The simple question worth £176,000.

By Mike LeGassick, Independent Financial Adviser, Manning and Company
When it comes to critical illness, we so often think, “It’ll never happen to me”.  But it did happen to two of my clients.  With their consent, let me tell you their stories.
Matt’s story
During a meeting with some clients in January, I casually asked after their son Matt, who was also a client of mine.  It was an innocent question; but when their response was that he was “bearing up” I was somewhat confused.  
It turned out that Matt had discovered a lump just a month before.  He had it investigated, and it resulted in the immediate removal of a testicle as it was an invasive seminoma.  

Matt had not contacted me about this so I had no idea.  I did know, however, that only five months earlier I had arranged a £176,000 critical illness insurance policy for him and his wife Mel.

I immediately called Matt to discuss this and explained that he might have a qualifying claim.  He and Mel had dismissed the idea originally because they thought that that there would be no chance of a claim, as it had been caught early, removed and dealt with and that Matt had now been given the all clear. 
But the great thing about critical illness cover is that it pays out on diagnosis.  I instigated the claim for them, and three months later Matt and Mel received a £176,000 payment from Aviva.  Needless to say they are delighted.  They have two young children and can now move on with their lives safe in the knowledge that Matt is now healthy and they have the funds to completely redeem their mortgage should they wish.
Bruce’s story
I was carrying out a routine annual review with a client, and asked how he was.  He told me he’d had a bit of a scare 8 months ago: a very mild stroke.  It lasted just 24 hours and thankfully had left no lasting effects – but nonetheless, it was a stroke.
Bruce then told me that he tried to make a claim on his critical illness policy, but Legal and General dismissed it and told him that unfortunately his specific condition did not warrant a claim under their policy conditions. He told me that he never really expected to get paid anyway and so took the matter no further. 
I didn’t think Bruce had any critical illness cover – I hadn’t arranged any for him, and he had been a client of mine for over 10 years.  Bruce explained that the policy had been taken out 18 years ago to protect the mortgage he had at that time, and he’d forgotten to mention it. 
I was curious so I asked him to sign a letter of authority so that I could find out a little more.  I spoke to the insurer and asked them to send me their official definition of a stroke based on the specific contract sold to Bruce at the time.   I discussed this definition with Bruce; and his specialist also confirmed that it was precisely what Bruce had suffered.  
I pursued the claim, and a few days before Christmas a cheque for £29,000 arrived.  Best of all, Bruce remains in perfect health.
Imagine if I’d never asked…
Both Matt and Bruce took the sensible precaution of preparing for the unknown by taking out critical illness cover.  But imagine if I had never asked the simple question I always ask my clients – how they are!  The money Matt and Bruce were entitled to would never have been paid to them. 
Sometimes people forget the details of policies they have taken out.  And sometimes insurance companies get things wrong, as Bruce’s story shows.  This is where a financial adviser can really help, using expert knowledge to check facts and pursue claims on your behalf.
If you think you might be entitled to make a claim, or even if you’re not sure, get in touch for a chat.  We’re not just here to arrange policies – we’re here to make sure you don’t miss out on the money you’re entitled to.

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