Dr Maritha van der Walt, Chief Medical Officer at Discovery Life, echoes this sentiment saying,
”Having life insurance regardless of what is happening around us in the world can
be comforting in some way. As people are confronted with the uncertainty of
possible illness or other life-changing events, insurance gives a level of
certainty that financial needs will be taken care of if someone’s health is
Dr Van der Walt
says, “Based on the current information on COVID-19, more than 80% of patients
have mild symptoms, only 15% have more serious symptoms and about 5% of cases
are critical. Only very severe cases with secondary complications of the virus
need hospitalisation and possibly mechanical ventilation.” Even considering
this, COVID-19 is a reminder about the importance of life insurance.
Is it too late to take out cover?
“It is never too late to protect your and your
family’s financial welfare. While insurance is always a critical financial
services product, the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a reminder of this for
some people. People can still take
out new policies, which will be fully underwritten, and clients can make
changes to existing policies. As with any insurance, full disclosure of all the
necessary details is important. If someone is already sick and did not disclose
this information, processing the application may be delayed until after a full
recovery,” she says.
Insurance is often somewhat of a
grudge purchase and, in tougher financial times, it could also be one of the
first things to downgrade or cancel. Dr Van der Walt cautions
against this. ”There are many factors to consider and as this
situation develops, it could become a reality that people will feel some
pressure in their personal finances. It’s important to do everything possible
to make sure you have insurance for all life-changing events and not only for
COVID-19. It gives reassurance of financial support when you’re faced with the
unexpected,” she says.
The different benefits of a life insurance policy
There are different types of benefits available on
long-term insurance policies. The Discovery Life Plan has been
designed to give comprehensive protection when our clients and their families
need it the most. The current COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. The unique
features across all our benefits make sure that our clients are comprehensively
protected against the effect that this virus can have on their and their
We spoke to Dr Van der Walt to understand
how each benefit will protect policyholders in case of COVID-19-associated loss
of income, disability, severe illness or death.
All existing cover remains relevant for clients
One of the main reasons why people buy long-term
insurance is for the lump-sum payment to selected beneficiaries in case of
death. As COVID-19 is a completely new illness, will it be covered? Dr Van der Walt
says, “Of course it will be. It’s crucial for everyone to follow the
recommendations to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. While the
current indicated fatality rate due to the virus is fairly low, all
policyholders with Discovery Life can rest assured they are fully covered
under their life cover benefit.”
Long-term insurance policies also have a component of cover
in case of disability. “While more research will be necessary, early
indications are that there should not be a high incidence of long-term
disability. At this stage, fortunately, it seems that people recover fully. In
the unlikely event of permanent disability due to secondary complications that
fall under one of the Capital Disability Benefit’s claims criteria, we will assess the claim in line with Discovery’s
normal claims assessment criteria,” confirms Dr Van der Walt.
Around 5% of the population who have COVID-19
experience severe illness and may need hospitalisation and possible ventilation.
She says, ”Benefits in case of severe illness will work the same as cover you
have for other conditions. When someone needs to be admitted to the intensive
care unit (ICU), for example, Discovery Life will review and pay these
claims for ICU stays and emergency procedures according to the policy’s cover for severe illness and, if applicable, ancillary benefits, such as the Family Trauma
When income is affected due to COVID-19
“Discovery Life’s income continuation benefits are market-leading and our clients will have income protection when
they are sick and unable to work, including from illness due to COVID-19.
Policies may have specified waiting periods to claim from this benefit, for
example 7 days, 30 days, or 3 months and more,” explains Dr Van der Walt.
Dr Van der Walt stresses that the
benefits available through life insurance policies are for the illness of and
injury to the insured person. These benefits do not apply for financial loss
due to business interruption or being unable to earn an income due to the stay-at-home
measures imposed by the government to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Limited, registration number 1966/003901/06, is a registered long-term insurer,
and an authorised financial services and registered credit provider. NCR Reg
No. NCRCP3555. Product rules, terms and conditions apply.
This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Discovery Life.