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Posted by Karen Thornalley

Critical and Life Insurance


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Life and Critical Illness insurance is one of those topics that doesn’t often make it to the top of our to do lists. Now that women are very often financially independent it’s important for them to address their own insurance needs and protect themselves and their children in the event of death or a serious illness. Read the articles to find out just how affordable life and critical illness insurance is for you and what a valuable asset it is for your family. Enquire here

Life Insurance

Traditionally life insurance was the domain of the male breadwinner. In the 1960’s if the man of the house died, the little woman and the children would be left destitute without his income to support the family’s living costs. A life insurance policy on the life of the husband/father/breadwinner would provide for the family until such time as the woman could find a job (in a typing pool!) or re-marry.

Fast forward 50 years and women are no longer ‘little’ or financially dependent on their husbands. We can also do much more than type and quite often earn enough money to support ourselves and our families. Woman today are business people in their own right, so it makes sense that we protect ourselves, our family and our businesses with life insurance.

That said, life insurance is often one of those things we put off because it’s inextricably linked to dying. No-one wants to seriously sit down and contemplate what will happen if  (sorry, when) they die. That’s why so many of us don’t have a will in place. In addition we are always so busy doing all the things that make us the biggest assets to our families, we just run out of time. Let’s face it, there’s about 500 more interesting things to do, at any given time, than talk about life insurance! That’s where your financial adviser comes in. A good advisor will streamline the process and make it as painless as possible. They will take the rocket science out of the equation and let you know how much insurance you will need based on your own personal situation. So long as you know and trust your advisor it should be a relatively smooth process and, at the end of the day, life insurance is usually cheaper than many general insurance’s such as car and medical. The golden rule is to purchase your life insurance as early as you can to give yourself the advantage of spreading the cost over as long a period as possible. Lucky the girl who starts her life insurance plan before she’s 30. But if that’s not you, making a start at any time is better than not at all.

 Critical Illness Insurance

Having talked about life insurance and how vital that is for those we will leave behind when we die, a more important insurance for women to consider is Critical Illness insurance. Unlike life insurance, critical illness benefits will be paid out (in a lump sum) at the time of diagnosis with one of approximately 35 prescribed critical illnesses.

Critical illness entered the insurance market 30 years ago when a prominent South African cardiologist approached the big life insurance companies asking them to consider a type of insurance benefit that would pay out a lump sum to policy holders who didn’t die. Sort of a ‘survival insurance’ if you like! The cardiologist said that he was saving patient’s lives and repairing their damaged hearts so that they could live on for another 20, 30 or 40 years. What he couldn’t help fix was the damage to someone’s earning capacity and financial situation they found themselves in whilst they were recovering from major illness and/or surgery. Likewise, a prominent oncologist was confronted with a dilemma when the best possible treatment for his cancer patient was a new and very expensive drug treatment protocol. The oncologist felt that this treatment could in fact save his patient’s life. However, the patient couldn’t afford the expensive treatment that gave her the best chance of survival. She had no choice but to go with the conventional treatment and hope for the best. Can you imagine being in that situation? Fact is, we’d all like to think that if a dread disease such as cancer, stroke or heart attack does strike us, the last thing we would want to worry about, on top of everything else is money. Reality is, this is the sad truth for a lot of people and their families.

So, in 1984 critical illness insurance entered the market. It is generally purchased along with life insurance to provide protection against death and/or the onset of a major illness. Unlike life insurance though, critical illness insurance is paid out in one lump sum upon diagnosis of a critical illness whether or not the policyholder ends up dying from the disease. Examples of the illnesses included are:

  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Kidney Failure
  • Motor Neurone Disease
  • Major Organ Transplant

It’s worth noting that Cancer, Stroke and Heart Attack are the top 3 illness for which benefits are paid and represent 85% of all claims. For women, unfortunately, the highest number of claims are for cancer.

Critical illness insurance is, in essence, recovery money to be used for expenses that accompany a serious, dread disease. Examples of these types of expenses are as follows:

  • Income replacement
  • Mortgage payments or payout
  • Family expenses and bills
  • Relocation (going back home)
  • Home help and nursing
  • Best possible treatment and freedom of choice, regardless of what your medical insurance does or doesn’t cover
  • Holidays and trips
  • Bucket list activities!

If life was a movie, then no-one would see the financial damage a serious illness causes to our lives. The scenes would be all about recovering in style without any reference to who’s paying! But we don’t live in Hollywood, we live in Dubai and as expat business women it’s even more vital for us to plan for contingencies in the event of a critical illness.

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