Recently, I was at the AIG Quality Awards – an event attended by many organisations within the insurance sector that are doing their best to improve customer outcomes. But nothing prepared me for listening to the guest speaker, Heidi Loughlin.
She is an ex-police officer, now motivational blogger and speaker, with a husband and three young children.
She also has terminal cancer. Her story has the additional heartache that she postponed treatment for cancer so that she could carry her youngest child to term, but unfortunately had to deliver her daughter early and the baby died shortly after birth.
Despite all this Heidi is well and truly battling on. It stood out for me that she is using her circumstances to explain the importance of critical illness cover.
She talks about how having a critical illness plan could have helped her and her family.
Eventually, the NHS will probably stop funding the treatment that is maintaining her health.
At some point, it is likely that if she wants to continue her current treatment, she will need to find around £90,000 per year to self-fund it. I cannot stress how much she needs this treatment.
Can you imagine how much peace of mind it would give Heidi to know that she could fund her treatment for another year, two years, three years if she had critical illness cover?
The extra time that she would have to see her children grow. I am a huge advocate of stories and humanising insurance processes. It is stories like Heidi’s that stand out and hit home the importance of what we do.
Without scaremongering, it’s important we discuss stories like Heidi’s to explain why the insurances we offer are so vital. I often use my dad as an example. He has Parkinson’s disease.
He had critical illness cover through his employer, but unfortunately had stopped paying for access to the policy a few months before he was diagnosed.
Ten years or so down the line, I know how much those funds could have helped my mum to make sure that when he goes into care – not if – that he can stay in a facility of their choice, close to home.
I listened to Heidi for 30 minutes and my heart felt like it was torn out, thinking of my own young children.
We cannot have Heidi on the phone chatting to our clients to explain why they should listen to us about critical illness cover.
But we can honour her by relaying her message, as someone living with cancer, that critical illness cover can make a huge difference.
AIG offers an excellent policy and gives its customers access to the best doctors possible. It not only offers access to funds that help people adjust to their health changes, but also to expert second medical opinion services to ensure they are getting the best care.
Kathryn Knowles is managing director of Cura Financial Services