Critical Illness Insurance - Marcelle and Darrens story

Marcelle and Darren have had critical illness insurance throughout their 19-year marriage and even when financial pressure tempted them to cancel the policy, they continued to pay their premiums. Marcelle has dedicated her life to raising a family and only works on a casual basis, so they often relied solely on Darren’s income.

“We’ve got three kids and always wanted to make sure they were protected. We have a close relationship with our adviser, and she was in regular contact to make sure our policy was right for us and our financial needs and constraints,” Marcelle says.

In October 2012, Darren had a routine blood test that revealed elevated Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA: a protein enzyme) levels which can indicate the presence of prostate cancer. Darren’s specialist continued to monitor his PSA levels and, about a year later, performed a biopsy. To Darren and Marcelle’s distress, the biopsy revealed cancerous cells in the prostate. The specialist continued to monitor the situation and performed another biopsy at the beginning of 2014. After this, Darren decided to have his prostate removed. Marcelle explained that he needed the surgery for his physical health, as well as his mental wellbeing.

“It was really doing his head in – he just needed to get it over with. Our adviser took over the claims process, handling all the interaction with TAL and all the paperwork. We submitted the claim in April and it was approved and paid in time for the surgery in May,” Marcelle explains.

Support in the most difficult time

Darren started the process in the public health system and was put on a waiting list for surgery. After consulting their adviser, Darren and Marcelle learnt they could make a claim on their TAL Critical Illness insurance policy. Marcelle’s grateful the claim came when it did – the payment meant Darren could access treatment through the private health system and choose his specialist.

“We were so relieved Darren could be treated in the private system and select his own doctor – someone he was comfortable with and trusted.”

Following surgery, Darren was discharged and instructed to rest for six weeks. Unfortunately, he had to return to hospital just a few days later with blood clots in his legs and lungs, impeding his recovery. Darren hadn’t been with his employer long, so he was on unpaid leave during his recovery and Marcelle was at home too, looking after Darren and their three kids.

“We were living week to week, treading water. We would have been in real trouble without the TAL payout,” Marcelle admits.

The claims payout covered their finances while Darren recovered and provided financial security for their future.

“It’s been such a life saver and not juxst for Darren’s health: we could cover medical expenses and we’re debt-free. We can continue on now without financial stress. That’s been such a humongous relief for me after everything we’ve been through.”

Looking ahead

Marcelle was a tower of strength throughout this testing time but, at the end of a year of heartache, she was understandably exhausted. Darren’s health is improving gradually and his blood tests are clear. He still has pain and swelling in his legs as a result of the blood clots, but he’s back at work and battling on.

“I like to think I’m a super strong person, but I don’t know if I would be able to do it much longer. It’s been a terrible year for us, and I can’t tell you how thankful we are for keeping our insurance cover in place,” she says.

Because of their payout from TAL, Marcelle and Darren can move on without financial worry, and were able to treat their three children to new bedroom furniture. They also have plans to take a holiday.

“I tell everyone I know to get insurance now. In fact, I’m having morning tea with my neighbours today and I’m going to be telling them all to check their policies!”

Claims at TAL

If you need to make a claim with TAL, their commitment is to ensure they make a real difference at a difficult time. You’ll have a dedicated case manager who’ll work with you throughout the claim, taking the time to get to know you and understand your needs. Their focus is helping you through your claim as quickly and easily as possible.

They’re also committed to:

  • Helping you understand what happens during a claim and explaining things in everyday language
  • Providing practical solutions that support your circumstances
  • Doing as much as possible over the phone and keeping paperwork to a minimum, and
  • Helping you access personalised rehabilitation services if you need them, to assist with your recovery.

Darren’s not alone. In 2017, TAL paid almost $10 million in Critical Illness claims to male ‘Accelerated Protection’ customers aged between 46 and 55. Some of the most common causes of those claims included:

  • 59 per cent cancer
  • 35 per cent circulatory system diseases
  • 4 per cent digestive system diseases
  • 2 per cent signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, eg. coma
Note: Critical Illness insurance covers only conditions that are listed in the PDS and policy document. The condition must also meet the level of severity as defined in the policy document. Please request a copy of the PDS from your adviser and read it before you make a decision to purchase this cover.