How does critical illness insurance come into being?

Ken Becher

Jun 30, 2021

In 1983, Marius Barnard, a famous doctor in South Africa, performed surgery to remove cancer cells from lungs on a woman in her thirties. The cancer was in its early stages and the surgery was particularly successful, so the doctor believed that this woman could live for at least 10 years.

But two years later, when Dr. Barnard revisited the patient, he found that the lady had not survived.

After this incident, Barnard found out that this lady was a single mother with two children to take care of. To make matters worse, most of her savings were spent on medical treatment, so she had to return to work to earn money without adequate rest after the surgery, which led to a recurrence of the disease.

Dr. Barnard felt deeply powerless regarding this story. As a doctor, he was able to heal people and prolong their lives, but he has no ability to solve the problem of patients who cannot recuperate due to lack of money.

Therefore, after much effort, Dr. Barnard finally designed an insurance policy in cooperation with local insurance companies in South Africa. Once a patient is diagnosed with a certain disease, he or she can receive the insurance payment for treatment, rehabilitation and compensation for loss of income.

The above is the prototype of critical illness insurance we have today.


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