Mental health insights from claims data


As the world begins to put COVID-19’s high mortality claims behind it, the insurance industry is battling a wave of uncertainty.

While we paid a total of R1.94 billion in death and disability claims between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023, the group affirmed that it’s been very complicated to predict claims during the period. In particular, there’s been an unpredictable shift in conditions currently driving death and disability.

Death claims

Although the claims data indicates that natural deaths have decreased slightly during the year in review, the overall findings reveal an overall increase in total deaths compared to pre-pandemic levels. The increase in total deaths is driven by a rise in unnatural deaths.

The claims data for the 2023 year highlights that unnatural deaths are 20% above the levels which were recorded for unnatural deaths during the 2020 financial year. This is a persistent trend since the start of COVID-19.

Even more concerning is that suicide-related deaths have increased by 54% compared to pre-Covid levels, with the biggest increases coming from members who are under the age of 40.

The data team specifically notes that suicide statistics in the under 30s age group have skyrocketed, but there was also a significant increase in the 30 to 40-year-old age group. This could be because people in the middle-age bands are the ones facing the most economic pressure with the rising interest rates and inflation putting pressure on their bond repayments, other debt, and family financial commitments.

Stress impact

There is no doubt that, for young- to middle-aged adults, the external stressors of work, family, parenting and just navigating daily life, are significant.

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Guy Chennells | Head of Product | Employee Benefits | Discovery | mail me |

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Read the full article by Guy Chennells, Head of Product Employee Benefits, Discovery, as well as a host of other topical management articles written by professionals, consultants and academics in the February/March 2024 edition of BusinessBrief.

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