Up to R5 Million Cover for high-performing athletes aged 20-60

Matt Trautman

Matt Trautman winning the MiWay Ultra Triathlon Photo: Kevin Sawyer

The business of sports in South Africa continues to thrive, with growing numbers of ‘weekend warriors’ and professional athletes investing time and money into disciplines such as running, road cycling and mountain biking.

Insurer MiWayLife estimated that South Africa has around 200,000 cyclists, 750 000 runners and 15 000 triathletes – and it has developed a bespoke solution catering to needs of these healthy clients. A division of Sanlam, MiWayLife has introduced a unique policy especially for high-performing athletes aged 20-60, with up to R5-million in cover.

“We wanted to revolutionize the space and offer athletes something that was designed for athletes by fellow athletes – as opposed to being done via the traditional product factory,” said Craig Baker, CEO of MiWayLife.

“When you get people spending upwards of R35 000 to compete in a multi-day stage race like the Cape Epic, it makes sense to insure yourself against injury that could see you falling out at the last minute and losing your entrance fee. MiFitLife recognizes the hard work, long hours and sacrifices athletes make to get onto the start line.”

Growing numbers of companies – from fast food chains to banks and investment firms – are investing in sports sponsorships, with the view of gaining more emotional engagement with fans and staff. “What this means for professional athletes is increased pressure to remain healthy so they can perform at a high level. Some are even contracted to deliver podium positions, and an accident can put their livelihood at risk.”

MiFitLife covers most of the South African Long Distance triathlon team, including top triathlete Matt Trautman, whose cover kicked in after a vehicle hit him while training in the Cape Winelands. A complex spinal fusion and lengthy recovery put his hopes of defending his title at the Ironman 70.3 in East London in January, on hold.

Trautman, a professional triathlete since 2014, has had victories around the world. “Despite the rewards this lifestyle offers, you have to factor in the very real risks of our sport. Running and riding on the open road and pushing your body to new limits in training can have consequences that I know all too well,” he said. Trautman has been hit by vehicles on three separate occasions while cycling. Despite a fractured spine, broken clavicle and a fractured ankle, he has been more fortunate than some.

In April, veteran Italian cyclist Michele Scarponi, the 2011 Giro d’Italia champion, was killed in a road accident after being hit by a van while training close to his home.

“For most part of my triathlon career I struggled to find a company who offered what I needed, until MiFitLife was introduced by MiWayLife. Having this cover during 2017, when my most serious injury happened, has been instrumental in a long recovery process.”

Trautman said the relief of the financial burden as a result of missing most of his racing year allowed him to focus on rehabilitation and recovery. “I would highly recommend all athletes, from age group category to professional, take out this cover.”

The qualifying sports for MiFitLife include running, cycling, surfski paddling, swimming, canoeing and multisport (triathlon and duathlon).

Baker said the South African developed product was unique in the world. “The ability to obtain cover of this nature and extent without any medical underwriting or testing is an innovation in itself.”

The product is designed around the key risks facing athletes and addresses accident and illness cover with lump sum payouts, discounted insurance cover on sporting equipment, race fee refunds in the case of injury or illness preventing you from competing and specialized training programmes from MiWayLife coaches. Sms “FIT” to 44738 for an obligation free quote. Terms & Conditions Apply

 

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Three steps to choosing the right insurance adviser

With the hard-hitting winter weather and fires in the Western Cape, and cold temperatures creeping in around the country as winter fully sets in, having adequate insurance cover is essential. Insuring your assets such as your car and property via an insurance adviser can really go a long way in helping you get the right cover for your specific needs. An adviser also helps you to reduce your time and admin, should you need to claim or make any cover adjustments. But how do you go about choosing the right one? Below are some guidelines to follow.

“Often this type of choice will start with a recommendation from a friend or family member, or perhaps you saw or heard an advert. These options can be for a specific adviser or advisory firm,” says Bertus Visser, Chief Executive of Distribution at PSG Insure. “The right first step is actually to select the right advisory firm, and then the right adviser who is based there.”

