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Breast cancer – Leading cause for severe illness claims

The increasing incidence of breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in South Africa. Statistics indicate that one in 28 SA women are affected by breast cancer.

According to the latest statistics of the leading insurers, cancer is also one of the leading causes of claims. Liberty’s 2019 claim statistics indicate that 36 per cent of claims from women were for cancer. “The vast majority of breast cancer claims we have seen at Liberty are for stage one, for which we pay all valid claims. Even stage one treatment can be expensive, not just medically, but also on your ability to manage your everyday life,” according to Dr Dominique Stott, Liberty’s chief medical officer.

As in 2018, Momentum also reports that breast cancer remained the leading cause of severe illness claims by females. Jenny Ingram, Head of Product Development & Pricing at Momentum Life, notes that females under the age of 40 claim twice as much as males of the same age, indicating that women tend to claim earlier in life, with breast cancer being the main culprit in this space. “What makes this unsettling is that this is when women are at their most productive, playing a major role in many households and businesses across the country. This is where critical illness benefits make the biggest impact.”

The Old Mutual statistics also echo this phenomenon. “The ‘Big 4’ illnesses make up 73% of all severe illness claims, with 67% of them attributed to cancer, 17% to heart attacks, 9% to strokes and 7% to coronary artery bypass grafts. In the Severe Illness cover category males claimed mostly for cardiovascular disorders (42%) and females for cancer and tumours (60%) with breast cancer being the most common,” John Kotze, Protection Product Head at Old Mutual explains.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a yearly campaign to increase awareness of breast cancer and breast health. Use this time to talk to your client about Dread Disease or Critical Illness cover. In a recent opinion piece, Wendy Bussey, Business Development Gauteng at Turnberry Management Risk Solutions indicated that gap cover plays an essential role in ensuring that women can take care of their mental, financial and physical health in the event of a breast cancer diagnosis. Click here to read more.

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