The value of having a person when life is presenting significant stress points

The Background

In September 2018, whilst completing a review with an existing client, I enquired about his income protection needs.

Our client was mid 50s medical specialist earning high wages. His first comment was “I’ve had my XXX policy for years and I still need the cover”. 

I explained that whilst the benefit is required, we can review for quality coverage and premium.

Following our meeting, we went away and completed a deep dive review of his current policy.

We discovered that his current policy was closed to new policyholders after being superseded by a new product. 

We compared the premium with the market and whilst there were slightly cheaper insurance providers, XXX has a feature that allowed us the ability to “cancel and replace” his existing product with the new XXX product without the need for medical underwriting.   

As this was a significant benefit policy, the underwriting effort and time required would have proven extensive and potentially presented some challenges.  

The client also took the time to analyze the difference between the current and recommended product, noting “if its cheaper, is it nasty?”. The client concurred with our advice that the new product was a better rated product with stronger claims definitions.

The new policy also saved the client $12k on annual premiums; whilst premium savings weren’t a primary goal, they were certainly welcomed.

The client was happy to proceed with the reasonable simple administration process which was completed in October 2018.

The Claim

In July, my client mentioned to me he had been unwell and whilst still working, was concerned with his health. In early August, I received an email saying he had been hospitalised with a cardiovascular issue and his health was rapidly deteriorating. Scary news at best of times made even more alarming due to COVID-19. The client mentioned it was likely to be a long term issue and we discussed his Income Protection and agreed it best to submit a claim.

We immediately went to work and contacted the XXX claims department to lodge an intent to claim. 

We also got in touch with his solicitor and Power of Attorney, who after a few back and forths, offered to take the forms to our client and return via scan.

In normal circumstances, Prime may have been able to physically assist; albeit, stage 4 restrictions didn’t allow personal access.

We touched base with his JV Accountant and were instantly provided his latest financial statements.

By lunchtime that day, we’d prepopulated all forms for the client to complete and the solicitor had scanned back:

  • Claims form – relatively simple, questionnaire on when first sick, disabled etc
  • Medicare release authority – The insurance claims team are checking for non-disclosure in the 5 years prior to submitting the application
  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme – The claims team are checking for non-disclosure in the 5 years prior to submitting the application
  • Medical attendant report – Simple and concise doctor’s report, stating he’s in hospital and unable to work – very straightforward.

Our client was able to complete the forms and return back to our office on the same day. This allowed us to lodge the claim with all outstanding requirements provided, all whilst the client was laid up in a hospital bed.

At this stage, the client has not yet satisfied the policy’s 30-day policy waiting period.  Following this requirement, the client will be eligible to receive 75% of their income until they return to work or turn age 65, indexed annually.

Whilst the premium savings and product upgrade were welcomed at the time, the client has commented on the convenience of having one person to co-ordinate and lodge claim, whilst preoccupied with his own health and financial issues, being priceless.

We know the majority of policies are there for the what-if moments, to provide certainty when things go wrong.  It’s nice to witness the other side of the insurance equation when claims provide the flexibility to reduce financial stress and focus on what’s important.

Written by Dylan Cresswell CFP®, Private Client Adviser

If you would like to discuss your situation, please speak to your adviser or email clientservices@primefinancial.com.au

The information in this article contains general advice and is provided by Primestock Securities Ltd AFSL 239180. That advice has been prepared without taking your personal objectives, financial situation or needs into account. Before acting on this general advice, you should consider the appropriateness of it having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs. You should obtain and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making any decision to acquire any financial product referred to in this article. Please refer to the FSG (www.primefinancial.com.au/fsg) for contact information and information about remuneration and associations with product issuers. This information should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional advice, and we encourage you to seek specific advice from your professional adviser before making a decision on the matters discussed in this article. Information in this article is current at the date of this article, and we have no obligation to update or revise it as a result of any change in events, circumstances or conditions upon which it is based.

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