To date, the oldest male client passed away at the age of 89 due to respiratory failure and the oldest female at the age of 86 as a result of a heart attack. The youngest male client passed away at the age of 23 in a motor vehicle accident, and the youngest female, at the age of 21, also in a motor vehicle accident.

“During 2019, we noted that cancer unfortunately remains the most common cause of death among female policyholders – particularly breast cancer. Male clients appear to be more at risk of death due to heart- and artery-related health conditions,” says Mc Currie. “Men also appear to have a higher proportional risk of unnatural deaths at 1.5 times that of women.”

Discovery Life noted that younger policyholders are seemingly at a considerably higher risk of unnatural death mostly as a result of motor vehicle accidents, while older generations appear more prone to cancer and cardiovascular-related health conditions.

Nearly 1 in 5 death claims made during 2019 were submitted due to unnatural causes. “Suicides are seemingly more prevalent in clients between the ages of 41 and 50. During 2019, however, we did note a 29% decline in the incidence rate when compared to figures recorded five years prior,” adds Mc Currie. “Motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death for policyholders under the age of 30 is now around the 37% mark – as at end 2019.”

What such claims highlight is a need to continue promoting efforts to achieve and maintain good health throughout our clients’ lives. Improved health contributes to lower risks of conditions like cancer and those of a cardiovascular nature, in particular. A healthier way of living also promotes better habits. When we practice such habits in our daily lives, we can substantially reduce our health risk.

To date, Discovery Life has paid out R6.8 billion in PayBack rewards

“When policyholders do make efforts to live well, it shows in the stats and we’ve been able to reward them for it,” says Mc Currie. “During 2019, the business paid out policyholders a total of R1.2 billion through the PayBack benefit.”

Underpinned by the Vitality Programme, policyholders earn their PayBack percentage according to their Vitality status and Health claims, where applicable. Policyholders can improve their status the more positively they engage with the programme. As a result, they can accrue a higher percentage of their premiums towards a PayBack amount. In this way, Discovery Life encourages policyholders towards goals of long-term health and reduced overall risk. The lower a person’s risk profile, the higher the PayBack.

“During 2019, one Diamond status policyholder earned nearly R937 000 in PayBacks. The highest PayBack to a Gold status client was over R650 000. Even in terms of less engaged members, we saw that during 2019, the highest PayBack to a client with a Blue Vitality status was in excess of R535 000,” he adds further.

“What we’ve also been able to determine from our claims data of 2019 is that clients who achieved a Gold or Diamond Vitality status had a 53% lower mortality risk compared to policyholders who are not as engaged in the programme.”

Sharing the value in financial rewards for the wellbeing of families

“Other than PayBacks, the comprehensive nature of our range of products ensures that clients are covered on the risk side while being rewarded for engagement on the rewards side. More than 37 500 children are currently covered through the Global Education Protector Benefit, should the need ever arise and currently, Discovery Life and Group Risk is paying out for the education fees of over 1 600 children via this benefit,” adds Mc Currie.

“Part and parcel of the Global Education Protector is the University Funder Benefit that will cover up to 100% of a child’s tertiary education fees for up to three years if a claim is not paid out and depending on how the parent engages with Vitality. We project that a total of R2.3 billion in tertiary education costs will be funded through the University Funder Benefit during the next 21 years.”

“In addition to PayBacks and the University Funder Benefit, Cash conversions to the value of R2.8 billion on our client’s Life Plans are expected to mature over the course of the next 5 years too.”

“Whilst engaging in Vitality and earning significant value through the mechanisms outlined above, Discovery Life clients and their families have also saved around R1.2 billion in gym fees during 2019, just for living well and taking the best care of their health as they possibly can.”

Comprehensive life cover not only protects against the fallout of risks when unforeseen events occur. It is also structured to enhance quality of life while a person is able to make the most of it.

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. Product rules, terms and conditions apply. Discovery Vitality (Pty) Ltd is an authorised financial services provider. Registration number: 1999/007736/07. Limits, terms and conditions apply.

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