Heart attack at 39 – thank goodness for Trauma Insurance

Christchurch Abbott Group client Craig Cowles is a strong advocate for Trauma Insurance. After suffering a heart attack aged just 39 and with two preschoolers to support, Craig faced the prospect of 3-4 months off work to recover.

This kind of unexpected major health event can place families under huge financial pressure. But fortunately Craig and wife Kim had Trauma Insurance as part of a comprehensive insurance plan.  They had only put the insurance in place 12 months previously, yet were able to claim a lump sum payout that relieved the financial pressure and took a huge amount of stress off their family.

When Craig started feeling chest pain in May 2014 while watching his kids play rugby, insurance was the last thing on his mind. He immediately went to the 24hour clinic, where a heart attack was diagnosed and Craig was transferred to hospital. A week later, Craig had quadruple bypass surgery and was away from work for the next three to four months while he recovered.

Only 12 months previously, Craig and Kim had been contacted by Abbott Group Life and Health broker Bree Catterall, who offered to come and do a full review of their insurance cover. As part of that review, Bree talked Craig and Kim through their family’s current situation. She recommended that they consider adding Trauma Insurance and other benefits to their existing insurance to make it more comprehensive and better tailored to their specific needs.

Bree had pointed out that if either of them suffered a medical problem and was unable to work for a period of time, the family may be at risk of financial hardship. Craig and Kim agreed that they did not want to take that risk, and took out Trauma Insurance in 2013.

Following Craig’s heart attack, Craig and Kim were able to claim a lump sum from their insurer which could be used to lessen the financial pressures while Craig was away from work.

“When Craig had the heart attack I wasn’t even sure what insurance we had in place”, says Kim. “Bree had mentioned Trauma Insurance but we were pretty stressed and we weren’t even sure what that meant. But being able to claim meant that it was one less stress for us. Bree brought me all the claim forms to sign and took care of everything herself so I didn’t have to worry about it.”

Craig agrees that being able to claim Trauma Insurance took a lot of stress away. “It was fantastic knowing that we didn’t have to stress about any money matters while I was in hospital. Knowing that my family would be financially secure while I was recovering really made the whole situation a lot easier for me.”

Trauma Insurance pays a lump sum on the diagnosis of any one of around 40 medical conditions – including heart attacks.  Its purpose is to lessen financial pressure and to provide options which means recipients are free to use the payment for any purpose they want. Common uses include: time off work for either or both partners, medical expenses that aren’t covered by the public system or private health insurance, reducing debt, or child care costs.

According to figures released by insurer Asteron, the most common cause of trauma claims in 2012 was cancer, with 64% of claims. This was followed by heart attacks with 20% of claims, and strokes with 8%.

Craig and Kim are extremely thankful that they had gone through the process of doing a full review of their insurance cover with Bree, and stress the value of a good broker.  “I can’t recommend enough that you talk to a professional if you are thinking about life and health insurance”, says Craig. “It means that if you are in a similar situation to Kim and me, then you will be looked after as we were.”

Published on Tuesday, March 15th, 2016, under Latest News