Category Life Insurance

Give children the best possible critical illness cover

19 September 2018 Momentum
George Kolbe, Head of Marketing for Life Insurance, Momentum

George Kolbe, Head of Marketing for Life Insurance, Momentum

When children are in desperate need of help because of a critical illness, parents will do everything in their power to source the best possible care for their children and cancer is no exception. Although cancer in children and teenagers are rare, statistics indicate that between 800 and 1000 children, under the age of 15, are diagnosed with this disease on an annual basis in South Africa (SA).

Statistics tell the story 

Statistics show that the incidence of serious illness spikes in the first years of life and drops significantly after that before it increases again in adulthood. This is supported by statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that indicates during 2013, 4.6 million children across the globe, died in the first year of their lives. 

The WHO also states that more than half of these early child deaths are due to conditions that could be prevented or treated with access to simple, affordable interventions. Some of the leading causes of death in children younger than five years are preterm birth complications, pneumonia, birth asphyxia and cancer. 

There are a number of genetic and environmental causes for cancer in children but Leukaemia remains the most prevalent kind of cancer among children in SA. This is very much in line with Momentum’s claim pay-outs for 2017, where 54% of child critical illness pay-outs were for cancer followed by 34% claim pay-outs for nervous system related critical illnesses. During 2017, we paid out 25 critical illness claims for children; this cover was provided at no additional cost. 

The youngest child for whom we paid out a critical illness claim during 2017 was for a five month old baby.  Both parents had critical illness cover hence we paid under both parents’ benefits from the “nervous system” category for brain damage due to hypoxia (insufficient oxygen flow to the brain).  

As demonstrated above, parents’ choice of critical illness benefits is vital since it can determine the pay-out level for which they, and therefore their children, qualify. This is because Myriad’s complete range of critical illness benefits automatically includes child cover that equals 10% of the parents’ benefit amount, with a maximum pay-out of R250 000 per parent policy for child critical illness, at no additional cost to the parents. Also, any critical illness claim pay-out for children does not reduce the parents’ cover in any way. Furthermore, each child is treated as a separate life on a Momentum policy which means that a claim for one child will not reduce the existing cover for another child. 

Planning for every possible scenario 

Critical illness cover for children also takes into account the unplanned expenses when the unthinkable happens. This could be anything from employing an au-pair to look after other children, the cost of therapy where your child has to learn certain skills from scratch or the reduction of income from you taking time off work to look after your child. 

This could have a devastating financial impact on the rest of the family should they not have adequate critical illness cover for children in place. This is especially true in light of medical schemes not covering any of the mentioned costs. 

With this in mind and reflecting on our extensive experience as critical illness cover experts, we believe modern ‘best of breed’ critical illness benefits should offer unsurpassed breadth of cover for both clients and their children and be simple to understand without creating unnecessary complexity. 

This is why Myriad’s critical illness cover for children also explicitly caters for 13 child-specific claim events, should the cover be in place for the duration of the pregnancy, in addition to all the other claim events covered under the parent events, for example cleft palate repair, juvenile arthritis, cancers and metabolic conditions and this cover extends from birth. 

Choose wisely 

Parents want to be in a financial position where they can protect their children by having access to the best possible medical care when it comes to treating a critical condition. However, that care is dependent on the choices that we, as parents, make when it comes to critical illness cover.

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