You can still buy life cover during lockdown

By Janice Roberts

You can still buy life cover in the time of coronavirus, even if you can’t do the blood test and medical examination right away.

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) recently announced that the collection of blood samples and medical examinations as part of underwriting for life insurance does not qualify as an essential service and must be avoided. This allows laboratories to focus on critical activities to combat the COVID-19 virus, and lowers the risk of transmission to doctors and medical staff.

While the announcement has been widely welcomed by the life insurance industry, it’s left many consumers unsure about their ability to get life cover and related products during the lockdown, says Stangen Life managing director Marius Botha.

“There are still numerous options available to consumers wanting to buy risk cover during the lockdown period. While we’re working remotely, we continue to sell life cover, and in the cases where a test is required, we simply defer it to after the lockdown period,” said Botha.

How do I buy life cover without a blood test?

Some insurers, like Stangen, don’t require blood tests in their medical underwriting process for a new life cover application,but do HIV finger-prick testing on certain applicants, depending on their risk profile. These products provide cover, as long as the tests are done within 3 months from the date of sale.

Can I buy life cover without an HIV test or medical underwriting?

Stangen and other insurers offer several alternative products, where customers may qualify for a lower amount of life cover without the need for a HIV test or comprehensive medical underwriting questionnaire, depending on their risk profile. “Our Express Life product only requires four basic questions to be answered, for example. If customers choose this option, they can convert their product to a more comprehensive option with higher cover amounts as well as additional benefits such as Salary Protection, Critical Illness, and Disability  at a later stage if they want to,” said Botha.

Do I need to disclose if I have the coronavirus?

The Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA)’s Hennie de Villiers says more than ever, it is of the utmost importance that applicants are completely honest when answering the medical and lifestyle questions in risk cover application forms.

“I would advise consumers applying for risk cover to err on the side of caution. If you are not sure whether information could be considered as material by the life insurer, rather disclose it. Present the life insurer with as much information as you possibly can to assist them to accurately assess the risk as part of the underwriting process,” said De Villiers.

Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: