Getting quality life cover for clients living with diabetes

Martin Rimmer, CEO of Sirago Underwriting Managers
Martin Rimmer, CEO of Sirago Underwriting Managers

Diabetes is a challenging and lifelong condition to manage and impacts on virtually every aspect of daily living. It is also a serious and high-risk condition due to the number of co-morbidities that exist alongside it. It is this complexity and co-morbidity risks that have made getting life insurance cover for people living with diabetes expensive at best, and often unavailable at worst.

Martin Rimmer, CEO of Sirago Underwriting Managers, says that beyond the physical and psychological impacts of living with diabetes, the financial implications are onerous. “People take out life insurance for many reasons – the most common one is to take care of dependants should they pass away. Until now, for people living with diabetes, obtaining quality, affordable life cover – a crucial building block of personal financial security – has been enormously challenging, and in some instances, not possible at all due to the increased risk that such a condition poses to insurers,” explains Rimmer.

Specialised insurance and living benefits

“Consider the implications of someone not being able to protect their family from financial hardship through a life insurance solution in the event of their untimely death. Or even worse, not being able to own their own home as they are unable to cede their life insurance as surety for the bank’s risk in providing a home loan. If they are managing their diabetes reasonably well, they may get cover, however it typically comes at a loading of anywhere between 25-400% on the premium that a person of similar age and lifestyle, without diabetes, could expect to pay. Until now, financial advisors and brokers have faced an uphill battle to secure life insurance for their clients living with diabetes that is both affordable, comprehensive and geared for their circumstances,” adds Rimmer.

It is this dilemma that Sirago hopes to solve with a new ‘Diabetic Life’ insurance product that is singularly focussed on people living with diabetes. Diabetic Life is ground-breaking in that it is the only insurance product that embeds a comprehensive and scientifically proven diabetes management programme into the policy benefits, at no additional cost to the policyholder. Adherence to and participation in the programme is mandatory to keep cover in place, with the objective of helping policyholders improve their diabetes control over the long term and in doing so, maintain market related life-insurance premiums and better cover.

Targeted personal lifestyle coaching

The diabetes management programme includes targeted personal lifestyle coaching, administered and facilitated by Guidepost in South Africa. Guidepost specialises in diabetes management and, through personalised coaching programmes, supports people living with diabetes to progressively master their condition and achieve a better quality of life in the long term. 

Sirago and Guidepost have joined forces for this life-insurance option as we believe that this combination provides both brokers and prospective clients a much better understanding of what diabetes management is and most importantly, an easier route into life insurance for people with diabetes,” says Rimmer.

Why does good control matter?

Most, if not all complications of diabetes are often preventable if blood sugar levels are kept as close to normal as possible – the goal being an HbA1C level below 8%.

“Good control of diabetes can mean the difference between a long, fulfilling, quality life, or one of serious illness and complications. From an insurance and risk perspective, good control and consistency is what insurance underwriters look for, not only at the time of application, but throughout the term of the cover. Until now though, people living with diabetes faced many challenges in how to achieve good control in a manner that impacts their financial planning and costs in a positive manner. Sirago, through Guidepost, are challenging and changing this with transformative personal coaching and clinically proven diabetes self-management education and support. This support covers behavioural, educational, psychosocial and clinical aspects of living with and managing diabetes for optimal health outcomes,” explains Richard Johnson, co-founder and COO of Guidepost. 

Outcomes in diabetes are linked almost entirely to individual behaviours and it’s here where the Guidepost telehealth programme focuses its efforts on helping policyholders to ‘know and do’ by engaging with a dedicated personal coach. In much the same way as working with a personal fitness trainer, the policyholder is trained in self-management skills, using data, over an iterative series of tele-consults. Unique psychosocial and clinical data is also gathered which improves risk visibility so that risks can be proactively addressed. The ultimate goal is to reduce HbA1c levels and achieve the best possible outcomes for the person living with diabetes. This is not only important for their financial security in the context of their insurance and maintaining affordable premiums but also makes a fundamental difference in their quality of life and overall health.

Diabetic Life provides an invaluable solution to getting the best cover for your client, with easier onboarding and underwriting processes. Knowing how conditions such as diabetes are handled by an insurer’s underwriters and dealing with a specialist insurer will give you a competitive advantage in an environment where impaired lives are becoming more commonplace. 

This Product is administered by GENRIC Life (Pty) Ltd an Authorised Financial Services Provider (FSP:50920) and is underwritten by Guardrisk Life Limited a licensed Life Insurer and Authorised Financial Service Provider (FSP:76). Guardrisk Life Limited has partnered with Guidepost, a diabetes management specialist, to provide personalised coaching and clinical assistance on an ongoing basis at no additional cost to the policyholder, for the term of the policy. T’s & C’s apply. For more information go to

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