16th March 2016. Critical Illness Insurance I have always hated insurance policies, probably because I see the money going out regularly and for what return? I have also never found insurance companies particularly “caring” nor “customer focussed”. However, my views have changed! As part of my financial planning with Solace Financial I have held life insurance policies for a number of years. Once I finished work these were scaled back to a Critical Illness Policy covering a range of “insured events” such as diabetes, cancer, heart attack etc. From my family history and my own medical history there was no reason to suspect I would be making a claim. This changed on a February morning in 2015. A sudden chest pain and a quick assessment of what it could be led to my wife calling an ambulance. We put our faith in the medical system. Our faith was repaid quickly. Within two hours I was sitting up in a hospital ward after two new stents had been inserted into one of the arteries that supplies blood to my heart muscle. Subsequently I learnt that speed of treatment is critical to minimising heart damage due to lack of blood supply. My recovery process included a six week program from the Heart Foundation, medication and clearances from doctors so I could return to my normal activities. Quite frankly I did not even consider the insurance policy as all our focus was solely on returning to full health – whatever this means. Anyway I let our Financial Adviser know my health situation as a matter of course. He responded immediately with an opinion that this may be a claimable “Critical Illness” as a heart attack. My first response was to read the small print in the policy to see if I could understand the definition of a heart attack. The paperwork involved assessments from two medical practitioners, which was not difficult to organise. Once submitted, the claim was settled promptly. So what is the message here? Firstly look after your health. If something does not feel right get it checked promptly. Speed is important to your recovery and delay could be causing irreparable damage. Insurance does work, whether it will work in your situation needs your assessment but your financial adviser can assist this decision-making. Ian.