1 – Play detective

Once you have found a few options of firms to consider, look at their various websites for a full view of the offering available. Investigate further by viewing their social media feeds and searching for them online – determining if there are any public complaints posted about them, or any FAIS Ombudsman issues hanging in the balance. “You really need to get a sense of who they are, how they are perceived and how they operate,” Visser says.

Once you have narrowed this down further, you can look at the various advisers who work at your preferred advisory firm. Considerations that might help you choose would be looking at their track records and qualifications. “If you are not just looking to insure your personal property – perhaps you are also a business owner – you will have more specialised insurance requirements, and you will need an adviser who is equipped and experienced to assist,” he adds.

2 – The full picture

Ideally, your adviser will be supported by administrative staff and other advisers. This gives you peace of mind should he or she be unable to assist you for whatever reason. A well-run office ensures your claims will be dealt with efficiently.

“You are fully within your rights to ask an adviser about his or her office setup and even request to meet other key members of the firm. You can even ask for referrals given by other clients. Think of it as a job interview – you are employing an adviser who needs to be the right fit,” Visser says.

3 – Finding the one

It is very important that you feel comfortable with your choice. You are looking for a positive, productive, long-term working relationship, and should expect your adviser to be honest and straight-forward, fully disclosing all details about any insurance products or processes to you. Your adviser should be accessible to you and always look out for your best interests.
He or she will be able to help you ascertain adequate contents cover, for example, or advise you on what maintenance is needed at home or your office to comply with your insurance cover. With enough groundwork, finding the right insurance adviser is a worthwhile process to keep you covered,” Visser concludes.

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In the dark about disability insurance?

Consumers who have little or no disability cover in place could face financial difficulties in the unfortunate event of disabilities that often result from accidents or illnesses such as diabetes, heart attacks, depression, mental health, stroke, cancer and back pain, amongst others.

Approximately 30% of FNB Life customers have some form of disability cover. However, only about 3.5% have cover that would be sufficient to cater for their financial needs if they were disabled.

Lee Bromfield, CEO of FNB Life, says most people who take out life cover mistakenly view disability insurance as an additional and unnecessary grudge purchase, until something tragic happens to them.

Moreover, if you have a particular disorder that runs through your family and could potentially lead to some form of disability; it is all the more reason why you need this type of cover.

“Although life insurance ensures that your loved ones are taken care of financially in the event that you pass away, you also need to consider what will happen if you become disabled and have no income to take care of yourself and those who are financially dependent on you,” explains Bromfield.

Bromfield says the reason why consumers get it so wrong when it comes to disability cover is not being informed enough to realise the significant impact.

For example, if you suddenly have a stroke, are permanently disabled and can no longer work or take care of yourself, you may find yourself financially stranded. Even if you do have cover through your employer it may not be enough.

Alternatively, if you were to experience back problems and couldn’t work for a period of six months or more you may need income to cater for the financial shortfall.

He says a common misconception held by consumers is that disabilities are usually work related and would normally be covered through the Workers Compensation Fund set up by the government. The danger with this notion is that many disabilities can occur outside of work leaving you and your family uninsured.

“When considering the future wellbeing of your loved ones, it is important to strike the correct balance between life and disability cover, and the amount of cover needed depending on your individual needs.

Taking out disability cover should not be seen as a tick box exercise,” concludes Bromfield.

FNB Life offers death, disability and critical illness cover, up to R100 million, R50 million and R5 million respectively.

What happens when you pass without a Will?

When a person passes on without a Will, they forfeit the privilege of deciding what should happen to their estate and the estate gets allocated in terms of pre-determined legislated guidelines, known as Intestate Succession. In other words, that person has no say in how the estate should be apportioned.

Vijay Morarjee, CEO of FNB Fiduciary, says “Having a Will in place should from part of broader legacy and financial planning, with specific focus on the estate planning piece. Evidently, this is a subject most people avoid because it involves death. However, not having a Will can be traumatic on the family; in some instances quite expensive. A worrying indicator is that a large number of South Africans pass on without a Will in place; this means they have no say on their estate. If a person dies without a Will, prescribed rules take over and operate through a set of legal guidelines on the deceased’s behalf as to how the estate will be divided” says Morarjee.

