Our next broker hero showcase is Andrew Glover, from Purely Financial Planning.
Andrew’s Hero Case Study
Some years ago, a new client was referred to me. He was looking for a reasonably large mortgage, which we duly arranged and protected with appropriate life cover to protect both him and his wife should the worst happen. He worked for a national newspaper as an editor and had excellent employee benefits with full income protection to 75% of salary (after a period of full pay met by the employer), death-in-service cover and family healthcare.
Back in 2017 he called to say that he had changed employers and that he now received a monthly allowance to support the arrangement of his own protection needs (rather than being provided by the employer) and could we meet to discuss what was required. At the meeting we agreed to fill the gap left behind by the removal of his death-in-service cover and arrange some family life cover, so that his wife could look after their three boys and meet the ongoing school fees and living expenses.
We also discussed critical illness cover and income protection. My client felt that he preferred the lump sum benefit of critical illness cover, as his employer’s contractual obligations were still to meet his full salary for up to 12 months. My client felt that if he was still off work after this time he had probably suffered a critical illness and would like the lump sum payment to maybe make lifestyle changes, as well as support him and his family financially through the (hopeful) recovery.
We agreed a sum of £500,000 critical illness cover. The £300 per month premium used a good part of his allowance. We decided to split the cover between two providers in order to fall into automatic acceptance (he had a clean bill of health), as well as provide additional flexibility should he need to retain some cover but reduce costs in the future. AIG and Aviva provided the cover and the policies started in the summer of 2017.
In 2019 we were having our annual review and, although there were no changes to his circumstances, he was feeling particularly positive about his health, and questioned whether we really needed to keep the two critical illness policies. By now, I had built an excellent relationship with him and was able to advise him as much as a friend as his adviser. I told him in no uncertain terms that he was right in the sweet spot of the average claiming age for all types of critical illnesses (he was 45) and that he should absolutely keep these going. He was in a stressful job, working long hours and he should keep in mind the benefit of this cover. He agreed.
In the summer of 2021 I received a call from my friend/client which was rather surreal. He was calm but quiet and said “Andrew, I’ve just returned home after a few days in hospital. I have had a heart attack.” He was 47. Fortunately, his wife saw the signs and took action immediately and he was in the A&E department at the local hospital in less than 30 minutes. He was taken for surgery and had two stents put in to relieve the blockages and was released less than a week later.
I reminded him of the policies we had in place for him. At the time, feeling his own mortality, he wanted to know that if he had another heart attack and died, that I would help his wife sort out the life cover we had in place. I reassured him of this, but said we needed to see whether he had reached the definition to claim on the critical illness policies. He had the consultant’s reports and, although the diagnosis was a heart attack, there was no death of any part of the heart muscle, which was one of the definitions under the original policies.
I initiated the claims with both providers and sent in the consultant’s reports. After some additional information requests, both AIG and Aviva agreed to pay out. Within a few days of the admittance, the client received £500,000 and the premiums paid since the claims began including the interest on the payment back-dated to the claim date.
To say the client was pleased would be an understatement – over-joyed and overwhelmed would be closer to his emotional state. He is still convalescing and doesn’t think that he will go back to work in that field, but instead will move to something less stressful and part-time. He now truly appreciates how fragile life is and how, in a moment, the world around you shifts.
When the dust settled two things struck me:
- After years of saying how critical illness can support you financially and give you some future life choices, it really can.
- The two insurers were amazing. I was doubtful that his heart attack was severe enough and was worried they might try to avoid paying out. It was quite the opposite; they were both incredibly helpful and agreed the payments as soon as they possibly could. Not once did they make me, or my client, feel that the claim was ever in question.
For me, it’s cemented my belief of how important proper and honest advice to clients around protection is. We all think it’s never going to happen to us, but it can and it does.