In this issue:
- Is critical illness insurance worth it?
- ‘I didn’t die:’ Cancer free, with no retirement savings
- Manulife: A look at our critical illness insurance claims
Bonita Boutilier’s purchase of critical illness insurance in 2003 proved to be prescient.
The then 36-year-old Vancouver-based massage therapist bought the $100,000 10-year term policy on the advice of her adviser, a policy that cost her $53.50 a month. “He said: ‘As a self-employed business person, you should have this coverage,'” she recalls.
Before her 10-year term was up, she had filed a claim. “In 2010, I was actually diagnosed with MS,” Ms. Boutilier said. In addition to paying for her time off work, her mortgage and her car, the lump-sum insurance payout allowed her to travel to Mexico and California to undergo a $13,000 experimental new treatment for MS.
“I didn’t have to think about working every day,” said Ms. Boutilier, now 49. “I would have had to use my savings, take out a loan or asked family to help.”
Lynne FitzGerald is moving. She doesn’t want to sell the quaint Halifax home in which she raised her daughter, but her retirement savings are gone.
Her story illustrates what can happen when a catastrophic illness upends the best-laid retirement plans.
Ms. FitzGerald, 68, isn’t supposed to be alive. Diagnosed in 2005 with stage-four colon cancer, her liver riddled with tumours, she was told she had a year to live. “It was a nightmare,” recalls Ms. FitzGerald, a single mom. “I had a car, a mortgage and a daughter in high school.”
From the time we started selling critical illness insurance until December 31, 2016, we’ve paid over $388 million on 3,974 claims.
Of all the claims submitted on valid policies, 86% received a critical illness benefit from Manulife. The remaining 14% of claims were denied for one of these reasons:
- The condition being claimed for wasn’t a covered condition or was excluded at policy issue
- The claim did not meet the criteria for the covered condition as described in the contract
- A claim for cancer or benign brain tumour was submitted before the 90-day waiting period
- Misrepresentation of information provided
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