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Old Mutual adds HIV to life plan

Mon, 21 October 2013 04:05
by Truly Xamises

Old Mutual Namibia (OMN) has launched an enhancement to the existing GREENLIGHT policy and LIFE PLAN to offer benefits for HIV-positive individuals.
According to the retail mass executive, Martha Murorua, HIV/Aids has been identified as an immediate life threatening condition for a very long time. However, the success of the anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy and an improved understanding of this condition has led OMN to view HIV/Aids in exactly the same light as it does any other managed chronic condition.
“HIV-positive individuals have the same financial needs as everyone else. They need to financially provide for their families upon death and to protect themselves against the possibility of becoming disabled or severely ill,” she says.
Murorua adds the needs of OMN customers are the influential factors behind launching this life plan offer.
She also stresses previously, the industry did not have sufficient statistics to offer cover to HIV-positive customers or price the products realistically. Fortunately, research published over the past few years show HIV-positive people who consistently use ARV treatment appropriately have improved their life expectancies.
To this end, Murorua says HIV/Aids is now largely regarded as a manageable chronic condition like diabetes. 
“There is also a wide-scale of ARV treatment programmes in the public domain and the private health sector, which allow HIV-positive people to access affordable healthcare and live long and productive lives,” she asserts.
Furthermore, she states that, applicants do not need to go through medical examinations for the Life Plan range, which consists of the Pure Life Plan, Life & Disability Plan and Accidental Death & Disability Plan. However, one needs to answer up-front medical questions to qualify for the Life Plan range.
Murorua also says HIV-positive people are considered for the Life Plan range based on the up-front medical questions.
There are no minimum salary requirements for the Life Plan range, though. Premiums start from N$65 per month. Minimum starting age is 16 years while maximum age is 60 years old.
The Life Plan range is a policy-holder only policy. Meaning, one cannot take out a life plan for someone else.
Minimum life cover provided for in the Life Plan range is N$50 000 while maximum cover is N$500 000.
“It’s very important for customers to be truthful about their health statuses, or the claim may not be paid,” she concludes.
Retail affluent executive, Riaan Swiegelaar says upon application for GREENLIGHT, each customer will be assessed individually by taking their personal medical history and financial situation into account.
“Depending on one’s medical and family history, a short medical exam or a more extensive one will need to be performed by a nurse or one’s personal doctor.” According to him, applicants of the GREENLIGHT benefit will need to be medically assessed using a blood test, which screens for glucose, cholesterol, Gamma GT and HIV.
Also, OMN will consider coverage for a wide range of death, disability and severe illness benefits with GREENLIGHT for which Swiegelaar says customers with pre-existing conditions or illnesses may qualify for GREENLIGHT.
“There are no specific criteria to apply for the GREENLIGHT cover; everyone is welcome to apply but for certain benefits one may wish to sign for, minimum and maximum age limits or occupation requirements may apply,” adds Swiegelaar, also highlighting this does not mean customers can automatically be covered if they are HIV-positive, because they could either be very sick with HIV/Aids or have other illnesses that result in the cover being declined.
“In the case where a customer contracts HIV after purchasing a Life Plan or a GREENLIGHT policy and then dies, Old Mutual Namibia will pay the claim assuming there were no other health issues they did not mention at the sale stage. That is what the life insurance product is there for,” he explains, adding, should customers be able to verify their HIV information with the doctor/clinic at the point of sale, there would be no extra checks. If not, Old Mutual will need to check the HIV information at claims stage to make sure the customer gave the correct information at the time of sale.