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Five facts about disability in South Africa and how disability Insurance can help

22 November 2023 YuLife

According to the World Health Organisation, one in six people worldwide has a disability — and this number is estimated to be much higher in South Africa. According to the organisation,people with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty, have lower levels of education and be unemployed.

Despite this, there have been some positive strides made to create awareness of disabilities, such as disabled fashion designer, Laura Wagner-Meyer’s, decision to enter Miss SA 2023. Recently, South Africa and India also signed a memorandum to cooperate on developments in the disability sector, break down the persistent stigma surrounding disability and address the continued lack of resources — bringing to light all the work there still is to be done.

In commemoration of disability month, YuLife, an Insurtech start-up dedicated to transforming the nature of insurance, has highlighted a few facts about disability that all South Africans should be conscious of:

1. Disabilities are more prominent than ever
An estimated 7.5 million South Africans have a disability and according to a study published in 2018, around 3.5% of the population experience severe functional limitations, while 12.2% have a moderate disability.

What’s more, the average age of a person with a disability in South Africa is just 47. The report also states that the impact of disability is wide with around 28% of households having a member with a moderate disability, while 9.5% of households include someone with a severe functional limitation.

2. The rights of the disabled are enshrined in South African law:
Modern South Africa was founded on respect for diversity — and that includes disabled people. That’s why there are several laws in place within South Africa that protect the rights of people with disabilities.

Most significantly, Chapter 2 of the national constitution explicitly prohibits unfair discrimination against people on the basis of disability or health status.

3. Disability insurance is a powerful tool:
Disability Insurance can play a vital role in meeting the gap between society’s ambition to help build equity for those with disabilities, and the reality. Group Disability Insurance provides employees with financial security, access to supportive services, and peace of mind for them and their families.

It also gives organisations a competitive advantage in terms of attracting and retaining the best talent. While the market for Disability Insurance is highly competitive, it has also become stale with most insurance companies stuck in their ways — resistant to change with limited innovation to improve their service.

4. YuLife’s radical approach ensures engagement:
Disability Insurance with YuLife comes in two forms:Firstly, there's Lump Sum Disability Cover which provides a lump sum of money to the YuLife member in the event of their permanent disability, helping to support them if they cannot earn a stable income.

Secondly, there's Income Protection, which provides a monthly payment should an employee become unable to work for an agreed duration due to illness or injury. The amount paid is based on a percentage of the employee’s salary, and an additional amount can be selected to go toward the member's retirement contributions.

What makes YuLife unique is it's focus on prevention through physical, financial and mental wellness. When companies sign on with YuLife, all employees get access to their gamified benefits and wellbeing app. This app gives YuLifers simple daily challenges such as walking, cycling or meditation — so they aren’t just protected with insurance products, but are rewarded preventative resources to maintain their health.

5. Why disability cover matters:
Many South Africans don’t think getting disability cover is necessary for them, either for financial reasons or simply because they believe they won’t need it .

Should an accident occur, depending on the severity of the disability, research shows that some individuals are unlikely to still be employable. “We offer our members that are unable to work an income protection which provides a monthly payment for an agreed duration, due to illness or injury.” Say Jaco Oosthuizen, CEO and managing director of YuLife South Africa, and co-founder of the YuLife group.

All of this adds up to a radical approach to Disability Insurance that is shaking up the South African market and providing employers with an exciting new alternative that can change and enhance lives.

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