Joretha Bothma, Head of Product Development, Underwriting and Claims, at Momentum Life Insurance
The modern South African woman is a true embodiment of versatility and resilience, and in the dynamic environment of today they often excel in their professions, manage their households, and act as pillars of support for their families and communities.
According to statistics from Unisa, around 38% of households in South Africa are headed by women, making their financial security crucial for the country’s overall economic success.
Joretha Bothma, Head of Product Development, Underwriting and Claims, at Momentum Life Insurance agrees that balancing various responsibilities can be demanding, but that this also empowers women to take charge of their financial success. She emphasises the importance of financial literacy and encourages women to gain financial knowledge, including of budgeting and investing, and insight into planning for the future. By taking ownership of their finances women can make informed decisions that align with their long-term goals.
Studies conducted by the United Nations have shown that women who are economically empowered invest more in their families and communities, leading to a positive ripple effect. To achieve a more inclusive and prosperous society Joretha advocates providing women with the tools and resources they need for owning their success.
In this regard safeguarding their income and their families’ financial security becomes crucial. Joretha emphasises the importance of various life insurance benefits, which provide a safety net in the event of unexpected life events such as critical illness, disability, impairment, or death.
‘Whether you’re a freelancer, run a business or have a permanent job, never underestimate the importance of life insurance. Appropriate life insurance cover can protect women and their families from financial setbacks and ensure a stable financial future for all.’
As we reflect on our life insurance claims data for 2022, a couple of points are evident:
1. Impact on women’s economically active years: Our analysis of life insurance claims from 2022 reveals that a considerable portion of claims made by women occurs during their economically active years, particularly from the age of 40. This observation raises a critical concern: the potential disruption of a woman’s ability to generate income for herself and her family due to unforeseen circumstances.
2. Importance of comprehensive life insurance cover: A consistent trend emerges as we analyse the leading causes of claims across our key benefit categories. Invariably, cancer and cardiovascular diseases consistently rank among the leading reasons for life insurance claims, emphasising the necessity of insurance benefits that comprehensively cover these claims categories.
3. Gender disparity in life insurance uptake: More than a third of all claims paid in 2022 were for women. However, it is essential to acknowledge that women remain underrepresented within the landscape of life insurance cover. This highlights the necessity of educating women on the importance of life insurance as part of their holistic financial protection.
4. Inadequate life insurance cover for women: An insightful observation arises when evaluating the extent of risk cover held by women compared with risk cover held by their male counterparts. The stark reality is that this disparity in coverage could instantaneously reshape the dynamics of a family. Given the pivotal role that women play within households, this discrepancy highlights the need for financial planning to ensure stability and resilience within the family structure.
Furthermore, life cover specifically plays a critical role in helping families cope in the tragic event of an untimely death. Joretha stresses that, as breadwinners, women must plan to leave their families with a way forward and not let them face financial uncertainty. Life cover can provide the means for loved ones to continue living securely after a loss, ensuring financial stability even in the face of tragedy. In 2022 altogether 32% of death claims paid were for women, while 38% of these were for women under the age of 60.
By taking charge of their finances and safeguarding their and their families’ future income, Joretha says women can lay a secure financial foundation not only for themselves, but also for their loved ones. ‘Empowered women lead to stronger families, businesses and, ultimately, a stronger South Africa’, Joretha says.
In conclusion, we at Momentum Life Insurance are here for every woman’s journey to success, because we understand that empowering women financially has far-reaching benefits for society as a whole. Through the appropriate life insurance benefits, women can confidently navigate their financial journey and that of their families, which – in turn – contribute to a more prosperous future for themselves and for our country.