Critical illness cover inspired by cancer survivors addresses real needs

FMI Critical Illness cover pays out for financial responsibilities, emotional support, and even reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy

In South Africa, 100 000 people receive a cancer diagnosis each year, with one in nine women being diagnosed in their lifetime1 and breast cancer being the leading cancer diagnosed among women2. It’s unlikely that there’s a single South African untouched by cancer, and it’s common knowledge that the impact of a critical illness is much more than just financial – it’s a life-changing, emotionally-taxing experience that affects the whole family.

Talking to women who are fighting battles against breast cancer and other serious illnesses, and also to their families, prompted FMI (a division of Bidvest Life Limited) to design Critical Illness (CI) cover that addresses real needs.

FMI’s CEO Brad Toerien says that medical costs for serious illnesses add up quickly, with treatments, FMI Logo Life Done Betterhospital stays and travelling expenses. “That’s why our CI cover pays you 130% of your monthly income for 12 months when you’re diagnosed with a critical illness, regardless of whether or not you go back to work.”

Structuring CI to pay out monthly, instead of in one lump sum, is an important benefit. “The vast majority of disability cover (77%)3 currently sold in South Africa is lump sum cover, as opposed to income benefits,” says Toerien. “But, the challenge with a lump sum pay-out is that it’s impossible to know how much cover you need when you buy your policy, and there are clear investment, longevity and inflationary risks. And while they’re great to settle debts or once-off expenses, we don’t believe lump sums should be used to provide ongoing monthly incomes. Income benefits are easier to understand and plan for, because they mimic the income stream you are trying to replace.”

All FMI policyholders get access to Medical Second Opinion, offering access to over 100 leading expert medical centres around the world, providing a level of comfort that comes with knowing that diagnoses are correct and treatment plans are optimal. Further, women battling breast cancer receive an additional pay-out if they decide to have breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy.

Other Benefits of FMI Critical Illness (CI) Assist

Another benefit is CI Assist, which steps in to ease some of the emotional toll by providing for au-pair and Uber services, family counselling, and more.

FMI’s CI cover offers clients peace of mind in six areas:

  1. A second opinion, to be sure that the diagnosis is correct and that clients have the best possible treatment plan.
  2. Cover for additional expenses associated with the diagnosis and for adjustments to living with a critical illness.
  3. A monthly income to take care of monthly expenses.
  4. Cover for extra monthly costs that come from living with and adjusting to a serious illness.
  5. Counselling to help the client’s entire family cope with the trauma and stress.
  6. Logistical/household support, because day-to-day responsibilities don’t stop when you are sick.

Toerien says that South Africans grossly underestimate the risk of serious illness or injury. “Our #RealityCheck consumer survey shows that South Africans are twice as likely to buy life cover over disability cover, potentially leaving themselves without income insurance when an illness or injury strikes. Our research also shows that seven out of every 10 South Africans will experience at least one injury or illness in their lifetime that will prevent them from earning an income.”

The bottom line, concludes Toerien, is that your income enables your lifestyle and your future dreams, and is core to you and your family’s financial future. “And, while no-one should have to go through the trauma of dealing with a critical illness, it helps to know that if you do, you can depend on your FMI CI cover to ease the financial, emotional and logistical strain so that you can focus on getting better.”


2 National Cancer Registry 2013

3 FMI Disability Cover Study (2018)


About FMI

FMI, a division of Bidvest Life Limited, offers a suite of life insurance products to protect individuals against life’s risks. This includes temporary and long-term Disability, Critical Illness and Life cover which provides our policyholders with a monthly income when they are unable to work, due to an illness, injury or death.

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All info was correct at time of publishing