As mentioned, the rules of Intestate Succession come into effect in cases where a will was not left to guide the distribution of the estate.

Here are a few of the scenarios that could unfold:

  • If the deceased is married in community of property, the deceased’s spouse will receive half of the joint estate plus R250,000 or a child’s portion, whichever is greater. The child’s portion is calculated by dividing the remainder of the estate by the number of children and the number of spouses.
  • In the event that there is no surviving spouse, the estate is divided between the children of the deceased. If one of the deceased’s children predeceased him/her, then the children of the pre-deceased’s child (the deceased’s grandchildren) will inherit that child’s portion.
  • In the event that the deceased passes away in the absence of a spouse or children, the estate is divided equally between the parents of the deceased.

In all scenarios mentioned above, the Master of the High Court will nominate a person to administer the estate. Being an executor is an extremely important function and one may only hand pick their executor if a valid Will exists.

In addition, and in the absence of clear directives that can only be made in a Will, all inheritances for minors (person below the age of 18) will be placed in the Guardian Fund. The Guardians fund is administered by the Master of the High Court. Funds may only be accessed by the minor for specific limited purposes and the Master has implemented stringent requirements and processes in this regard to prevent abuse and fraud.

“It’s important to get expert advice when formulating a Will as there are various legal implications if the estate is not planned, provided for, and executed properly. At FNB Fiduciary we understand that a Will is probably the most important document you will ever sign and that if properly crafted, it ensures that the assets are divided according to the wishes of the deceased; thereby fulfilling the aspirations that were cherished for the next generation.” adds Morarjee.

Do you have adequate insurance cover?

What are the most important insurance products that people should have?

It is important that consumers understand that different types of insurance are designed to protect different aspects of their assets and their life. There are a number of products that should be considered, but they are all dependent on the individual and their financial situation. There is short term insurance which ranges from cover for your car, home, home contents and business insurance; which is only a requirement if the individual has any of these assets.

Then there is long term insurance that provides cover for an individual for a range of risks such as illness, injury, disability and death. Each play a vital role in managing your financial future and ensuring that you and/or your family are covered for unforeseen circumstances.

As South Africa’s number 1 direct life insurer, 1Life unpacks the importance and different types of long term insurance products and the importance of each in isolation, it is important however that individuals understand that these different types of policies should not be seen in isolation, and most likely a combination of products are needed.

Funeral cover

A funeral plan is an insurance policy that will pay out a selected amount of money, as a lump sum, to policyholders nominated beneficiary/beneficiaries. Funeral policies should allow an individual to cover a number of family members on one policy. All of whom that are covered on this policy would be referred to as lives assured and covered for a certain lump sum amount. This amount is payable in the event of the death of any of the assured lives that are covered on/by the policy.

Funeral policies cover options range from R5 000 up to R100 000 (dependent on the insurer) and are there to assist you and/or your family in the event of a death, to have the funds available any cost associated with the death such as repatriation and funeral arrangements.

Life insurance

Life insurance is very similar to funeral cover, however it only allows one individual to be covered on this policy and serves a longer term financial purpose to the nominated beneficiaries – to replace the loss of the life assured’s income as a result of death. Whilst funeral cover should cover the funeral costs, life insurance is for future financial stability. Cover options range from R200 000 up to R10 Million (dependent on insurer) and this lump sum pay-out can be utilised to settle existing debt such as a car, home, credit card debt etc. as well as replace the income of the policyholder so that the beneficiaries are able to pay for things such as education, groceries and other financial assets. Beneficiaries can also use this money to pay off loans and estate duties in the event of death.

Dread disease cover

Dread disease cover is also a lump sum amount that pays out in the event that the life assured is impacted or diagnosed with a dread disease (also known as critical illness cover). This policy is designed to help with costs associated with a serious illness, it can be utilised to cover any additional costs that medical aid doesn’t cover. It can also assist the individual in the recovery process and adapt to any lifestyle changes that may occur due to this illness. For example, if a person is unable to work whilst they are faced with a dread disease, this cover provides financial peace of mind at this time so that a person’s financial commitments can still be met.

