We reward you for living better by giving you PayBack


Regularly getting up to half of your Discovery Life insurance premiums back and major discounts on your premiums requires you to stay healthy, says David Watterson, one of Discovery’s financial advisers.

David, arguably one of South Africa’s all time outstanding goalkeepers, is a tall, lean and agile former late 70s Wits University and Orlando Pirates keeper and has looked after his health and fitness for over 35 years, reaching and maintaining Vitality Diamond status. He’s since turned to successfully minding the financial goals of hundreds of Discovery clients. As in his soccer heyday, he watches his client-players like a hawk, making sure they get to the highest Vitality status possible and that they make all the plays possible to integrate their Discovery policies and products to score financially, from the first blast of the investment whistle to the last.

“I tell people you can’t sell this product, you have to experience it – when you pull your Discovery list of all the savings you’ve made by using Vitality and Health Integration, it’s amazing. When people click that for small commitments they get major benefits, they never look back. Like when they get their first accumulated premium PayBack of up to 35% after one year or up to 5% after five years (Vitality-status-dependent),” he says of Discovery Life, which incorporates disability and dread disease cover.

David, 62, who has substantial Discovery Life cover, believes that financial advisers cannot expect clients to buy-in if they don’t have the policies themselves. “You have to understand and believe it. I worked out that with all the five-yearly premium PayBacks I’ve had, plus my Cash Conversion PayBack at 65, I’ll have paid hardly anything for my policy!” he boasts with the enthusiasm of a French Soccer World Cup Winner. He started the first of his four Discovery policies in 2002 and has supplemented them since. These are; a Classic Life Plan, (taken out 1st August, 2001 and integrated with PaidUp Standard and a buy-up Cash Conversion), then a Classic Life Plan also identically integrated on 1st November, 2001, followed on 1st August 2011 with a third integrated Classic Life Plan. However, by 2011, David was too old to qualify for the PaidUp Standard integration. He also has a retirement Optimiser linked to his Life policies.

“I’ve worked out that the taxfree compound interest on the three Classic Life Plans is 32%. That way above any stock market returns and has everything to do with Discovery,” he enthuses.

As in the beautiful game, you have to stick to the rules. “If I don’t keep my side of the bargain and don’t stay healthy, I won’t receive all the integration, admin discounts and premium PayBacks. You have to stay committed. If you do, you’ll never regret it,” he says. The biggest problem he’s come across – and he has clients who get between R60 000 and R120 000 in PayBacks annually or every five years – is that some people get on board and then, “fade after a few years.”

Huge rewards for staying healthy

“What I and my partner George Kuhn do at our company, called 65financialsoutions, is help clients maintain or increase their Vitality points, without it becoming a problem– and then monitor progress. Once you realise this thing works, it takes very little effort,” he adds. By way of illustration, George, also on Vitality Diamond status, adds; “in 2018 alone, up until August, I had received four PayBacks totalling over R400 000.”

He says Discovery’s approach is straightforward; “If you’re doing what it takes to live longer by staying healthy and fit, they discount your premium and give you PayBacks depending on your Vitality status. That way Discovery gets premiums for longer and you’re rewarded – it’s the shared value model.”

He uses his own life to illustrate how easy it is to get to Gold and then Diamond Vitality status (three years on the former before graduating to the latter). “Even if you don’t gym, get your blood taken, heart rate and cholesterol checked at a Discovery accredited facility, do parkruns, the non-smoker declaration, wear a Fitbit tracker for any exercise; there are myriad ways to quickly bump up your status.” He uses his Discovery card for all purchases and has paid a small fee to secure the Vitality Booster which doubles his points. Besides the Life Insurance-linked premium discounts, PayBacks, Cash Conversion and Retirement Optimiser, David says he saved just under R11 000 on four or five domestic flights in 2017 (Vitality discounts) while his wife flies virtually for free annually to visit their daughter and her grandchildren in Dubai. Being on Vitality Diamond also means he gets 10 times the points towards Discovery partner discounts, while integrating with his Discovery Insure rewards includes fuel back from BP or Shell garages, depending on how well he drives (Vitality Drive), plus 30% discount on any Uber hire. His biggest pay-out will be when his Retirement Opimiser kicks in 65. While reticent to share the total of his five-yearly PayBacks since 2011, he says it’s a six-digit number. The open secret is that he has the full panoply of policies and has integrated his Vitality policy and managed his medical aid claims to secure up to 60% of his premiums back every five years.

“Perhaps I’m an extreme example, because I use my Discovery Card to pay for all my medical costs, thus negating claims while securing further rewards. I just need to stay on Diamond for the next 39 months and I’ll be able to achieve my retirement goal and retire comfortably. By also having the Global Educator Protector, my kids were covered from primary school through to tertiary education anywhere in the world.” He has a 19-year-old autistic son, a 23-year-old daughter and a step-daughter. David says that for an additional premium, for the Paid-up option on this funding pattern, he no longer has to pay premiums on his Discovery Life insurance from the age of 65 until he dies, and his cover will remain in place.

A Discovery Life policy he facilitated for a golfing friend and client, Mark-Avice Dubuisson and his wife Samantha in 2013 garnered them a significant PayBack in June 2018.

Says Mark, “We actually got R97 000. We’re both on Vitality Diamond status, so that really helped.”

David’s approach to clients is to lay down a solid foundation and, ‘’wind up their estate while they’re alive – I’m not interested in products initially. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle, you put in the missing pieces. You do a cash flow and see what they can afford. Basically, Discovery has been a breath of fresh air in the market and woken up their competitors,” he adds.

Discovery Life Limited. Registration number 1966/003901/06, is a registered long-term insurer, and an authorised financial services and registered credit provider, NCR Registration number NCRCP3555. Product rules, terms and conditions apply. This article is meant only as information and should not be taken as financial advice. For tailored financial advice, please contact your financial adviser.


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