by Nancy Coghill
In the decades I have been in the insurance business, I have worked for major insurance companies, brokers, TPAs and MGAs. You would think it would have been foremost in my mind to remember that I owned a critical illness policy when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, but it was not.
When I left my employer and their benefit plan 2 ½ years ago, I debated about converting the group critical illness policy. I had originally opted for the maximum available as guaranteed issue. Being a self-supporting single person, I was more concerned about finances while still alive than if I died. After much debate, I decided to convert to an individual policy, again because it was guaranteed issue and knowing I could always cancel in the future or reduce the coverage amount should I chose.
Well thankfully, I didn’t do either of those. This January I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor (meningioma) and had surgery to have it removed that same month. About a month after the successful surgery, I was reviewing my MasterCard statement and I realized I was paying Sun Life monthly for a critical illness policy. Even after been in the insurance business my entire career, it never occurred to me that the CI policy might cover my condition and offer me a payout.
I looked up my contract and sure enough, there it was – benign brain tumor. I could hardly believe my eyes! I called Sun Life right away and initiated a claim. Paperwork was necessary of course to complete the claim process and very quickly I was advised that my claim was approved and a lump sum cheque for the full face value, tax free, was on its way to me.
The thinking I used at the time of conversion was that maybe I would not have another job that included disability coverage. Should something happen to me that rendered me unable to work, the CI policy could bridge the gap with expenses and lack of income. And those were exactly the circumstances in which I found myself this year.
I do not have any prescription drug coverage and many new scripts needed to be filled, as well as over the counter medical products too. Not to mention that my driver’s license was withdrawn, so I now need to find alternate methods of transportation. Friends and family have been great, but occasionally, I have to call on Uber to assist in getting me to appointments, groceries and anywhere else I might need to go.
So how grateful am I that a wise thought prevailed in weighing the monthly cost of an individual CI policy with the probability of needing it? This is exactly what insurance is all about. And as the old saying goes, you cannot buy insurance when your house is burning down!