Life Happens

It was a little after 3 o’clock that I received the call.  I knew right from the start that something was wrong.  It was not the wife that was calling, but rather the husband.  He never calls.  He had left his job in the oil field last year to become a “contractor” for another company in the “patch”.  As is usually the case when leaving a job as an “employee” and becoming a “contractor”, he had to assume the responsibility for his own health and dental plan for his family, and of course, his own disability coverage.  Anyone working in this market would also recognize just how difficult it is to place “disability” insurance with a contractor with no prior contractor income.  As is often the case, I presented him with protecting himself with an injury only policy and supplementing it with a healthy critical illness insurance policy.  At the same time I encouraged him to get a critical illness policy for his wife, since she was a stay at home mom for their three children.  He reluctantly agreed to a term policy for her, too.  Six months later she had called to cancel the policy on her because he wasn’t making quite as much as they expected.  I relented and she agreed to keep it for the next 3 months.  That was 2 months ago. 

The reason he was calling was to check if I had cancelled the critical illness policy he had told her to cancel.  I told him that I had not, (apparently she had kept this information from him) He got very quiet on the other end of the phone.  I asked why? He said they just got back from the city and she had just been diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 28, with 3 kids under 6 at home.  He told me that the prognosis was good but he was going to have to scale back his work to be at home with her and also to take her to her treatments in Saskatoon, 150 kms from their home town.   He asked how long it would take to get the money from their “cancer” insurance.  I told him not to worry that we would have it for them within 30 days.  I drove out to their home the next day, helped them complete the paperwork, sent the rest to their doctor and then got it all to the insurer by courier as soon as I got it back.  They received $100,000 within 30 days of her diagnosis.

They stopped by my office last week.  She has completed all of her treatments and surgeries and her prognosis for a long life is looking pretty good.  They just wanted to thank me again for everything we did for them and for strongly recommending that they keep their critical illness insurance.  She said without it they probably would have lost their vehicles!  She said that the money didn’t take the cancer away, but it gave them the ability to be a family and rally around each other to be strong and fight. 

They had spent a good amount of the money on travel and accommodations for treatments and babysitting for the kids while they travelled for treatments.  Now they wanted to put as much as possible into their kids RESP plans and invest the rest for the future.

Once again, I am reminded of why I am in this career.  It is for being able help people when they are at their most vulnerable.  When is the last time you recommended a critical illness policy to one of your clients?

Darren Ulmer
darren.ulmer@sunlife.com

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