05 Oct 2020

Reassessing risk and insurance priorities in a pandemic

Ingrid Booth

Digital content specialist, Investec

Michael Goemans, Investec Life CEO, speaks to Newzroom Afrika’s Stephen Grootes about how we shouldn’t overestimate the risk of Covid-19 to the detriment of other risks in South Africa.

On over-emphasising the Covid risk

“Whilst we shouldn’t minimise or underplay the risks of the pandemic, particularly if we are older or more vulnerable from an existing medical condition perspective, as South Africans, we’ve just got to be aware that there are lots of other risks out there that we need to ensure that we are sufficiently protected against.

 

“We’ve got to make sure that our risk perceptions don’t become overly skewed by the pandemic and we worry only about Covid-19, potentially to the detriment of other considerations.

 

“Stats SA for example tells us that 400,000 people die every year in South Africa from other natural causes. Which is at least ten times the number of Covid deaths.”

 

On finding a silver lining in the pandemic

“If there’s any silver lining to this pandemic, it’s that maybe we can use it as a catalyst not to take our health for granted and to put actions in place to protect ourselves more widely than just Covid.

 

“Use the pandemic as a trigger to just take stock of ‘are we sufficiently protected?’ Are we managing our lifestyles, our health, our finances more broadly?”

 

On whether insurers are prepared to withstand pandemic claims

“South African insurers do have sufficient reserves and buffers to withstand even more than a one-in-100-year event. Regulations in this country require you to ensure that your business [as an insurer] can withstand a one-in-200-year event.

 

READ MORE: Post-Covid, life insurance can no longer be a grudge buy

Michael Goemans, Investec Life CEO
Michael Goemans, Investec Life CEO

Stats SA for example tells us that 400,000 people die every year in South Africa from other natural causes. Which is at least ten times the number of Covid deaths.

On why health and life insurance is so important

“Often your health is invisible, until it isn’t. It whispers to you until one day it screams and then it can be too late to do something about it. You can’t necessarily cover it if you’ve lost it.”

On the need to simplify insurance

“There’s a big opportunity for insurers to keep things clear and very simple for clients and to help them during their times of need. That’s what consumers of insurance are looking for.

 

“Disability or income protection products that pay you if you can’t work, those should be able to cover very simply both physical and mental illnesses and injuries that could result in the person not being able to work or being severely impaired.”

 

On insurers providing relief for clients

“At the moment, one of the last things you’d want to do is stop your life insurance, in the middle of a pandemic. A lot of the big traditional insurers out there have set aside big provisions for clients potentially not being able to pay their policy premiums in the future. And a lot of them, ourselves included, have offered clients relief to try and help them maintain their policies.”

 

Investec Life Limited is an authorised Financial Services Provider 47702.

About the author

Ingrid Booth image

Ingrid Booth

Lead digital content producer

Ingrid Booth is a consumer magazine journalist who made the successful transition to corporate PR and back into digital publishing. As part of Investec's Brand Centre digital content team, her role entails coordinating and producing multi-media content from across the Group for Investec's publishing platform, Focus.

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