In the first eight months of 2021, COVID-19 accounted for 57% of Discovery Life’s death claims, more than all other claims combined.
“If we inspect the highest claims category per year for the past 10 years, we find that COVID-19 has emerged as the leading cause of death, overtaking cancer as well as heart and artery claims, which in previous years were the main causes of death,” Discovery Life chief executive Riaan van Reenen is quoted as saying by The Herald. In the previous nine years, heart and artery diseases accounted for an average of 27% of death claims lodged with the insurer each year.
“A tragic second and third wave of COVID-19, driven mainly by the Beta variant followed by the highly transmissible Delta variant, as well as the long-term health effect of long COVID-19, have driven a higher than-usual claims experience attributed to the pandemic," Van Reenen said. “Though COVID affected claims in 2020 materially, the effect of the second and third waves primarily affected the 2021 claims experience.”
The insurer had paid almost R3bn to clients in COVID-19 related claims by the end of June 2021, with its highest-ever claims amount, in a single month, being during January. “Based on our projections, we expect a total of R6.2bn in COVID-19 related claims to be paid out between individual and group risk insurance policies by June 2022,” Van Reenen said.
And there is no end in sight. “COVID-19 is likely to become an endemic disease in the near future with a continued effect on society in the years to come.”
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