- Decrease in Overall Claims: Liberty’s 2022 Claims Stats show a decrease of 31% in total claims paid out compared to the previous year, indicating a recovery from the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa.
- Rise in Critical Illness Claims: While overall mortality claims decreased, there was a rise in critical illness claims, reflecting secondary effects of the pandemic where regular health check-ups for other conditions were often overlooked due to the focus on COVID-19.
- Mental Health Concerns: The data highlighted an ongoing trend of claims related to mental health disorders, with an increase in mental illness claims associated with loss of income. This underscores the impact of social and economic factors, in addition to health concerns, on the mental wellbeing of the population.
In a testament to the resilience of South Africans, Liberty’s 2022 Claims Stats reveal a nation confidently rebounding from the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The insurance giant paid out a total of R6.98 billion in claims last year, a decrease of 31% from the R10.12 billion disbursed in 2021. This significant drop in claims reflects the country’s steady recovery and the population’s adaptability in the face of adversity.
While the overall mortality claims saw a decline, there was a noticeable uptick in critical illness claims, which rose from R799 million to R909 million. This increase underscores some of the secondary effects of the pandemic. As South Africans focused on safeguarding themselves against COVID-19, regular health check-ups and screenings for other medical conditions were often sidelined. The long-term implications of this shift in health priorities, particularly in relation to the frequency and severity of critical illness diagnoses, remain uncertain.
Cancer claims continued to be a significant concern, with breast cancer leading among female policyholders and prostate cancer being the most common among males. Cardiovascular diseases and disorders, often associated with lifestyle factors such as weight gain, increased smoking and drinking, and reduced physical activity during the pandemic, were also prevalent.
The data also shed light on the long-term trend of claims related to mental health disorders, underscoring the inextricable link between physical and mental wellbeing. According to the South African Federation for Mental Health, the 2022 Global Health Estimation Report found that South Africa has the third highest suicide rate on the continent, at 23.5 per 100,000 people. Interestingly, Liberty’s claim numbers last year reflected a lower proportion of total claims related to suicide compared to previous years. However, this was counterbalanced by an increase in mental illness claims associated with loss of income.
The economic and social stressors of the pandemic, coupled with ongoing challenges such as prolonged load shedding, escalating food and petrol prices, and a challenging labour market, have undoubtedly exacerbated mental health issues among South Africans.
As the nation moves forward from the worst of the pandemic, Liberty reaffirms its commitment to providing certainty in these uncertain times. The company’s focus remains on ensuring lives are covered, creating a safety net for when the worst happens. This commitment allows South Africans to truly live, secure in the knowledge that their loved ones are adequately protected.
The 2022 Claims Stats serve as a stark reminder of the pandemic’s far-reaching impacts on health and wellbeing. However, they also highlight the resilience and adaptability of South Africans, who continue to bounce back and face the future with confidence, even in the face of adversity. Liberty, as a stalwart in the insurance industry, remains committed to supporting its policyholders through these challenging times, providing a sense of security and certainty amidst the uncertainty.