Home Breast Cancer Awareness Protecting Yourself Against The Financial Strains Of Cancer – Interview With Karen Bongers

Protecting Yourself Against The Financial Strains Of Cancer – Interview With Karen Bongers


Many of us think it won’t happen to us, but the reality is that cancer affects a staggering 25% of South Africans.

We interviewed Karen Bongers, Product Development Actuary at Sanlam to discuss the financial considerations around having cancer and how to be proactive about lessening the financial burden for you and your loved ones.

But it’s not just the costs of treatment that you will need to worry about. You may be facing extra expenses for traveling to and from a treatment center, childcare while you’re having treatment, or lower-income because you had to take time off from work. 

Why is Sanlam so passionate about cancer awareness?

Cancer, as we all know, is one of the biggest health concerns for South Africans. Statistics are just continually on the increase.

According to statistics published by The World Health Organization in 2012, there were 14 million new cases of cancer reported.

In 2019 they are expecting that number to go up to 18 million…

From all our severe illnesses and our disability products, cancer is the main cause of claims.

We are indeed passionate about raising awareness around breast cancer because we know that it’s a very real concern for many South African women and the impact financially, if not planned for, could add more anxiety to an already tough situation.

Raising awareness is also important from the viewpoint of early detection.

Getting diagnosed earlier at stage one increases your chances of survival up to 80%.

Someone who is only diagnosed at stage four only has a 15% chance of surviving more than five years.

Does Sanlam has a benefit that covers cancer specifically?

Yes. So it’s called the cancer benefit. It’s easy to remember. It does what it says.

The benefit pays out if the person insured gets diagnosed with cancer.

It’s a very comprehensive benefit that covers a wide scope of cancer diagnoses.

Why should people consider it?

The financial impacts of cancer is tremendous…

People usually only consider the cost of the treatments when there is much more to consider.

Things like traveling to the specialist, accommodation close to the place of treatment, the loss of income from not being able to work, special aid that you require like a caretaker, a nanny for the children if you are a single mother…

This is just to name a few of the unplanned expenses you would incur going through the cancer treatment process.

Cancer patients often have specific dietary needs that can push up the food bills per month or they might want to have those homemade meals delivered to their door because they are unable to cook.

These are multiple reasons why someone would opt for this cover and why having the cover would be a good idea.

How exactly does it work?

1 – You select to cover amount, which can be anything from R50,000 to R6 million, depending on what you feel that you need and depending on what you can afford. You pay a monthly premium for this cover.

2 – If you then get diagnosed with cancer, and it meets the conditions of the claim event, we pay out a percentage of that cover.

This can be anything from 5% for some of the early cancers, to the full 100%, if you’ve got a more advanced or an aggressive kind of cancer. The money paid can be used however you see fit.

3 – If you have a very small cover amount you might still have expenses that are unmet because you only had a small cover amount.

The bigger you go, the greater the chances are that your expenses will be covered.

This benefit is there for you when the worst happens…if you get cancer, at least you know, the financial side of things is covered for you and your family.

You can focus your energy on just getting better and you don’t need to use that energy to worry about bills and payments.

What if you already have cancer? Or if you are high-risk?

The best is for you to subscribe to the benefit as young as possible. It is less expensive because you are less of a risk.

If you’ve already had cancer or if you’re a cancer survivor, then you might not be able to qualify for the benefit or you might not be able to get full coverage. In some cases, you might only need to pay more.

Our doctors would take your whole medical history into account and look at your family history, what type of cancer you had, what stage it was, what treatments you’ve received, how you responded to the treatment etc.

Anyone wondering whether they might qualify is welcome to contact Sanlam directly.

What is the number one message that you want to convey to the listeners today about Sanlam?

Sanlam is really a great company to work for in the sense that we really believe in providing proper cover for clients, and specifically when they need it most.

Being subscribed to a cancer benefit really helps you get the financial support when disaster strikes which gives you the peace of mind you need to continue fighting this dreaded disease.

Where can people go to find out more information about this benefit?

You can either read more on Inspiringwomen or you can visit the Sanlam website directly at Sanlam.co.za

If you are interested in this cover, you will need to request cover through an intermediary.

If you don’t have a financial advisor or sentiment advisor you can enquire on the Sanlam website and ask to be introduced to an advisor.

Thank You, Sanlam!

A big thank you to Sanlam for partnering with InspiringWomen to enable us to raise breast cancer awareness in South Africa.

We really feel so blessed to have this opportunity to impact the lives of South African women and it wouldn’t have been possible without the Sanlam partnership.

To find out more about cancer and support, contact CANSA. For more information on severe illness cancer cover and the Cancer Benefit Cover, visit www.sanlam.co.za.

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