Second Opinion?

Being diagnosed with a serious illness would be an emotionally overwhelming experience if it happened to you. You would have lots of questions: What will happen now? Is the diagnosis correct? Will the treatment be right? How can I be sure? Now, there is someone to help you answer these difficult questions. The result could save your life. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with serious illness, Aviva Best Doctors - Second Medical Opinion can help.

What is Best Doctors - Second Medical Opinion and how can their service help?

  • Best Doctors - Second Medical Opinion is a global organisation which brings the world’s leading medical expertise to you and your family offering a second opinion when you need it most.

  • Best Doctors - Second Medical Opinion has a unique and well-renowned network of over 53,000 peer reviewed medical professionals. Having such expertise at their fingertips and supported by a truly caring service team, is the reason why thousands of people around the world turn to Best Doctors - Second Medical Opinion when they need it most.

  • Best Doctors - Second Medical Opinion can help you with those questions that are likely to be racing around your mind if you were diagnosed with a serious illness.

An in-depth review of your medical files will be conducted by a Best Doctors medical specialist to help verify your diagnosis and treatment options. The process can reduce potentially serious complications that can result from a misdiagnosis, and help you and your treating doctor determine the proper course of action.

But Best Doctors - Second Medical Opinion isn’t just for serious life threatening illness. You can use the service for any chronic or troubling ailments affecting quality of life. For example, sports injuries, skin diseases, cancer, blood diseases to name just a few.

This feature is available at no additional cost and Aviva will match the lowest market price available for the cover. It can even be used for conditions diagnosed before you took out your Aviva policy and is available with the following Aviva protection policies.

  • Term Cover

  • Mortgage Protection

  • Specified Illness Cover

  • Personal Income Protection

  • Executive Income Protection

  • Pension Term Assurance

Terms and conditions apply. If you currently have a Life Assurance policy and wish to review your cover, it’s worth consulting a financial broker.

The Benefits of Serious Illness Policies

Most of us do not like to think of how we would manage financially should either a spouse or child become seriously ill. Fortunately there are various options available when it comes to protecting yourself and your family and it can be an important addition if you have no health insurance cover in place.

1.    Standalone Serious Illness Cover
This is simply a Serious Illness plan without life cover. This type of policy is suitable should you have no dependants.

2.    Life & Serious Illness Cover
This plan provides you with both life cover and serious illness cover. If a serious illness claim is paid, the life cover amount remains the same. If you should die during the term of the policy, the life insurance cover will also then be paid out in full.

3.    Life & Accelerated Serious Illness Cover
As with above, this plan provides you with life cover and serious illness cover, however, if a serious illness claim is paid on this type of policy, the life cover amount is reduced by the serious illness pay-out amount. However, if you should die without having made a serious illness claim, the full life cover is paid.

The benefits can vary amongst the different life companies, but most will include the following:

Free Children’s Cover
It is important if you do have children to check this with your life company, as they may be covered for all of the illnesses listed on your policy, and sometimes for other child-related illnesses, such as meningitis.

Waiting list and overseas surgery benefit
Under this benefit the insurance company pays out part of the serious illness benefit, if you are put on a waiting list for certain major types of surgery, or if it is essential for you to have major surgery outside of Ireland.

PTD Benefit                                                                                                                                                     If you become permanently, totally disabled (PTD) from an illness, or condition that is not otherwise covered by the policy, you could claim the serious illness benefit cover under PTD.

The two types of PTD cover are: 

Any-Occupation PTD – you can only claim if you are not able to work at any job. It means you are permanently unable to do many normal daily activities, such as walking, lifting, bending, writing, or speaking.

Own-Occupation PTD – you can claim if you are permanently and totally unable to do your current job. You will usually pay extra for this type of PTD cover. You may not be able to get this extra cover, if your job carries a higher risk of disability. For example, if you are a sports professional.

