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Covid now leading cause of death among Discovery Life clients

Covid-19 has overtaken cancer, heart and artery disease as the primary cause of death among Discovery Life clients, according to the insurer’s claims data for 2020.

Furthermore, deaths due to Covid-19 in the first eight months of this year have been almost 50% higher than all other causes of death combined.

“Over the previous nine years, heart and artery diseases caused an average of 27% of deaths each year, compared to 57% of all deaths being attributed to Covid-19 for 2021 up to August,” said Discovery Life chief executive Riaan van Reenen.

The second and third wave, driven mainly by the Beta variant followed by the highly transmissible Delta variant, as well as the long-term health impact of long Covid, have driven a higher-than-usual claims experience attributed to the pandemic, said Van Reenen.

“Although Covid-19 impacted claims in 2020 materially, the impact of the second and third waves primary impacted the 2021 claims experience.”

Discovery Life paid 21 961 claims in 2020, valued at R4.7 billion. It said 97% of claims were paid out.

It paid more than 2 000 severe illness claims during 2020. As in previous years, the most common severe illness in women is cancer, while the most common severe illness in men is cardiovascular related. Twenty-nine per cent of claims were for second or subsequent severe illness claims.

Van Reenen said Discovery paid out nearly R3bn in Covid-19-related claims to 30 June 2021, with its highest claims amount on record, in a single month, in 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. Covid-19 is likely to become an endemic disease in the near future, with a continued impact on society in the years to come.”

Discovery Life’s chief medical officer, Dr Maritha van der Walt, said the available data showed that a healthy lifestyle can reduce a person’s risk of severe complications from Covid-19.

“Our data and analysis show that in 2020, clients on Gold and Diamond status exhibited 73% lower mortality rates than clients without Vitality and those on a Blue status.”

Discovery Life deputy chief executive Gareth Friedlander said 80% of clients aged older than 60 have been vaccinated, while 71% of all clients have received at least one vaccine.

In July, Discovery Life announced that being vaccinated against Covid-19 would be an additional consideration in determining life insurance premiums and benefits for new clients.

Clients who are vaccinated qualify for a number of benefits, including premium paybacks.

The vaccination status of the main client on the policy is considered for the offer.

Clients with new polices who indicate they are unwilling to be vaccinated may be subject to higher premiums.

“Refusal to be vaccinated is treated similarly to smoking or lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, which receive a higher premium. This premium may be adjusted should an unvaccinated client later decide to get vaccinated,” Van Reenen said.

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4 Responses to Covid now leading cause of death among Discovery Life clients

  1. Kevin 2 November 2021 at 2:47 pm #

    I would not believe a word Discovery says, they are furthering the government and WHO’s narrative. And were those deaths OF covid or WITH covid…..big difference. I know more people who have died from the experimental drug (vaccine) than from covid.

  2. Rico 2 November 2021 at 2:48 pm #

    It’s very sad that Discovery has decided to discriminate against those that choose not to be vaccinated, especially since mountains of evidence is available to treat the so called pandemic (which in fact it no longer is) with effective off label medication. Those that have had Co-vid also have a far better and stronger and long lasting immune system than those that have been vaccinated.
    Any response and debate is welcomed.

  3. Alan 2 November 2021 at 3:13 pm #

    It would also be interesting to see the actual “excess deaths” recorded by Discovery – i.e. how many more people that were insured by Discovery died from all causes over this time compared with the same period last year.

    • Savy Rank 3 November 2021 at 9:56 pm #

      It would be interesting to know how many died of covid infection post vaccine. Why are they not providing this information

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