|Sandy Govender, Head of Group Insurance at Momentum, sheds some light on this issue
The assisted suicide debate was elevated in the news earlier last year when Robin Stransham-Ford – a terminally ill cancer patient – won a ruling in the Pretoria High Court in which he was granted permission to take his own life with the aid of a doctor.
While this ground-breaking case raises many ethical and legal questions, one less-talked about potential implication is that of life cover: Will legal cases of assisted suicide differ to the current life cover clauses on “regular” suicide? Will life cover policies have to change in the future to take cases of legal assisted suicide into account? Sandy Govender, said,In the insurance world under group arrangements there is something called free cover limit (FCL),” individuals in the group automatically qualify for cover up to the FCL.
Where cover is compulsory, for example in group life cover through an employer, there are no exclusions on suicide up to the FCL. For individuals taking out cover above the FCL,suicide will only be covered up to the FCL until the full underwriting is approved. Where clients take out the policy on a voluntary basis, their suicide is not covered for an initial period from t h e c o m m e n c e m e n t o f t h e c o v e r .