Discovery reveals top unnatural death claims in SA

The majority of life claims paid out by Discovery Life in 2015 for unnatural deaths were due to car accidents.

Unnatural deaths accounted for 21% of Discovery’s life claims and over 40% of those were related to motor vehicle accidents. This was followed by suicides, crime-related deaths, other accidents, drowning and aircraft-related deaths, according to Discovery’s research into trends.

“We have one of the highest motor vehicle accidents rates in the world,” said Gareth Friedlander, head of research and development at Discovery Life. Trends show that natural deaths were mostly associated with an ageing population, while unnatural deaths were associated with those under 25.

Discovery has tried to curtail car accidents through its Vitalitydrive programme, which incentivises better driving behaviour. Trends show that “better drivers” have fewer and less severe accidents, said Friedlander.

The health and insurance company paid out R2.8bn in claims between January and December 2015. Life cover accounted for over R1.4m of claims. Income Continuation Benefit (ICB) claims for permanent disabilities represented 59% of the total amount paid in ICB claims in 2015.

Cancer takes a heavy toll

Cancer was the most prevalent cause of natural death for those over the age of 40. For claimants over the age of 50, more than half (59%) of the claims related to cancer, heart and artery issues.

Skin cancer claims were mostly prevalent among men between the ages of 30 and 40, and prostate cancer claims become more prolific as men age. Breast cancer claims are prevalent in women across the board, said Friedlander.


Gauteng the cancer capital

Research also showed that inland regions had a 74% higher relative incidence of unnatural deaths compared to the national average. Gauteng had a 9% higher relative incidence of cancer-related deaths compared to the national average.

KwaZulu-Natal had a 35% higher relative incidence of heart-related deaths, which correlates with increased rates of obesity and diabetes in the region, explained Friedlander.

The Western Cape is the healthiest region in the country. A previous study by Discovery Health’s Vitality Wellness Programme showed that Cape Town is the “fittest” city, said Friedlander.

The Cape and inland regions had a 38% lower relative incidence of heart-related deaths compared to the national average.


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Discovery reveals top unnatural death claims in SA