Death, critical illness and disability cover for the modern woman

01 October 2012 Ferdi Booysen, Old Mutual

Women have always been the carriers of the next generation, but recent research indicates that many women (maybe most) also play the chief role in sustaining their families financially. What can this generation of bread-winning women do to be more prepared?

As a woman, you know how your income empowers you. It enables your lifestyle: The home you live in, the car you drive, your retirement provision, access to medical treatment and even the clothes you wear and the holidays you plan. "Have you ever considered what would happen if suddenly you didn’t have that income?” asks Ferdi Booysen, GREENLIGHT product manager at Old Mutual.

Massive insurance shortfall

The latest Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor found that only three out of 10 working metro South African women have life assurance, death and disability cover. "Of greater concern is the research finding that approximately half of South African mothers are single parents,” says Booysen.

That is why it is sensible for young women who want to have children one day to consider maternity leave cover over and above death and disability cover. Although the Basic Conditions of Employment Act allows women to take up to four months leave in the event of a pregnancy, this may not necessarily take the form of paid leave. The situation varies from one employer to the next.

Inconsistent maternity benefits

Some companies do not offer any maternity benefits, while others will only pay a percentage of your monthly income for up to four months while you are off from work. In either case you may not have sufficient income to cover the costs associated with your new arrival. "It is vital that you have a maternity benefit to ensure you have 100% income replacement for up to four months while on maternity leave,” he says.

Women are becoming more and more independent, and because of this, it is important that your financial solutions suit your needs and lifestyle. Solutions that worked in the past will not automatically suit mothers’ current needs. To give mothers the best possible cover insurers such as Old Mutual are continually improving and expanding their product offering. Old Mutual’s claim statistics show that R2.6 billion was paid out to customers last year. 33% of total death claims, 38% of disability claims and 40% of illness claims were paid to women.

Nice-to-have extras

Additional benefits to consider include congenital birth-defect and impairment cover. This includes defects such as Down syndrome and cleft palates, and also impairments such as loss of sight, hearing, major burns and terminal illness up to age 13. "Having this cover means that if your child is disabled, you will be paid a lump sum to help deal with the financial costs,” says Booysen.

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