Old Mutual has announced that it will provide free cover worth R4 billion for South Africa’s 430,000 registered healthcare workers.
In a statement on Wednesday, the insurer said the cover “is neither a product nor a policy and no premiums will be recovered on it.”
“Instead, the cover will be freely accessible to registered healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic who are selflessly working to ensure the wellbeing of impacted South Africans everywhere, every day,” it added.
Cover available until 31 December, 2020
The cover will be available for members of the Healthcare Professionals Council of SA (HPCSA) and SA Nursing Council (SANC) from 1 April to 31 December, 2020.
“[It] includes a R10,000 sum which becomes payable in the event of death of qualifying healthcare workers, and is intended to provide relief to families who may have to deal with the tragic loss of a loved one during this period. The cover has no exclusions, and will include death related to any cause” Old Mutual said.
Old Mutual’s Interim CEO Iain Williamson said the company’s 30,000-strong workforce collectively inspired the decision.
He said, “We’re acutely aware of the critical work being done by all essential services workers across the country as they continue to serve, care and protect our nation during this crisis.”
Staff at Durban hospital test positive
The news comes a day after Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize expressed concern after 66 people, including 48 staff members, tested positive for the virus at St Augustine’s hospital in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) has also called on the Health Department to provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers.
Speaking while receiving a PPE donation from billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe on Tuesday, Mkhize assured the union that the safety of healthcare workers “is of paramount importance.”
“No member of staff will ever be forced or harassed to go and work where they don’t feel they are properly protected,” he said.
Old Mutual also donated an additional R5 million to support national initiatives to procure PPE for essential workers.
“We believe this will go a long way in supporting the other critical essential service workers who continue to serve the public at this time,” Williamson said.