More health, more years, more life

20 July 2015 Gareth Friedlander, Discovery Life
Gareth Friedlander, Head of Research and Development at Discovery Life.

Gareth Friedlander, Head of Research and Development at Discovery Life.

Discovery Life paid out more than R1 billion to date in cash rewards to clients for leading healthy lifestyles, of which more than R400 million was paid out in 2014.

Encouraging and rewarding healthy living is the cornerstone of Discovery’s insurance offering.

“We saw that health and wellness management led to asignificant reduction in claims from Discovery Life clients in 2014,” says Gareth Friedlander, Head of Research and Development at Discovery Life. Clients who led a healthy lifestyle and participated in the Vitality wellness programme had a lower risk of claiming than those who didn’t make as many healthy choices. In fact, the higher the Vitality status, the fewer the claims. Diamond Vitality status members claimed 50% lower than members with a Blue or Bronze Vitality status overall; and 79% lower on Life Cover Benefits. “This means that clients who continue to improve their health status are living longer. This reinfores Discovery’s philosophy: healthier clients claim less,” says Friedlander.

Financial rewards for healthy living

Several innovations underline the philosophy of more health, more years, more life.

The PayBack benefit is a breakthrough risk product that translates the impact of improved personal health into a tangible asset.

Since launch in 2000, DiscoveryLife has paid out more than R1 billion in PayBacks to clients for managing their health and wellness.

Since the launch of the Business Life Plan in August 2014, clients have accumulated Principal PayBack Funds of almost R585 million. Similarly, since the launch of the Dollar Life Plan in November 2014, Discovery Life clients have accumulated Dollar PayBack Funds of $9 242 832.

The total amount paid to clients through the PayBack benefit in 2014 was R429 256 035, with the highest PayBack to an individual client in 2014 at R1 279 269.

Claims paid out in 2014

Discovery Life has paid out in excess of R12.6 billion in claims to date; with a total amount of R2.3 billion paid out in 2014.

The majority of claims paid out were for life cover (R 1.1 billion). After cancer (27%), the leading causes of death were unnatural causes (26%) and heart and artery (26%). 75% of claims were for people under the age of 60; and 13% were people aged 31 to 40.

“Between the ages of 31 – 40 clients will have significant financial responsibilities that need to be protected,” says Friedlander. “The high percentage of unnatural deaths, and number of deaths in younger people, clearly underlines the need for life cover, irrespective of health or age.” 44% of unnatural deaths were caused by motor vehicle accidents, while 16% were crime related. The youngest female claimant was aged 19 and died as a result of a car accident.

Almost R525 million was paid out for severe illness claims. The two leading causes of claims in 2014 were cancer and heart and artery disease, togetheraccounting for over 65% of claims. 31% of claims were for people aged 41-50.

The fact that almost half of claims were for low severity stages of illness underlines the need for cover at early stages of disease. 36% of claims were for cancer: testicular and haematological cancers are particularly prominent in men younger than 30 years old. Prostate cancer shows an increasing trend with age, with men older than 51 particularly susceptible. Women of all ages are susceptible to breast cancer which constitutes the leading type of cancer claim in females.

The Capital Disability Benefit pays a lump-sum amount if a client is disabled; and features whole body cover – cover for all disabilities that could threaten a client’s ability to earn an income. In 2014, more than R413 million was paid out in this regard.

“Disability events affect all age groups. The largest group (36%) of claims were for people aged 41-50, again highlighting the importance of cover at all life stages,” says Friedlander.

Discovery Life offers disability cover up to age 70. And all our disability benefits automatically convert to severe illness cover in retirement.

Multiple claims

There is increased risk of subsequent related claims – affecting not only someone’s lifesyle but also their earning ability. “Claimants who have one severe illness are 20 times more likley to have a subsequent illness than clients who have not claimed,” says Friedlander.

“Through our market-leading multiple claims facility, Discovery Life allows clients to claim more than once for a severe illness in the same body system, regardless of severity.”

Of the claims submitted in 2014, Discovery Life paid 98%; with only 2% of claims being declined. This was due to a number of reasons, such as pre-existing medical conditions and other exclusions, non disclosure, misrepresentation and policy terms not being met.

“Our aim is to streamline the claims process to assist clients when they are most vulnerable, by making sure theclaims are assessed and settled quickly and fairly,” says Friedlander. Some of the ways Discovery Life does this are through SmartClaims, which assesses claims on site by collecting relevant documentation; through over-the-phoneIncome Continuation Benefit claims processing; and HealthID claims which can be sent and assessed electronically.

Furthermore, “Through our relationship with Discovery Health, we can identify when a Discovery Health member with a Life Plan may be eligible for a claim and pro-actively notify clients and advisers when they may qualify for a claim,” says Friedlander.

“Excellent service is at the heart of what we do, as we strive to protect and enhance members’ health and lives,” says Friedlander.

Discovery claims experience PDF.


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