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Illness – the leading cause of death in SA, says Liberty

Illness is the leading cause of death according to claims received by leading insurer Liberty Life in 2010.

Within this category, cancer accounts for the most death claims at 23%, followed by cardiovascular disease at 18% and renal and respiratory at 4% each.

“In 2010 Liberty paid out R2.57 billion in claims,” says Nicholas van Der Nest, Divisional Director of Risk Products at Liberty Retail SA. “Death claims contributed most to our claims paid in 2010, with a total claim value of R1.98 billion.”

The number of motor vehicle accident claims has increased from 2009 to 2010, with 22% of death claims being motor vehicle accident-related (nearly as much as cancer) in 2010. According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), over the Easter weekend alone 151 people died and recent figures from the Department of Transport indicated 1000 people die on SA roads every month.

Of concern is that suicide is becoming a growing cause of death, with 6% of death claims relating to suicide according to Liberty. “This can potentially be attributed to the tough economic situation in South Africa during 2010,” says van der Nest. “Statistics released by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group revealed that a suicide occurs every 40 seconds and an attempt is made every 3 seconds. In South Africa the average suicide rate is 17.2 per 100 000 (8% of all deaths). Economic crises, political uncertainty we are in times of insecurity which are often accompanied by people looking for an out, rather than help.”

The insurer also paid out a further R281.2 million in dread disease claims and R41.4 million in income disability claims in 2010.

Liberty Life was the first insurance company to publish claims figures. “We publish our claims figures to be transparent and demonstrate our commitment to treating customers fairly by paying all valid claims,” says van der Nest.

“Consumers should be with an insurer with a sound record and a solid history of paying out when you need it most.”

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