4 Critical reasons for why you should keep reading

Besides - old age, car accident and murder – what would the most likely cause of my death be?

This was the question we asked when deciding on what we wanted from our Critical Illness Cover.

Crack open any comprehensive critical illness policy wording and you’ll find a ton of diseases covered – everything from Parkinson’s to Cerebral Malaria to Blindness.

But if we had to drill down to the 3 most common diseases, what would those be?

It was unanimous…

  • Cancer
  • Heart attack, and
  • Stroke


Instead of trying to cover against every disease under the sun like everyone else, we decided to focus in on the most common. Think about it, if we intended to cover every disease from A to Z, we’d have to charge based on the likelihood of each of them happening.

The conversation could have gone something like this:

“Okay, so you want to add ‘coma’ to the list of critical illnesses. Well that will cost an extra R1 to the benefit.”

Instead the conversation went like this:

“Listen, forget the rest. All we want to offer is cancer, heart attack, and stroke. How much?”

What if our clients agreed with us? They could only afford so much and only wanted the most common diseases insured.

We decided that the Different Life Critical Illness Cover would tackle each of the diseases below from every conceivable angle.

  • Cancer
  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Surgery, and
  • Stroke

This is what we came up with:


  • We decided that any malignant solid tumour, whether it be carcinoma or sarcoma, characterised by uncontrolled growth of the cancer cells qualifies. Borderline solid tumours or those with a low malignant potential are not included under this definition. Prostate and non-melanoma skin cancers are also not included under this definition.
  • Prostate cancer lesions will be paid if:
    • The cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland, or
    • If a prostatectomy has been performed, or
    • If a biopsy was performed confirming a prostate cancer lesion with a Gleason score of 7 or more. This score indicates that the cancer is aggressive and likely to spread.
  • Any cancer of the blood or lymph nodes treated in any of the following ways:
    • Chemotherapy
    • Radiation therapy
    • Bone marrow or stem cell transplant
    • Maintenance biological or targeted therapy

Is there any way we can improve on this? We don’t think so and believe you’re getting your money’s worth here.

Let’s move on to the next risk shall we?


A stroke is where brain tissue dies or loses its function because of a lack of blood supply. Why would there be a lack of blood supply? It could be one of two things happening in the brain:

  • A blockage, or
  • A burst blood vessel

To qualify as a stroke, 30 days after it happens, any of the following must still be present and confirmed by a neurologist.

Loss of:

  • Muscle motor function (a power score of less than 3 out of 5)
  • Speech
  • Sensation
  • Vision or hearing
  • Function of the cerebellum (This has to do with balance and co-ordination)

Besides the above, there could also be a new diagnosis of epilepsy caused by the stroke. The stroke must be visible on a brain scan (CT or MRI scan), and the area affected on the scan must correspond to the loss of brain function indicated in the list above.

Heart Surgery

The definition is very simple:

  • Open heart surgery (where they cut through the breast bone to perform surgery), or
  • Keyhole surgery to bypass the narrowing or blockage of one or more of the heart’s artery using another artery or vein taken from elsewhere in the patient’s body.

Heart Attack

Very much the same as a stroke - the death or loss of heart tissue as a result of a lack of blood supply. Usually caused by a blockage of a blood vessel supplying the heart and can be picked up with:

  • An ECG (electrocardiogram)
  • A scan, or
  • Blood tests showing a leak of heart tissue proteins into the blood stream.

The heart attack must have resulted in all three of the following confirmed by a cardiologist:

  • Symptoms of a heart attack such as chest pain
  • Documented evidence of a heart attack on the ECG done at the time of the heart attack, and
  • Raised blood markers confirming the death of the heart tissue. These markers must be 5 times the value of the recommended WHO (World Health Organisation) cut off level for a heart attack to have occurred.

To recap:

Most of the critical illness claims result from one of the above. We wanted to offer you something which would address the most common risks at an affordable price.

How do we know these diseases are the most common causes of claims?

Quite simple – when shopping around for an insurer to help design our product, we chose the oldest and most trusted name in the business - Old Mutual. They have claim statistics going back over a century.

How do we know our cost is affordable?

Once again quite simple – we asked Old Mutual for guidance. In fact, Old Mutual agreed to underwrite our risk and pay our claims.

So what does this mean for you?

Different Life wants to make a difference. We don’t believe that Old Mutual would partner with us if they didn’t believe in us. And just for the record – we’re not owned by Old Mutual.

We not only want to make a difference in your life, but also in the lives of our fellow South Africans which is why we introduced the Different Donation. This means you can do the right thing for your family and a good thing for your fellow South Africans.

The same with us… We want to not only make a difference in your life; but also in the lives of every South African.

At Different Life we look at Life Different



Posted in Insurance 101 on 10 Aug, 2017