Personal Finance weekly news update
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Sanlam pays out R4.3bn in death, disability claims
In 2019, Sanlam paid out more than 99% of death and disability claims, with total payouts amounting to R4.3 billion. Of this, R397 million was for income protection (disability) cover, R3.2bn for life cover and R406m for injury and trauma-related claims. Sanlam’s 2019 claims statistics show that cardiovascular disease, cancer and accidents remain the leading causes of claims. The insurer predicts a rise in claims for death, funeral, sickness and income protection this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Petrie Marx, product actuary at Sanlam Individual Life, says: “Our 2019 stats show the risks of severe injury or illness unrelated to the coronavirus are real. Many people are underinsured or not insured at all, with the most recent research showing the biggest shortfall in disability cover.”
Free ‘mind my money’ course moved online
Liberty has redesigned its Mind My Money financial education programme, which it initiated in 2016, to address consumers’ financial concerns in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. By signing up to the free, online course on www.mindmymoney.co.za, you can attend the series of live webinars, which started last week, or work through a series of videos and exercises. “Normally, we do the programme face to face, but this obviously isn’t possible during the pandemic. It has forced us – in a good way – to take the next step digitally and make the course even more accessible by placing it online. We hope that this will allow South Africans countrywide to improve their financial literacy, empowering themselves to overcome the financial strain of Covid-19 with the tools and advice we can provide,” said Nomaxabiso Matjila, lead specialist for corporate social investment at Liberty.
Suicide raises concerns about Robinhood’s risks
Concerns have been raised in the US Congress after the suicide of a young man who went $730 000 (about R12.5 million) into the red on the popular stock- and derivatives-trading app Robinhood, reports the US-based Financial Planner website. Following the suicide of 20-year-old investor Alex Kearns, lawmakers pressed the company on how it determined which users can access risky investment strategies, such as options trading. In a suicide note shared on Twitter by his family, Kearns asks why “a 20-year-old with no income” was able to get nearly $1m worth of leverage. “There was no intention to be assigned this much and take this much risk, and I only thought that I was risking the money that I actually owned,” Kearns says, adding he had “no clue” what he was doing. The lawmakers call Kearns’ death “heartbreaking” and “highly alarming”.
AL Baraka clients can deposit cash at tills
Customers of Al Baraka Bank may now make cash deposits of up to R5 000 directly into their transactional accounts using till points in any store of two major supermarket chains. Aasiya Jamal, senior manager of the bank’s electronic and transactional banking division, says agreements with major chains Pick n Pay and Boxer have appreciably expanded Al Baraka Bank’s national footprint, by enabling bank clients to deposit cash at supermarket till points. “Our customers have been able to withdraw cash from their bank accounts via Pick n Pay stores since 2009 and are now able to enjoy the added convenience of a new deposit functionality,” she said.
Lockdown breather for UK car insurers
English insurance website Safe reports that car insurers in the UK saved almost £1.3 billion (about R27bn) on vehicle claims during that country’s Covid-19 lockdown between March 23 and May 31. They paid out 69% less than they normally pay in car accident claims over that period, which coincides neatly with the 69.4% drop in the number of motor vehicle accidents in the UK during the lockdown. There were also 40% fewer road accident deaths over the period and an 82% decrease in vehicle repairs. Greater London and the neighbouring south-east counties saw the biggest drops in claims.