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South African Insurer to Set Premiums According to Your Choice to Vaccinate against Covid-19

Refusing a Covid-19 vaccine could now drive up your life-insurance premium similar to other risk factors such as smoking, South African financial-services and insurance company Discovery Ltd. said this week, in a move that is likely to be watched closely by other industry players. Discovery Life, the company’s life-insurance division, said the policy was the first of its kind in the country and takes account of the lifesaving benefits of Covid-19 shots and the financial risk that unvaccinated members pose for insurance companies. “Our internal data suggests that an average 75-year-old who is fully vaccinated has a similar risk of dying from Covid-19 to a typical 40-year-old who has not been vaccinated,” Riaan van Reenen, the chief executive of Discovery Life, said. Africa’s most developed economy has been hit hard by the pandemic, recording far more infections and deaths than any other country on the continent. Excess death data collected by the South African Medical Research Council suggest that more than 200,000 of South Africa’s 60 million people have died of Covid-19 since May 2020. As a result, life expectancy for South Africans has dropped by 3½ years to 62 years over the past year, according to the national statistics agency. Discovery Life, which provides life insurance for some 1.1 million people in South Africa, said the new policy would apply immediately but would only affect new clients and not existing members.