What’s the most compelling way to introduce critical illness insurance?
Most of us have a critical illness (CI) story—a family member, a friend, perhaps even ourselves managing an unexpected diagnosis along with the financial fallout. Sharing these stories, and inviting clients and prospects to do the same, is often the best way for advisors to help people understand the importance of CI insurance.
If the hero of the tale didn’t have CI coverage, the story underscores the need. Discuss the unexpected expenses that followed the diagnosis. The big one is generally lost income for the patient, and perhaps the spouse, but every story is full of unique and compelling examples. And, if there was a policy in place, you have a chance to explain precisely how it relieved financial pressure and allowed the patient to focus on recovery. Either way, stories make the risk real and relatable.
CI insurance itself has a good story, created by South African heart surgeon Dr. Marius Barnard because he saw his patients struggle financially after their illnesses. Barnard, who was on the team that performed the first human-to-human heart transplant in the world, recognized that financial insecurity can stand in the way of healing—and he did something about it.
Today’s CI solutions cover a very common risk at a reasonable cost. If policyholders are diagnosed with a covered condition—such as cancer, stroke, or heart disease—they receive a tax-free, lump-sum benefit they can use for whatever they need. That may include the following:
- Taking time away from work;
- Paying down the mortgage;
- Arranging childcare for children;
- Getting more help around the house;
- Making a home more accessible; and
- Travelling to get healthcare.
Because the CI benefit is so flexible, this type of insurance suits most people of working age and their children. And, while CI insurance is sometimes included in a group plan, topping up with a personally held policy can help clients make sure they’ll have enough. Also, when clients have their own coverage, they can keep it as long as they need it, rather than risking losing it if they change employers.
Clients often think they don’t need CI coverage because they’ve always been healthy, but there are plenty of examples of athletes in the prime of their careers who have been diagnosed with a CI. Stories can help here, too. For example, Mario Lemieux had to take time off from the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1993 to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Lance Armstrong had to stop cycling in 1996 to treat testicular cancer before returning to compete at the 2000 Olympics. Being healthy today isn’t a free pass for life—and of course the best time to get CI is while you are healthy.
The hardest objection to overcome is usually around cost, but this is where advisors are ideally positioned to find solutions. Problem-solve with your client to fit a CI policy into their budget—because this is one policy that many can’t afford not to have.