Plenty of New Zealanders regularly question whether they should keep paying their insurance premiums. We understand it gets hard at times to manage the cost. But we know first hand the difference insurance can make. Kate’s story is a testament to that. Kate and her husband took out life cover and trauma cover back in 2009. From the start they were great believers in insurance and how important it was to protect their family. And insurance did change their lives.
5 years after putting their insurance in place, Kate was diagnosed with cancer. It was discovered by chance, while she was having surgery for endometriosis. The surgeon initially thought that the lump on her appendix was part of her endometriosis, but the biopsy revealed otherwise. Kate was called to the doctor’s office where she was told she had cancer and the specialist suggested she undergo another surgery to remove it.
But Kate’s body was telling her otherwise. Her surgery for endometriosis had taken 8 hours and a great toll on her wellbeing. She did not want to have more surgery. After consulting with several specialists, they agreed that if she had regular yearly screens no treatment was needed.
4 years later, in 2018 Kate met with Sarah Kirkwood, mortgage specialist at Apex, to discuss her home loan. At the time, Kate mentioned to Sarah that she was concerned about the amount of money she was spending on her insurance and she was also thinking about increasing her life cover. Kate was supporting her son through his studies and her father had been hospitalised, so costs were creeping up.
Sarah asked Kate to speak to Stephen France, who is an insurance and investment specialist at Apex.
When talking to Stephen, Kate mentioned that she thought that they would be better off having more life cover than paying for trauma cover, but she asked Stephen whether her having had cancer would make it harder to get more cover. Kate then told Stephen about her cancer diagnosis and Stephen asked if she had claimed on her trauma insurance at the time. Kate said no: “I thought my trauma insurance was only for terminal cases, I didn’t think I could claim”.
Stephen asked Kate to look for her medical notes and fill in a claim form. Kate didn’t pay too much attention to it, in her mind there was a very slim chance she was getting her claim approved, after all she didn’t have surgery. It took Stephen several calls and follow-ups to get Kate to complete the claim form. “For that I will be forever grateful to Steve, he didn’t give up on me, he persisted”, says Kate.
The day after Kate sent her claim papers through to Stephen, he asked her to meet her and her husband after work as soon as possible. It was only then that Kate thought her claim could have been approved, but she continued to think she would only receive a partial payment. When Stephen told her she was being paid $200,000 (full payment) she couldn’t believe it. She recalls, “To be honest, I only believed it when I saw the money in my bank account”.
After she received the payment, the family chose to spend a small part of it renovating their bathrooms and buying their son a new laptop for his studies. “I even got myself a new big TV. One that I have been wanting for a while but didn’t feel I could spend that much money on, to be honest” says Kate.
The big difference the money made for them was related to their mortgage. Sarah recommended a way to restructure their mortgage which allows them to offset the money against the interest they pay, all whilst still be able to access to the money. “It is saving us $8,000 per year”.
“My husband told me that, whatever we do, we should keep the insurance for him going”, says Kate.
Although Kate continues to have regular screens, she has been healthy since her diagnosis. She appreciates the fact that she got to speak to Stephen before cancelling her policy and that the claims process was so smooth. “Mostly I’m just thankful to Steve for his patience, the only reason we received this claim payment is because he kept going to do the right thing by us”, says Kate. This is what Client First means to us.
 Kate is not our clients real name as she requested to remain anonymous. Her story and the facts in this article are all real.