Insurer sees jump in number of females claiming for severe diseases

Insurance companies have noticed a rise in the proportion of young, primarily female people who submit claims for severe illnesses, disability lump sums, and disability sickness income.

Sanlam, a South African financial services company and one of the largest insurance groups on the continent, has revealed that it has cashed out R10.7-billion in claims for both Sanlam Business Risk and Sanlam Risk and Savings.

According to Sanlam’s CEO, Dr Marion Morkel, the financial services company’s statistics show that 67% of sickness and disability income claims were paid to individuals under the age of 45.


Main causes of claims

“The main causes of all the claims paid are cancer, accidents, violence and injury, respiratory conditions, and cardiovascular,” said Morkel.

Morkel commented on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on claims, stating that while claims for verified Covid-19 decreased, mortality claims for respiratory disorders remained elevated.

“We received 21 896 claims for the year, 84 claims per working day, and R23.3-million per working day.”

Another factor contributing to the claims was complications during pregnancy, which cost R5.5-million in 2023 alone for C-sections.

Lifestyle disorders

“Pregnancy complications continue to rise, and the most accidental and injury claims paid in 2023 are for clients aged between 26 and 45.

“Severe illness had 51% of claims paid to clients younger than 55 years of age, and of that 51%, 70% are female.


“For disability lump sum, 62% of claims were paid to clients younger than 55, and 70% of that is female, while disability and sickness income claims paid were 67% to clients younger than 55, and 74% are female.” 

Morkel identified a strong trend in younger clients’ needs, emphasising the significance of addressing lifestyle disorders as well as early diagnosis and screening for various illnesses.

“Severe illness and injury cover jumped from R496.9-million in 2022 to R518.3-million in 2023, and income cover moved from R444.9-million in 2022 to R448-million in 2023,” she said.

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