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SA's No 1 Insurance Blog

So you’ve got a few health concerns, nothing to major – high blood pressure or raised cholesterol maybe.  But it’s under control as far as you’re concerned.

You’re thinking of taking out life insurance with one of the direct insurance companies after reading one of our articles. But here’s when you shouldn’t:

Every single article we’ve ever written has been after first phoning for a quotation. This means we have experience with the underwriting process of more than one direct life insurer. And because we sell life insurance, we know how important these questions are.

Take me for example.

My dad was a diabetic with high blood pressure and died from a stroke. So in 2001, I found myself weighing 108 kilograms, and decided to see a specialist. He recommended that I take thyroid medication and something to lower my cholesterol.

I remember going home and making the decision to change my lifestyle without pills. Today I weigh 87 kilograms and feel great; but what do I say when it comes to questions about thyroid and cholesterol? Tell them I have no problem is great, but what happens if I die and they find out about this?

Then there was the long-term relationship which ended. I ended up seeing a psychologist who treated me for light depression. It never helped, and the saying “time heals all wounds” comes to mind. But tell an insurer this and all their red flags go up.

You know those movies where the siren goes off, the red light starts flashing and the submarine commander shouts “dive, dive, dive”?

And then he got to this question…

“Have you ever had any bladder, kidney, or reproductive organ problems?” And suddenly I had a flashback to 1998 when I was booked in for a bladder issue.  For the life of me, I can’t remember what the issue was, but the call centre agents then asks me if it was a colonoscopy, and I hear those sirens going off in the background.

I’m now starting to stutter and sound evasive. How the heck must I remember something from 20 years ago? I’m still alive; I’m healthy, so how bad could it have been?

Are you in a similar position? Then, believe me, traditional life insurance is the way to go.

And if you want to go with the oldest, biggest life insurance company in South Africa, then Old Mutual is your only choice.

So how does Old Mutual GREENLIGHT differ from direct insurance?

Recently I did a quote for someone who had dread disease cover at a direct life insurer. He wanted to know why the direct life insurance cost was so much cheaper than what I quoted.

Now if you don’t know what dread disease cover is; it is a lump sum which pays to you when you are diagnosed and meet the requirements of one of the dread diseases covered.

What are the dread diseases? Well, these are things like:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Cancer

But what you need to know is that there are various layers of cover.

Some products pay out a percentage of your sum insured dependent upon the severity of your condition. A light heart attack might only mean a 25% payout.

More comprehensive products cover a wider range of diseases and pay 100% of the lump sum even if the heart attack is mild.

So, unknowingly, this gentleman was comparing apples with oranges.

But the problem with comprehensive products is that there is little room for error, which is why Old Mutual sends you for medical tests. This is also why traditional products seem more expensive in certain areas.

Neither option is bad – you just need to know that what you’re buying suits your needs.

So what does Old Mutual Greenlight offer you?

First, there’s the backbone of all life insurance – the life cover benefit. This doesn’t mean you can’t buy dread disease cover on its own, but it does allow you to buy the dread disease cover much cheaper. That’s because you can add the dread disease cover as an ‘accelerated benefit’ to the life cover.

Then they offer ‘earnings ability cover’.

This is what we know as disability cover. It protects your ability to earn an income if:

  • you either can’t do your job or
  • Can’t do normal day to day stuff like drive a car, feed, or bath yourself.
  • Or become functionally impaired.

This can either be in the form of a lump sum or a monthly benefit. The lump sum pays out when you’re permanently disabled while the monthly benefit pays out on both permanent as well as temporary disability.

The third is their ‘Lifestyle adjustment cover’.

Under this category falls:

  • Retrenchment
  • Severe illness (The dread diseases mentioned above), and
  • Injury

With retrenchment, they will pay up to 6 month’s worth of income. With severe illness and injury, they pay you a lump sum amount.

Fourth is their ‘future needs cover’.

Three major benefits are on offer here:

  • Imagine for a moment that you’re healthy when you first take out the life insurance, but then something happens, and you’re no longer as healthy? Old Mutual offers you something called future insurability allowing you to increase cover without medicals at a later stage.
  • Or what if you become disabled and can’t pay your monthly contributions any longer? This benefit takes care of that for you.
  • Or what if you’d like to save some money for the future at the same time? This allows you to add a bit extra for that savings goal.

Remember that earlier I said that these benefits are extremely comprehensive? I’ll leave that to one of their advisors to explain that to you, but because of this medical underwriting is required.

So let’s assume there’s a heart problem with high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Old Mutual will possibly send you for an ECG test at their cost. Many people are scared of this sort of stuff but I think it’s great.

Can we help you with anything? Leave your details below and we will be in touch.

Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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