Irish worrying less about money, health is still biggest focus……

According to research commissioned by a leading protection specialist, 37% of Irish people view money as their biggest worry this year. What is particularly noteworthy about these findings is that this is almost 10% less than the 46% who said that money was their biggest concern in 2016. The survey asked 1,000 respondents nationwide what their biggest worries were and what their biggest focus was in 2017.

Health was cited as the majority of people’s main focus (37%), followed by career (26%) and travel (13%). What is surprising is that there has been quite a drop in the number of people who identified money as their biggest concern in 2017 when compared with last year. This could this be an indicator that things are on the up for people financially as Ireland is on track to have the EU’s fastest growing economy for the fourth successive year and has a decreasing unemployment rate which last month was at a near 9-year low.

The survey found that after money, 22% worried about their family most in 2017, a big jump from the 14% who said the same the previous year. Meanwhile double the number of respondents said they were concerned with loneliness compared to 2016; 8% versus 4% respectively.

The survey results also highlighted the large difference that exists between the priorities of the younger and older generations surveyed. For 18-34 year olds the focus lies, understandably, much
more on their career (42%), health (19%) and family (13%). While an equal amount of 18-34 year old respondents (10%) said property and travel were at the forefront of their minds. For over 55s their
biggest priority was their health (60%) and travelling (27%).

Overall health is a big focus for every age group surveyed. It is the top focus for 35-54 year olds and over 55s whilst it is the second top focus for 18-34 year olds. One of the ways people are prioritising their health is shown by the uptake in more Health Insurance policies. The largest uptake increase has seen people in their 40s taking out policies, with almost 33,000 people between the ages of 40 and 49 joining a scheme since the start of 2015. As people are becoming more informed and involved in protecting themselves, there has been a noticeable increase in people interested in discussing Serious Illness cover and Salary Protection cover.

There is no escaping that money is still a big worry for many people throughout the country. Unfortunately managing household finances can be challenging. The thought about what might happen in the future that could adversely affect family finances, is never far from peoples’ minds, it would appear. Making contact with a local Financial Broker to discuss personal finances and the options available to people may be one way of helping to alleviate this worry.

Critical Illness Cover – Recover your health without financial worries

None of us like to think about getting sick and the worry this would cause for our loved ones and ourselves as we do our best to get well again. The last thing we would need is to be worried about money. Often, this is a real concern. Apart from the impact an illness might have on your income or indeed your business, you may need access to additional cash to pay for care at home, possibly to adapt your home, or to buy medical equipment that will assist your recovery or improve your quality of life. Indeed critical illness cover is often linked to a mortgage, paying off some or the entire mortgage in the event of you getting sick. 

Critical illness cover, sometimes known as serious illness cover (or specified illness cover) is a product designed to remove the financial worry when you suffer one of a specified list of serious illnesses. Critical illness cover has been a very popular addition to the protection portfolios of clients in Ireland for the last 20 or so years, the attraction of it being the availability of an immediate lump sum in the event of a claim.

Is it likely to happen to you? Well hopefully not, but according to the National Cancer Registry Ireland, there are more than 20,000 new cancer cases in Ireland each year. Their statistics also show however dramatic improvement in 5-year survival rates, due to the advancements in medical science. The picture is the same in relation to heart disease and strokes. Approximately 10,000 Irish people have a stroke each year and there are approx. 30,000 people living in the community with disabilities as a result of a stroke, according to The Irish Heart Foundation. But of course while surviving is good news, money is also needed to enable you to recover without worry.

There have been some great innovations in critical illness cover in recent years. While claims are allowed on approx. 40-50 specified illnesses, some insurers will also pay out partial amounts on other illnesses or sometimes for serious accidents. Some insurers also provide cover for children free of charge. It is even possible to access a second medical opinion service with some of these types of financial products.

Where do you find the right critical illness cover for you with the most relevant benefits? This is where your Financial Broker comes in. Unlike a bank with access to the product of a single provider, your Financial Broker has knowledge of and access to products across the marketplace. Depending on your own circumstances, they will find the best critical illness policy with the right set of benefits at the lowest cost to suit your own personal circumstances.  

