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Johannesburg - Long-term insurance group Liberty paid out R17 million in valid claims each working day last year, with cancer and cardiovascular being the biggest source of claims in the period.

The claims paid out by the company in the year to December grew 13 percent to R4.3 billion.

The company said on Tuesday that R3 billion of the total amount of claims paid out were life protection claims. Lifestyle protection claims amounted to R697 million and loss on income protection claims paid out totalled R522 million.

Liberty head of risk product development, Henk Meintjes, said claims statistics highlighted the need for life protection among South Africans.

“These statistics reveal concerning trends in health and lifestyle risks with cancer and cardiac and cardiovascular conditions being the main sources the importance of insurance protections against debilitating events becomes quite clear,” he said.

Meintjes said the company last year undertook to divide its market segments into four segments which included: young achievers, young parents, established providers and empty nesters.

Read also: Biggest slump in 12 years for Liberty

He said cancer was the main cause for claims across these segments. In the young achievers segment, 15.2 percent of claims were due to the disease while it accounted for 24.4 percent of claims by young parents.

Cancer claims represented 26.6 percent for young parents, while it made up 23.3 percent of claims by empty nesters. Earlier this month, Standard Bank, of which Liberty is a subsidiary, said it had devised a detailed action plan to assist Liberty to recover from its challenges and re-establish in competitiveness in the long term.

Liberty had reported 46.2 percent decline in headline earnings to R2.2 billion, while Standard Bank’s headline earnings attributable to Liberty nosedived 61 percent to R955 million.

BUSINESS REPORT