Discovery's life insurance business, Discovery Life, has paid out a total of R1.5bn in COVID-19-related claims to date and has flagged that its healthcare worker clients were disproportionately affected. Fin24 reports that in total, Discovery Life paid R1.4bn towards death claims, R73m in income-protection benefits, and R14m in severe illness claims caused by the virus.
The insurer pointed out that, while healthcare workers made up just 4.9% of Discovery Life clients, they accounted for 60% of all COVID-19-related claims.
"Healthcare professionals on the frontline are exposed to the virus on a daily basis. It should therefore come as no surprise that healthcare professionals have the highest incidence of Discovery Life's COVID-19 claims out of all occupations," the insurer noted.
In terms of gender, male clients accounted for 69% of death claims, despite only making up 54% of Discovery Life’s covered clients. The insurer also revealed that January 2021 was the deadliest month on record as far as COVID-19 was concerned. Sanlam, Momentum Metropolitan and Liberty also recorded their highest claims in January/February.
In some instances, these were 60% higher than what insurers witnessed at the peak of the first wave in July 2020.
BusinessLIVE reports that Discovery Life said two-thirds of total pay-outs coming in January alone as a second wave of infections towards the end of 2020 inflated death claims.
“Given the very significant increase in COVID-19-related death claims during January, it was concluded that, in isolation, the COVID-19 claims provision might be inadequate and the provision as at December 31 2020 was strengthened by R153m,” Discovery said in its interim results booklet.
Discovery Life said clients that had been infected by COVID-19 but who held Diamond Vitality status, the top tier of Discovery group’s healthy living incentive programme, had a mortality rate that was 80% lower than clients with no Vitality status. This improved mortality rate persisted even when the clients had one comorbidity or were over the age of 60, the insurer said.
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