Mortality rates obtained by 1Life indicate that there has been a 233% increase in deaths between July and September this year, compared to last, with a massive increase in respiratory-related deaths.
“Covid has taken its toll on South Africans – as it has the world over – and it is clear from the stats that people’s health, whether Covid related or not, has been compromised,” says Laurence Hillman, CEO at 1Life.
“With such a large increase in deaths, we are concerned about the state of health in the country where our previous research already indicated an increase in breast cancer deaths over this time. Together, these stats indicate that people are likely not getting treated for chronic illnesses or terminal disease, or rather, they are not going for regular check-ups. As we face a possible second wave in the coming months, it becomes crucial that we educate consumers around the importance of maintaining their regular health check-ups and not be afraid to go to their GP or specialist when they need to – or risk major health complications.”
Furthermore, the research also indicated that, of these deaths, less than 1% were smokers and the average BMI of this sample was 22 – well within the acceptable range for a healthy individual.
“These stats indicate that consumers shouldn’t take a ‘wait and see’ approach. Even those that are healthy need to plan around potential illness and ensure that they are taking active steps to live a healthier lifestyle, such as going for a short walk each day, getting enough sleep and eating well – coupled with regular check-ups, especially those with chronic or terminal illness,” says Hillman.
Research has shown that making simple changes in one’s lifestyle can lead to large health gains but similarly, the future is unpredictable and planning for the unforeseen is just as critical.
“Death and taxes are two of life’s certainties and so, while we can and should live healthier lives, one still needs to consider the importance of protecting your family’s financial future – should you no longer be around,” continues Hillman. “Life, dread and funeral insurance are critical considerations to your long-term financial planning – you never know when it’s your time and so, while no one likes to think about these things – it is important to keep this as part of your financial consideration set.”
In South Africa, research conducted earlier this quarter indicated that 12% more women have life cover than men, with only 4% of consumers sampled having dread disease cover.
“Information like this shines a light on not only where the financial responsibility sits, but importantly, where the lack of financial cover is and what consumers should be considering from a financial planning perspective. There is talk of a resurgence of Covid in South Africa and while we certainly hope this doesn’t happen, the reality is that it may and the numbers we have presented speak for themselves. Consumers should consider their wellbeing now by getting their health – as well as their financial planning – in order as while we can’t always prevent the inevitable, we can plan for it,” concludes Hillman.