There are also specific dread disease policies that offer more benefits and services to assist more holistically with life if impacted by a life threatening illness, such as a transport service to and from cancer treatments, emergency and medical assistance, as well as psychiatric consultations in the event of a traumatic incident suffered by you or your family.

Disability Cover

Disability cover should be considered from a young age to ensure that one can protect their lifestyle once they start earning an income, which may include the payment of a lump sum or monthly payments in the event of a disability. A disability can be temporary or permanent and caused by a number of reasons, namely an injury or illness. This cover is important to ensure that if a person is faced with a disability they will have funds available to cover any lifestyle changes (for example – enhancements needed to be made to a vehicle or house to accommodate for a wheel chair) and keep someone earning an income if they are unable to work due to this disability.

A good insurance product should offer features such as; immediate cover for accidental disablement, no requirement for medical check-ups and no premium increases for a designated period. While the specifics of these benefits and the cover from insurers may vary, choosing an insurer you trust is a critical consideration when it comes to protecting yourself and your family from life’s complications – such as a disability.

How does a person’s insurance needs change throughout their life?

Life is dynamic, and constantly changing. At one moment you find yourself kick starting a new career, and the next, you are walking down the aisle ready to start life as a newlywed. During these changes it’s important that your insurance keeps up – as each life chapter brings a different set of financial needs and challenges that are different from the previous stage.

Consumers often make the mistake of assuming that they don’t have to review their insurance needs, as their life changes – which is a dangerous misconception. This assumption can have numerous negative financial effects on you and your family in the long term, should you suddenly no longer be around to take care of them, or are unable to earn an income due to illness or injury.

To try and keep it brief, if you have assets, debt or any person is reliant on you and your income. You need to evaluate your insurance and ensure that you have planned for every unpredictable scenario to ensure you or your family will be financially secure in these events. Like getting married, buying a home, having children, planning for retirement, starting a business, a change in career or a change in financial situation. It’s important to seek financial advice every 2 years, or as these changes happen to ensure the correct amount of cover.

There are various ‘life triggers’ that will cause you to re-evaluate the state of whether you are adequately insured or not.

What are the primary areas that a person should focus on when reassessing their insurance each year? (i.e. premiums, the cover offered etc.)

One of the most important considerations is ensuring that a person is able to afford their monthly premiums, because if payments are missed or a policy is cancelled due to affordability. This will mean you are no longer covered and will have certain waiting periods applicable if you take out the policy again.

As mentioned in point 2 however, there are some significant life changes which should trigger a person to review their insurance.

Below are a few examples:

  1. Change in income: Life insurance is essentially there to replace your income if you pass away, so if your salary has increased since you took out your policy, then your spending habits have probably changed too and you need to re-evaluate your life insurance policy to ensure the benefits and amount of cover will keep your loved ones financially stable. These include paying off debts, providing a replacement for income and ensuring your family has what they need to maintain their current lifestyle in the future, if you are no longer around. On the other hand, if you have experienced a drop in income recently, then you can save money by reviewing your life insurance cover and identify ways in which you can optimise it, in line with your changing budget.
  2. Your family has grown: If you are expecting a child, you will soon begin to feel enormous pressure to provide for him/her. It’s extremely important to sit down and ask tough questions like, “what happens if I die and my spouse is left to take care of the children, alongside a bond repayment?”, “who will provide for my children should I no longer be around?” If your children are older, you are probably wondering more about university fees. With these thoughts in mind, you may need to review your insurance policies so that should something happen to you, your children will be financially protected.
  3. Your housing status changed: Once you own property, it is important that you insure the physical property and assets against damage. However, that is not the only insurance you need. When purchasing a house through the bank, many of them insist on life insurance when you apply for a loan, as a means to protect their investment in you. This life cover also ensures that your family is not left with the burden of paying a home loan they can’t afford – should anything happen to you. If you share your home with anyone who relies on your income to help pay the bond, you will need life insurance that specifies that person as a beneficiary, so he or she won’t lose the house if you pass away unexpectedly.
  4. You’re a newlywed or divorcee: Once you get married, your combined income replacement needs may also change. For example, if you each owned a home with a loan while you were single, after marriage you may choose to sell one or both of the houses to purchase a new house that may be more expensive, but with your new dual income, is possible to afford. That leaves you with more debt to pay off and, should one of you no longer be around, your salary alone won’t be sufficient to keep repaying the bond, which will need to be factored into a policy. If you are divorced, you may not have the big house and debts that need to be taken care of, or you may wish to change the beneficiaries of your policies.
  5. Your beneficiaries may have changed: In the event you are no longer around, and your life insurer needs to pay out your life insurance amount to your nominated beneficiary, your insurer will need to have your beneficiary’s most up to date details. As such, it’s important to ensure that your insurance policy reflects the details of the person that you would like to receive the pay-out – ensuring the right person gets what is rightfully theirs.
  6. How should a person approach their insurance company if they want to renegotiate their premiums? It’s important that you treat your relationship with your long–term insurance company as you would treat your other relationships – as this too requires an open line of communication in order to ensure that you are getting the best out of it.

