'My payout means we can concentrate on the future'
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Breast cancer sufferer Sara Regan would not have received the payout to which she was entitled had it not been for the prompt action of her adviser and insurer.
A 44-year-old woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer during the pandemic has spoken to The Times about how important it is to get the right kind of insurance and to give your insurer the right information.
Business centre manager Sara took out the critical illness policy with Aegon in 2018, arranged by financial adviser firm Cover My Bubble. She was paying £20 a month for the policy.
Being diagnosed during lockdown meant that Sara needed to be shielded. Her husband Danny, a drain technician, had to stay home to care for her, so was also unable to work. They were both furloughed but when this ends in October they fear they won't be able to pay their bills on £95 a week sick pay, writes The Times.
When Sara came to claim on her critical illness policy, however, Aegon noticed an exclusion.
Emma Astley, the founder of Cover My Bubble, told The Times:"When she took out the policy Sara mentioned that a family member had had ovarian cancer, which meant an exclusion on her cover for breast cancer, so she couldn't claim if she got that illness."
Fortunately, Cover My Bubble took the trouble to encourage further investigation. Following a discussion between Sara and her family member with the cancer history, she learnt that it didn't turn out to be cancer after all, ‘just abnormal cells'.
Emma told COVER:"Sara was really young when there were fears her family member had cancer. And, like lots of people do, she naturally just assumed that was the diagnosis when going through the family history questions for her CI cover. The effect of this could have been huge, effectively stopping any payment due to Sara. As it was, Aegon were unbelievable. They quickly got all the medical records for the family member. They were amazing."
When it became clear that there had been no such cancer diagnosis in the past, Aegon promptly removed Sara's cancer clause, accepted a new claim and paid out more than £10,000 to Sara. If she hadn't spoken to her relative, at the prompt of her adviser, she wouldn't have been able to make the claim.
"It was absolutely amazing when we got that news. It really lifted a weight off our shoulders," Sara told The Times."Now I can just focus on trying to get well."
Help for others
This case helps highlight not only the power of good advice, but also the importance of full disclosure and checking family medical history.
It was as a result of personal trauma and the impact on finances that Emma Astley set up her advisory firm, with a view to helping give more people the peace of mind they need. Ten years ago, Emma's premature daughter died at just one-month-old.
"I was just devastated, I couldn't get off the settee, and that meant I lost my income because I couldn't work and we had no insurance at all," she told The Times, adding:"When you're facing an illness or losing a loved one, and having to worry about money as well it's just horrendous. It's not worth that pain for as little as £10 a month to know you're protected."
Emma added to COVER:"There's so much negativity around claims, but the fact is that in the vast majority of cases, insurers do pay out. It only tends to go wrong when people complete applications online and miss out information or when their broker misses something."