Old Mutual announces life cover for Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 frontliners

A small tax break for frontline workers, but still no living wage (Pic: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters)

Old Mutual Zimbabwe is to provide Z$2 billion worth of life cover to health workers on the frontline of the coronavirus fight, the country’s largest insurer says.  

CEO Sam Matsekete said Old Mutual would offer cover to health staff between April and September.

“In this period of crisis, we have mobilised to work alongside those who are fighting the epidemic, which is why we have decided to make this practical gesture of support to our hospital staff, who are working to ensure adequate care for patients as well as universities which are innovating to produce key materials required to fight the pandemic,” said Matsekete in a statement.

Should a worker on the Old Mutual cover lose their life during the period, Old Mutual will pay up to 12 times the monthly basic salary to the surviving family. Deaths from COVID-19 and accidental deaths will be covered immediately, while a here-month waiting period will apply for deaths resulting from other causes.

“The priority is to safeguard the health professionals as they battle to save the lives of Zimbabweans. In the unfortunate event of losing the life of a health professional, Old Mutual undertakes to pay up to 12 times monthly basic salary to the surviving family of the health professional,” Matsekete said.

Through its banking arm, CABS, Old Mutual is also spending an additional ZW$3.5 million to supply personal protective equipment kits for healthcare staff at Harare Hospital and at Thorngroove in Bulawayo. Each of the 200 kits comprises two PVC aprons, two cotton gowns, 10 respirators, 10 overshoes and one box of latex gloves. The PPE kits were manufactured locally.

CABS will also fund Africa University in Mutare and Chinhoyi University of Science Education to help them ramp up production of sanitisers and face masks.

Life cover

Old Mutual’s cover adds to life cover announced for health workers by EcoSure, the insurance arm of Cassava Smartech. EcoSure is offering life and health insurance in the form of a cash benefit of Z$500 per day, for each day of hospitalisation. There is also a lump sum benefit of Z$50,000 in the event of permanent disability and eventual death caused by any accident. The cover includes a cash benefit of up to Z$30,000 in the event of death arising from other causes.

EcoSure is also offering 100% education scholarships for the children of any medical practitioner who takes up this offer to work in public hospitals or clinics at this time, should they pass on during this period.