The conversation around life insurance needs to change. This is according to Kresantha Pillay, Lead Specialist: Lifestyle Protector at Liberty. Pillay was speaking at the release of the annual Liberty Claim Statistics report, which aims to provide a deeper insight into the claim causes affecting people across the country.
The statistics indicated that cancer was the leading cause of deaths in South Africa, with 27.9% of the claims. Trailing behind was cardiovascular diseases, which made up 24.3% of claims received last year, followed by respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disorders and lastly, renal disorders.
“Yes, people are being diagnosed with cancer quite frequently, but what is important to take note of is that people are surviving it. So traditionally death insurance, which is life cover, would be paid as a lump sum to your dependents and beneficiaries. It’s important that the conversation needs to change as people are surviving critical illnesses, but the financial impact is still there. How do we carry on and maintain our lifestyle? So it’s extremely important that life insurance is not just seen as life cover or death insurance; you really need to take a multi-benefit package,” said Pillay.
She added that given the state of our economy and the rate of retrenchments experienced, they have also seen an increase in income disability benefits, which cater for permanent or temporary loss of income.
Mpho Mutuwa, Senior Specialist: Group Communications said that the education from a consumer perspective needed to be clearer that insurance is not there to make you rich, but rather to ensure that your lifestyle is not financially altered should there be a life changing event. “We have noticed that there was a misconception among the young working force that they are invincible when it comes to retrenchments, but we’ve actually seen that they are also not immune to retrenchment as they are also claiming within that bracket,” said Mutuwa.
“The shift really is to move to multi-benefit insurance, moving from having more than just life cover. That’s what we’d like to emphasise. It’s important that clients and financial advisers understand this and take out appropriate cover,” concluded Pillay.