NCD impacts insurance payout

BSP Life has stamped its mark as one of the Pacific’s leading life insurance supplier with a record payout of F$58.6 million (USD28.1 million) in insurance through various benefits to its customers last year. It was the highest payout recorded in the company’s 142-year history.

BSP Life managing director Malakai Naiyaga said on average, the insurance company paid out $1.1m (USD0.5million) a week in 2017. This also brought the leading life and health insurance provider’s total benefit payouts to $155.5m for the past three years.

Of last year’s record payout of US$28.1 million, bulk was for life insurance, totaling US$23.1 million. Balance of USD5million was for medical insurance benefits.

About 3600 policyholders were paid USD18.2million for life insurance living benefits, which included maturities and interim maturity payouts. Death and disability claims paid out were USD1 million higher than the previous year.

The highest number of death payouts was for the age group 50-54 years or 23 per cent of the total claims received.

Naiyaga said nearly half of the total death claims were paid to those in the 40 to 54 age bracket.

“While loved ones cannot be replaced, it helps that beneficiaries of life insurance have some financial security to assist them move forward,” said Naiyaga.

He said they are also seeing a very concerning rise for people needing hospitalisation, specialists care and overseas evacuation below the age of 50 which directly correlates to the rise in non-communicable diseases (NCD) in Fiji.

BSP Life places equal emphasis on the importance of having a life insurance policy with the need to manage health and lifestyles so that the effects of NCD’s can be mitigated.

“Without these benefits these customers would have struggled with their chronic conditions and burdened with a deteriorating quality of life, besides the added financial burden of medical treatment costs,” Naiyaga explained.

The effects of NCD’s are severe an taking its toll on our communities with premature deaths of bread winners.

Medical/health insurance payouts rose by $4.2M (USD2 million) over the last three years, rising from $6.3M (USD3 million) in 2015 to $10.5M (USD5 million) in 2017

The $10.5M was paid throughout the year covering overseas evacuations, local hospitalisation and general outpatient services.

Some of the cost increase is attributed to the rising cost of medical treatment overseas, BSP Health’s increasing number of insureds and the increased need for medical attention.

Naiyaga said they are now seeing a concerning trend that the majority of medical payouts were for insureds in the age group 31 – 40 years.

“Chronic diseases faced by breadwinners place immense pressure on families both financially and emotionally,” he said.

The United Nations Development Programme had estimated that two out of three Pacific islanders who die because of NCD die before the age of 70 and the probability of dying from an NCD between the ages of 30 and 70 represents 75 to 80 per cent of all deaths in the region.

In Fiji alone, according to the National Adviser for NCDs, Dr Isimeli Tukana, a mere 3.2 per cent of Fiji’s population lives beyond 65 years old while 1.6 per cent live over the age of 70.