Photo: Itumeleng English

Simply Financial Services (Simply) has introduced a life assurance product for households that want to offer their domestic workers life and disability cover.

The product, called Domestic Cover, is aimed specifically at employers of domestic employees, comprises life, disability and funeral cover.

Statistics SA’s latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey shows that more than 6% of working South Africans are employed as domestic workers, and more people are employed in private households than in the mining and agriculture sectors combined. If the dependants of domestic workers are taken into account, as many as four or five million people are supported by this sector.

Until recently, there haven’t been many life assurance options for the average domestic worker, with most products limited to funeral cover. As a result of the financial challenges many workers face, they often struggle to keep up with the premium payments, so in many cases their cover lapses and isn’t in place when it’s needed. 

Simply says that Domestic Cover can is flexible, with cover able to be customised to a person’s needs and budget. The policies are underwritten by Old Mutual Alternative Risk Transfer, an insurer in the Old Mutual group.

“Simply’s aim is to provide a significant new level of financial security to people in this segment,” says Anthony Miller, the chief executive of Simply Financial Services. “A worker’s dependants are often consigned to poverty in the event of death or disability. Their employers may feel obliged to provide financial assistance in these situations.”

Miller says Domestic Cover delivers “great value”. For example, a 30-year-old woman earning R4 500 a month gets R100 000 life cover, R150 000 disability cover and R15 000 family funeral cover (which covers the insured person, the spouse and up to five children) for R92 a month. 

By putting the responsibility for paying the premium on the employer, the risk of cover being cancelled because of non-payment is greatly reduced, so the cover will be there when it is needed.

If the domestic worker changes employer, he or she can take over the premium payments on the same terms, or ask the new employer to take over the policy, Miller says.

You sign up online. The process “takes less than 10 minutes” and requires you to fill in some personal details and answer three health-related questions.