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Big five life insurers see no new spikes in deaths in 2022, but claims remain above pre-pandemic levels

30 November 2022 Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA)

South Africa’s five largest life insurers have seen recent death claims against fully underwritten life policies* starting to return to pre-pandemic levels.

The Death Claims Dashboard, maintained by the Continuous Statistical Investigation (CSI) Committee of the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA), shows that 617 death claims were received in August 2022 – the lowest since April 2020 when 540 death claims were submitted.

According to Anja Kuys, chair of the ASSA CSI committee, the usual number of claims expected for fully underwritten new generation life policies would be between 600 and 700 a month in pre-pandemic years. The number of monthly death claims received by the five life insurers started increasing rapidly from June 2020, peaking above 2 700 per month twice – in January 2021 and again in July 2021.

The dashboard indicates that of the 31 520 death claims received by the five insurers between March 2020 and August 2022, some 4 706 claims were due to confirmed COVID deaths. Kuys notes that death claims for policyholders who died due to COVID started dropping to single-digit numbers from March this year, reaching zero for the first time in August.
She points out, however, that the actual number of COVID-19 deaths was much higher. She explains that claim forms generally do not specify COVID-19 as the cause of death and only state whether the cause was due to natural or unnatural causes.

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