Independent Online

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Higher premiums for unvaccinated clients on the cards, says Discovery

Healthcare workers at Khayelitsha District Hospital receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Healthcare workers at Khayelitsha District Hospital receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jul 30, 2021


People who are not willing to get the Covid-19 vaccination may have to pay for their decision with higher insurance premiums.

Discovery has issued a statement stating that clients with new policies who indicate that they are unwilling to be vaccinated may, unfortunately, be subject to higher premiums due to the increased risk.

Story continues below Advertisement

The insurance company explains Covid-19 vaccination refusal is treated similarly to smoking or lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, which receive a higher premium. But, this premium may be adjusted should an unvaccinated client later decide to get vaccinated.

This announcement means Discovery has become the first South African insurer to consider Covid-19 vaccination in its underwriting process.

“Covid-19 has touched every facet of our society, and we have received claims from clients of all profiles. However, clear trends have emerged over the last year. These relate to gender, age, lifestyle choices, co-morbidities and occupation, which influence the number and severity of Covid-19 claims,

“Our research reveals that middle-aged clients have the highest relative increase in mortality risk once becoming infected with Covid-19. The relative mortality risk is highest for people in their mid-40s, emphasising that the risks caused by contracting Covid-19 cannot be ignored in any age group,” said CEO of Discovery Life Riaan van Reenen.

Some researchers have argued that people infected with the Delta Covid-19 variants have a 95% lower risk of being hospitalised after having both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, with significant benefits even after a single dose. They also reveal that clients have a 47% lower risk of contracting Covid-19 three weeks after taking their first dose of the Pfizer vaccination.

Van Reenen adds, “Our internal data suggests that an average 75-year-old who is fully vaccinated has a similar risk of dying from Covid-19 to a typical 40-year-old who has not been vaccinated.” He continues to explain: “Vaccinations are also extremely effective in preventing hospitalisations. A recent study showed that even if only 8% of a population does not get fully vaccinated, that 8% is expected to experience more hospitalisations than the other 92%. This follows from the fact that fully vaccinated individuals experience a 94% lower real rate of admission than those who are not vaccinated.”

Story continues below Advertisement

Discovery Life deputy CEO Gareth Friedlander believes vaccinated clients will end up reaping the benefits.

"If a new Discovery Life client is vaccinated against Covid-19, we’ll return this value to them through the Vaccination Max PayBack Offer.

“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.

Story continues below Advertisement

"This is significant as Discovery Life clients can earn PayBacks of up to 100% depending on their chosen policy option”