New Discovery Life clients who opt against taking a COVID-19 vaccine may pay higher premiums for life insurance, the company revealed on Thursday (29 July).
In a statement, the insurer said such clients will be considered higher risk, similar to those with lifestyle diseases.
“Clients with new polices who indicate that they are unwilling to be vaccinated may, unfortunately, be subject to higher premiums due to the increased risk,” the group said.
“Refusal to be vaccinated is treated similarly to smoking or lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, which receive a higher premium. This premium may be adjusted should an unvaccinated client later decide to get vaccinated.”
There is widespread acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines in South Africa as the rollout gathers pace, but vaccine hesitancy still lingers in some sections of society.
Discovery Life CEO Riaan van Reenen said according to trends from claims received over the past year, COVID-19 “adds significant risk to the health of life insurance clients across all age groups.”
Mortality rates were similarly higher for clients who tested positive for COVID-19 compared to the general population, van Reenen explained.
He added, “Vaccinations are also extremely effective in preventing hospitalisations. A recent study showed that even if only 8 percent of a population does not get fully vaccinated, that 8 percent is expected to experience more hospitalisations than the other 92 percent.
“This follows from the fact that fully vaccinated individuals experience a 94 percent lower real rate of admission than those who are not vaccinated.”
Discovery Life COVID-19 vaccine PayBack
Discovery Life will therefore offer new vaccinated clients their “maximum possible PayBack” during their first year of their new policy.
“If a new Discovery Life client is vaccinated against COVID-19, we’ll return this value to them through the Vaccination Max PayBack Offer,” Deputy CEO Gareth Friedlander explained.
“This offer provides clients who are vaccinated, and who qualify for PayBacks, the maximum PayBack percentage available to them for the first year of their policy. This is significant as Discovery Life clients can earn PayBacks of up to 100 percent depending on their chosen policy options.”