An alarming number of young women are being diagnosed with cancer. The Times reports that this is if one major life insurer's claims statistics are anything to go by. Among under-40s, twice as many women as men are being diagnosed with cancer, it was revealed by Momentum Life at its 2018 claims statistics media briefing.
Cancer remains the prime cause of claims across age groups, gender and types of cover – life, disability and critical illness, said George Kolbe, head of marketing for Momentum Retail Life.
"There is just one exception in our claims," he said. "In men between the ages of 40 and 60, cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes) has overtaken cancer."
The report says the insurer's unnatural death claims stats reveal that 45% died in car accidents, 24% were suicides (and of those, 93% were men), 15% were murders and 7% were as a result of surgeries.
Based on Momentum's 2018 claim statistics almost 60% of claims, across all benefit types were caused by cancer or cardiovascular diseases, which are often considered as preventable chronic diseases associated with lifestyle choices.
Kolbe highlighted that: “Traditionally, critical illness cover has focused on the four most common critical illness events, namely: cancers, strokes, heart attacks and coronary artery bypass grafts (CABG).”
He said: “Although the ‘big four’ consistently covers about 70% of our total critical illness payouts per year for the last four years, we can see that the percentage of claims that fall outside of the ‘big 4 has increased. These include critical illnesses such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease and can have a similarly detrimental impact on clients’ lives and finances. The breadth of critical illness cover has evolved over time and we continue to provide more comprehensive cover against a growing number of critical illnesses.”
Momentum’s 2018 claim experience indicated that cancer (45%) and cardiovascular related diseases (26%) dominated claim payouts linked to critical illnesses. In fact, the percentage of critical illness payouts for these two categories was 20% higher in 2018, compared to 2017.
During 2018, Momentum paid out 33 child critical illness claims; the most child critical illness claims ever paid along with the highest number of 100% severity pay-outs. For these claims, 44% of child critical illness payouts were for cancer followed by 19% of claim payouts for cardiovascular related diseases.
Kolbe stated that “Suicides were identified as the second greatest cause of unnatural death in Momentum’s 2018 claim statistics.”
Momentum’s 2018 claim experience indicated that 93% of suicide claims were for males. Added to this, more of the suicides related to individuals who were smokers compared to non-smokers.
Kolbe added to this, saying “More of the suicides related to individuals who were not part of Momentum’s wellness and rewards programme, Multiply. Although the 2018 statistics provided a small sample size, it seems to support the notion that individuals who engage in healthier, active lifestyles are less likely to succumb to suicide.”
Momentum’s 2018 claim statistics indicated that women claimed more often in earlier ages, below age 50, but 73% of disability claims by men were made from age 50 onwards.
[link url="https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/consumer-live/2019-05-23-cancer-rising-in-sas-young-women-insurers-data-shows/"]The Times report[/link]