Dr Marius Barnard, the founder of critical illness insurance, died this morning at the age of 87.
Dr Barnard was a renowned cardiac surgeon - he assisted his brother Christiaan in the world's first heart transplant on December 3, 1967 at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.
He was motivated by the financial hardship he saw his patients suffer to convince the South African insurance companies to introduce a new type of insurance to cover critical illnesses.
On 6 August 1983 the first critical illness insurance policy was launched.
Dr Barnard was also a member of the South African parliament between 1980 and 1989, for the Progressive Federal Party - which opposed apartheid.
Johnny Timpson of Scottish Widows, a close friend of Dr Barnard's, paid tribute saying: "Since his first idea for this new type of insurance it has been developed by insurance companies around the world with thousands of people every year having been able to survive financially as a result of it.
"In later life, as he experienced the consequences of ageing and suffering from health impairment, he championed the need for quality long term care provision preferring to call this " frail care ", as he rightly observed, you do not need to be old to be frail.
"He was very aware that his health was failing and urged that we as an industry continue to engage consumers on their financial protection needs as continued medical advance and resulting improvements is survival will challenge the health, welfare and care budgets of governments, employer pension schemes and families alike."
Timpson added: I was able to discuss the Seven Families initiative with Marius and he was very taken with the collaborative approach that our industry is taking in engaging consumers and gave us his support.
"His final words to me were 'Johnny, my race is run'.....Friends, he has passed the baton to us, let's make sure that we carry it forward."
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