Your life insurance premiums are not cast in stone, and if you feel that you have made any lifestyle changes that may affect your monthly premiums, get in touch with your long term insurance provider directly and discuss these changes in detail so that they can redefine your needs through a calculated needs analysis and define what you need vs what you currently have. Based on this, they can give you a good idea of the minimum cover you can have for your specific budget – while not compromising your financial security.

However, the amount you pay is completely up to you, it is merely the policy benefit amount that changes if you reduce your premiums.

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Medical aids will cover medical care but are not likely to cover frail care costs

Immediate hospital care is often needed following surgery or a major medical incident such as a heart attack or a stroke. But at some point, the patient could be forced to leave the hospital.

The main reason is the cost. Charges can be staggeringly high – with the most expensive type of care being in an intensive care unit. This comes in at R13 000 to R15 000 per day. Even an extended stay in a general ward will amount to quite a bit.

“Depending on the type of medical aid plan in place, a medical aid will cover the bulk of the costs. But it will stop paying once doctors’ reports about the patient indicate that a lesser level of care is needed,” says Elize Porter, Managing Director of Unique Health, which offers a range of services in the health care industry.

So where do patients then go for assistance until they are fully recovered?

The patient’s family may have to take care of them at home or find an alternative way of providing care. Staying with family can be very comforting, but it may be impractical and place the family under pressure. If the family members work, they may need to take leave, and residential homes may need to be fitted with specialist care equipment like grab bars and bath seats.

“Step-down facilities may be the best solution in many cases,” says Arthur Case, Chief Executive Officer of the Evergreen Group, which develops lifestyle village accommodation for the retired community.

“A facility of this sort provides nursing services for people whose condition requires a lower level of care than a hospital provides. This type of care centre may be a stand-alone facility, linked to a hospital, or situated within a retirement home environment, such as at the new Evergreen Lifestyle Care Centre in Muizenberg, Cape Town.”

It’s got the backing of Porter, who emphasises the cost factor with this type of facility. “Whereas hospital care at the most basic level starts at about R2 500 per day, the costs of step-down care are a lot less, generally in the region of about R1 000 or less per day. In many instances, a patient’s medical aid will pay for a stipulated number of days in this kind of care facility because the cost is so much lower than full hospital care.

“During one’s stay in such a facility, the patient will be provided with medical practitioners needed for the particular condition. But once the particular goal of the care has been achieved, the medical aid will withdraw the funding since it will have met its obligation in terms of providing medical care.”

There is another option, though. “Because of the affordability of this type of care, we sometimes see patients choosing to extend their stay beyond what their medical aid will cover and paying for the additional days themselves,” says Case, referring to one patient’s experience at the step-down facility in Evergreen’s Muizenberg village.

It’s also important to make a distinction between medical care, such as that offered in a step-down facility, and frail care.

According to Porter, “Medical aids will cover medical care but are not likely to cover frail care costs. Sometimes a person is given medical care after the occurrence of a particular health issue, but if it becomes clear that the individual’s health has deteriorated permanently as a result of the medical problem and that the person will no longer be able to look after him- or herself, then this becomes a situation in which frail care or assisted living is needed. Medical aids do not cover these type of costs.”

