KZN’s got heart (problems)

LISTEN: KZN’s got heart (problems)

While cancer is what most people are suffering or dying from in all other provinces, in KZN it’s cardiac or cardiovascular events - heart and blood vessels issues, in other words.

Heart stats
Getty Images

Listen to Wendy's on-air segment or read the full story below the podcast. 

And that’s because the Indian population is particularly prone to diabetes, as well as hypertension and high cholesterol, all risk factors for cardiovascular problems.

In fact, 60% of diabetics die from heart attacks.

That was among the stats from last year which financial services provider Liberty revealed at a media briefing in Durban this week. 

The data doesn’t apply to the entire population, but to the 40% who have long term insurance products - mainly life cover, income protection and chronic diseases cover.

ALSO READ: LISTEN: Fancy a little syrup with your honey?

The top two claims among young achievers, said Henk Meintjies‚ head of Liberty’s risk product development, are cancer and retrenchment, the latter because of the last in first out policy, and the former probably due lack of screening, so the cancer, such as cervical and breast cancer, goes undetected.

Overall, breast cancer is the number one claim among women, and prostate cancer among men.

Liberty paid out R4.3bn in claims in 2016 - 13% more than in 2015.

The statistics are both heartbreaking and fascinating. 

In the Northern Cape, where there’s a large farming community, the most prevalent claim among men over the age of 55 is suicide-related, thought to be linked to the extreme drought. 

ALSO READ: Is SA eating clean? Wendy investigates

In the Free State, muscular-skeletal pain was behind most claims - think back pain - and in Gauteng, almost three quarters of claims related to car accidents.

For me the burning question is how many claims did Liberty reject in 2016?

The answer is about 8%, up from 5% in 2015.

And the reason for many a claim rejection is lack of disclosure.

“Non-disclosure includes fraud, where a consumer deliberately does not disclose a medical condition in the hope of getting better premiums or insurance terms, or intentionally withholds information because they expect to claim very soon," Meintjies said. “Of course, there is also innocent non-disclosure, where either the insured person didn’t think medical information was all that relevant, or they just forgot about it.”

So if you got treatment for a back problem before you took out the policy but didn’t make mention of it on your application form, should you then go on to make a back problem-related claim and the assessors find out that you got treated for the same problem before - and they will - your claim will be rejected.

With any insurance policy, full disclosure is key - it’s just not worth withholding anything because it’s almost certain to backfire on you.

It’s the same with short-term insurance - many a parent insures the car in their name, when in fact the regular driver is their young son or daughter. They do that because the premium is a lot lower for a middle-aged person, but that’s because the risk is lower. 

Insurance is all about risk. 

But if the son or daughter has an accident, the insurer will find out who was at the wheel, and who the actual regular driver was, and there would be no pay-out.

So it’s really not worth misrepresenting or withholding key information. 

Show's Stories