In this newsletter I want to share with you a story that has forever affected the life of a valued KSL staff member. I have this person’s permission to share her journey with you; the bad, and also the good of her ordeal.
This tragic event could happen to anyone and is a reminder to all millennials and their parents who may be skeptical of the value and need for including insurance as part of their risk management programme.
For many years I have been strongly advocating that my business owner clients should consider the financial impacts of illness and/or disablement to key employees. My advice has always been that clients protect themselves and their staff with appropriate insurance on their key people.
Fortunately, I eat my own cooking!
All of my key staff have been covered for life and trauma protection, and enjoyed the security of knowing that if they were disabled through sickness or accident for longer than 90 days that there was an income protection policy in place to protect themselves and their families.
The Bad News
Cassie, a healthy bubbly 26 year old, returned home to Christchurch from her OE to settle down with her partner and joined the KSL staff. As with many people at this stage of life, they purchased a new house.
Three years after joining KSL, Cassie complained of frequent headaches. Numerous optical and then medical consultations later she was eventually diagnosed with a tumor on her pituitary gland.
After an intensive and difficult surgery the tumor was successfully removed but, because it was so large, there was unfortunately some ‘collateral damage’. Cassie lost the sight of one eye and was subsequently deemed legally blind through the diminished sight in the other eye.
The news of the loss of sight and inability to work was devastating.
The Good News
After the initial diagnosis Cassie received a substantial trauma lump sum payment personally which allowed her and her now fiance to take time off work and to focus on medical issues and recovery without financial stress.
KSL kept Cassie’s role open until a permanent disablement determination was made by the insurer. When this was done KSL was able to provide Cassie with a long term safety net by assigning the income protection policy to her. This policy is now providing Cassie with 75% of her pre-disability earnings until she is 65 years of age, with an annual CPI adjustment.
Cassie also has the added assistance of occupational health assistance available under the policy to try and create opportunities and skills for her to develop that will allow her to in some way re-enter the work force.
Cassie and her fiance have recently purchased a new property closer to the city centre so her inability to drive has become less of an issue. Because of the financial certainty within the income protection policy, they were able to use the policy as a source of long term guaranteed income to support the lending application and Cassie and her fiancé have been able to retain ownership of their original property as an investment.
The Risk of Loss of Earnings
Cassie’s journey highlights that the most important asset that you own is your ability to earn.
When your earnings stop, you have nothing. The material assets, for example houses and vehicles, require ongoing funding to be preserved and protected .
Our lives revolve around having enough money to exist. The following says it all:
Money does not buy you happiness, but lack of money certainly buys you misery.
You can be young without money, but you can’t be old without it.
The welfare benefits available from the Government are limited and generally subject to some form of asset or means testing. If you are disabled by accident you are protected for up to 80% of your pre-disability income and medical costs are significantly subsidised, but still cost.
However, statistics show that only 1 in 8 disablements are covered by ACC. But 7 out of 8 long term disablements are sickness or non-accident related.
I am frequently asked what is the most important insurance product to have; it is simple; Income Protection.
Surprisingly, while income protection is the most important policy available from insurers, it is the least purchased product; only 10% of adults have income protection cover.
- ACC is a compulsory levy for a 1 in 8 risk.
- Income protection is an optional purchase for a 7 out of 8 incapacity risk and is only 10% owned.
The question that has to be asked in all families:
‘If any of your family were incapacitated what would their fallback position be?
Who would be their “go to” person for financial help?’
If you, your partner, or adult children in employment, do not have an income protection plan then you need to contact me.