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Source: Care options following a hospital stay

Funeral Policy Questions to ask

The last thing you should worry about when grieving the loss of a loved one is reading up on the terms and conditions of your funeral policy to try and understand the circumstances that would have led to your claim being delayed.

“Asking your insurer the right questions upfront can give you peace of mind knowing that you can effortlessly claim when you need cover the most,” says Lee Bromfield, CEO of FNB Life.

Many consumers only place emphasis on the cost of their monthly premiums and the lump sums that will be paid out in the event of death, and mistakenly ignore important detail in their policies.

Bromfield advises consumers to ask these important questions when taking up cover:

  • Who qualifies as a nominated beneficiary – it has to be an individual who is 18 years or older and cannot be a company, business, charity or trust. Some insurers may also require the beneficiary to be a spouse or family member.
  • What if the nominated beneficiary passes away – it will be important to update your policy immediately and nominate a new beneficiary. If the nominated beneficiary is no longer around or has passed away, the benefits would be paid into your estate.
  • Does the policy have a waiting period – there’s often no waiting period for accidental death. However, for natural death and suicide, the waiting period for most insurers is 6 and 24 months, respectively.
  • Can I add my new born child to the policy – newborn children should be added three months before their birth in order to be covered immediately. Alternatively, the normal six month waiting period will apply.
  • What if I skip a payment due to financial distress – your insurer will collect a double premium the following month. If collection fails for the second time, the policy will lapse.
  • How do I claim – some insurers require the claimant to submit a certified claim form, notice of death form, death certificate and a copy of their ID.

“Following the submission of a notice of death form, FNB Life obtains or verifies death certificates through the National Population Register from the Department of Home Affairs and this improves the speed at which beneficiaries are paid out for valid funeral insurance claims,” says Bromfield.

· Will my policy lapse if I pass away – if a spouse was insured under the same plan they will be given an option to continue with the policy as the new principal member.

“Although getting funeral cover is essential to safeguard you against unforeseen burial expenses, it is equally important to carefully read, understand and seek clarity about your policy from your insurer to avoid unpleasant surprises in the unfortunate event of death,” concludes Bromfield.

Questions to ask when taking out a funeral policy

The last thing you should worry about when grieving the loss of a loved one is reading up on the terms and conditions of your funeral policy to try and understand the circumstances that would have led to your claim being delayed.

“Asking your insurer the right questions upfront can give you peace of mind knowing that you can effortlessly claim when you need cover the most,” says Lee Bromfield, CEO of FNB Life.

Many consumers only place emphasis on the cost of their monthly premiums and the lump sums that will be paid out in the event of death, and mistakenly ignore important detail in their policies.

Bromfield advises consumers to ask these important questions when taking up cover:

  • Who qualifies as a nominated beneficiary – it has to be an individual who is 18 years or older and cannot be a company, business, charity or trust. Some insurers may also require the beneficiary to be a spouse or family member.
  • What if the nominated beneficiary passes away – it will be important to update your policy immediately and nominate a new beneficiary. If the nominated beneficiary is no longer around or has passed away, the benefits would be paid into your estate.
  • Does the policy have a waiting period – there’s often no waiting period for accidental death. However, for natural death and suicide, the waiting period for most insurers is 6 and 24 months, respectively.
  • Can I add my new born child to the policy – newborn children should be added three months before their birth in order to be covered immediately. Alternatively, the normal six month waiting period will apply.
  • What if I skip a payment due to financial distress – your insurer will collect a double premium the following month. If collection fails for the second time, the policy will lapse.
  • How do I claim – some insurers require the claimant to submit a certified claim form, notice of death form, death certificate and a copy of their ID. Following the submission of a notice of death form, FNB Life obtains or verifies death certificates through the National Population Register from the Department of Home Affairs and this improves the speed at which beneficiaries are paid out for valid funeral insurance claims,” says Bromfield.
  • Will my policy lapse if I pass away – if a spouse was insured under the same plan they will be given an option to continue with the policy as the new principal member.

“Although getting funeral cover is essential to safeguard you against unforeseen burial expenses, it is equally important to carefully read, understand and seek clarity about your policy from your insurer to avoid unpleasant surprises in the unfortunate event of death,” concludes Bromfield.