Getting sick is of course a time of concern. However you can take the financial worry out of it by asking your Financial Broker to find the right critical illness cover for you.

What is . . . ?

Life Assurance: This is cover designed to provide a financial lump sum to a family/person/company in the event of the death of a specified individual. There are different kinds of Life Assurance that include:

  • Mortgage Protection – Decreasing Life Assurance – ends at set term

  • Term Assurance – Level Life Assurance – ends at set term

  • Whole of Life cover – Level Life Assurance – No set term

  • There is reviewable and non reviewable Whole of Life cover

    Life Assurance with convertible option: You can request a conversion option on some Life cover. This allows you to extend the lifetime of your policy without having to supply any medical information. This allows some people to choose a shorter term for cover now, at a lower cost.

    An example of this benefit would be if you take out €100,000 Life cover for 10 years with a conversion option. During the 10 year lifetime of this plan you might get sick or be struck with an illness that would prevent you from taking out Life cover in the future. The conversion option would allow you to extend the term of your €100,000 Life cover beyond the 10 years and the Life company could only use your medical information from the original application.

    Serious Illness Cover: This is cover designed to provide a financial lump sum to a family/person/company where a specified individual is diagnosed with a Serious Illness.

    Income Protection: This is a cover designed to be a replacement Income if a person is unable to work due to illness or injury. It is particularly important for self-employed people.

    The cost of these covers depends mainly on your age, your smoker status, your health and the length of time you would like the cover.

    Pensions: During your working life, you can save into a Pension arrangement to subsidise your drop in income at retirement. The main advantages of this are that you get tax relief on your contributions and you get tax free growth on your investment.

    Savings/Investment plans: An alternative to saving/investing money in the bank. The main advantage is that there is a much greater potential to grow your investment. The main disadvantage is that your value can go down as well as up.

Jim's Story continues...September 2013

Jims Story. . Continued. .

So let’s recap…. Jim has Mortgage protection cover for himself and his partner that he took out years ago when he got a mortgage. He has had two children since he last looked at his family’s financial protection. His mind was focused on reviewing his cover when a work colleague gets ill and he decides to review his family’s protection.

After discussing and reviewing Jim’s personal circumstances, we were able to discuss how much Life and Serious Illness cover Jim should consider. He had a tight budget so we were limited in how much cover we could setup. We first worked out how much cover Jim would ideally like to have and then we started to try and fit this cover into his budget.

Ideally, Jim wanted to have this cover for at least 20 years, so that his children would be adults (not so dependent on Jim) by the time the cover ceases. He also wanted to have the same amount of Life and Serious Illness cover to protect his family if he died or was struck down with a serious Illness.

The term of the plan affects the cost of the cover. In Jim’s case, he wanted to keep as much cover as possible at the start, so we reduced his cover term from 20 years, to 10 years. But we chose an option on the policy that gave him the option to extend the term of the plan if he wanted to, during the 10 year life of the plan.

Life cover is cheaper than Serious Illness cover, so we were able to keep the amount of Life cover that Jim wanted. The premium was still a bit higher than Jim had originally budgeted so Jim had two options. He could either reduce his serious illness cover a bit or increase his budget to match the cover he wanted.

I also discussed the same kind of cover with Jim’s wife, Clarice, who looked after the children while Jim was at work. Neither of the couple had factored in the cost to the family (childcare) if something was to happen to Clarice.

In the end, Jim and his wife had an understanding of where their family would be, financially, if either of them died, or if either of them suffered a specified serious Illness. Since we had spent time going through the different aspects of the cover, both had a much greater understanding of the cost and more importantly the value of the cover.

They were both so happy with the outcome of our meeting, they asked would I come back and help them find and review some Pension plans they had from different employment throughout the years. That is a story for another day . . .