Most South Africans are not properly insured for death and illness. Recent studies show that South Africans earning more than R150‚000 a year were the most critically under-insured.
The life assurance shortfall for the 13m earners in SA aged between 15 and 65 is R9.3trn while the gap in disability cover is R14.7trn according to an independent study commissioned by ASISA. Unfortunately, the insurance gap increases steeply as income increases.
The study is conducted every three years and in 2007 found earners were under-insured by about R10trn. In 2010‚ they were under-insured by R18.4trn. The gap is sitting now at R24trn, the only group found to have sufficient cover being the high earners older than 55.
Between 2010 and 2012‚ the South African assurance sector paid out R80.3bn in death cover and R22bn for disabilities.
Household members who lose an income earner to death or disability can be set back generations and this can have a knock-on effect on the economy and serious consequences for the family. Moreover, the study revealed that the better educated the earner‚ the higher their cover‚
If an earner in this income bracket died‚ his household would need to find an additional R10‚000 a month to make up the shortfall. If the earner were disabled‚ the household would have to find another R20‚000 a month to plug the gap‚ or cut household spending by 46%.
The study looked at 13m South Africans aged between 15 and 65 who earn a regular income‚ based on data from Statistics SA.