About 900 South Africans die each die each day as a result of HIV/Aids related infections, and there are approximately 5.4 million people living with HIV/Aids in South Africa. HIV prevalence amongst adults accounts for 28% of those infected, and currently, 90 000 to 100 000 people are receiving antiretroviral therapy in the private sector. Until AllLife's, launch in December 2005, life insurance was largely inaccessible to people living with HIV.
A world first
AllLife, the world’s first provider of pure risk whole life insurance products to people living with HIV, will soon offer disability protection to its clients. The harsh reality is that, until AllLife’s launch, an individual living with HIV found it extremely difficult to obtain life insurance, that may have been required to obtain a home or business loan; or to make financial provision for dependents in the case of their death.
The provision of life insurance has not only provided people living with HIV with the peace of mind that their beneficiaries are financially provided for in the event of their death, but has enabled AllLife’s clients to enter the financial service market as real participants. AllLife, clients have been able to access loan finance, whether to buy houses or invest in business opportunities, or plan for their family’s financial future.
“AllLife’s provision of life insurance does not just fill a financial product gap, but it also challenges the accepted mindset. Most of our clients have only heard the message that HIV equals AIDS, which eventually equals death. We get to give our clients a very different message – treat HIV appropriately and it is a chronic, manageable disease," says Ross Beerman, AllLife’s Managing Director.
Giving inspiration to live
"In this market, life insurance is not just a product, but a powerful message that people need to start planning to live and stop waiting to die. Our clients are empowered to invest in a future many of them felt did not exist and this has resulted in them committing to long-term aspirations such as education, business and housing. We may only provide life insurance, but it feels like we have real impact, it feels like we are changing peoples’ lives.”
AllLife has focused on extending their product offering to provide disability protection of the broadest kind, including specific cover for certain disabling AIDS defining illnesses. Income protection focused on the payment of home loan instalments and insurance premiums will also be launched in the first quarter of 2007. This is a truly remarkable offering as HIV is responsible for between 15 and 20% of disability claims in the general insured South African population.
Finally, Beerman concludes, “The response to our product set has been overwhelming, for several reasons:
- our philosophy is a positive one – our policies are structured to acknowledge that people living with HIV are going to live,
- secondly we understand what it takes to manage the disease and we provide proactive monitoring that this is happening,
- and the stigma of applying for insurance and being rejected has been removed. We are currently receiving in excess of 150 direct unique queries a week, and we only expect this to grow as we extend our product set and the public becomes more aware of our offering.”
(November 2006, Based on a press release issued by AllLife Insurance, www.alllife.co.za, or contact them on 0861 255 5433, AllLife is an Authorised Financial Services Provider)