Scottie’s Story


Scottie lives in country NSW with his wife and daughter and works as a Project Manager. He was diagnosed with bowel cancer when he was 40.

Thanks to his financial adviser’s guidance, Scottie had Critical Illness and Income Protection cover. The claims payments he received from TAL provided financial support, so Scottie and his family could focus on his recovery.

Bowel cancer was the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australians in 2017.

Getting the right cover

Scottie and his adviser had been friends since 1999, before Scottie was married or had kids. She encouraged him to take up life insurance.

“I initially questioned the need, but my adviser explained that as you get older, insurance is harder to obtain. She was instrumental in organising my cover.”

With the help of his adviser, Scottie arranged Life, Critical Illness, Total and Permanent Disability, and Income Protection cover.

As his budget changed, Scottie let some of this insurance lapse. With his wife and young daughter in mind, his adviser urged him to realign his cover with his growing family. She restructured Scottie’s Income Protection through superannuation to help meet his budget, ensuring he could maintain insurance to cover his liabilities and any costs incurred through injury or illness, limiting the potential financial burden on his wife.

A life-changing moment

Concerned by some symptoms he was experiencing, Scottie made an appointment with his doctor. “

Initially, it was just a routine colonoscopy and then they found a cancerous tumour. My doctor said that it would be life changing – he was right about that.”

For Scottie, who was young, fit and taking care of his health, the diagnosis was a shock. “I was eating well, doing martial arts and Cross Fit. I thought I wasn’t a candidate for cancer.’”

As well as the pressures of his illness, Scottie was suddenly faced with a range of expenses and no income to cover them. His health insurance paid for some of treatment, but much of it had to be paid up front and then claimed back. And, living in country NSW, there were costs for fuel and accommodation with each trip to Sydney for treatment.

“Standard hospital cover pays for a lot, but only while you’re admitted. You need to pay to see the oncologist, which is $180 to $200 every time. Radiation alone cost $17,000 up front and I’d say there was over $30,000 in other medical expenses. I had to take seven chemo pills a day: each little box of those is $1,000.”

The value of advice

When Scottie told his adviser he had cancer, she confirmed his insurance policies were sufficient to see him and his family through treatment and recovery.

While he was undergoing radio- and chemotherapy prior to surgery, Scottie’s adviser managed the claims process with a dedicated Case Manager at TAL, keeping him informed but letting him focus fully on his health.

“You have to fight the illness hard. It’s like getting into the ring and part of that is contending with financial worry. TAL removed the stress of that so I could focus on fighting.”

Scottie’s Case Manager supported him and his adviser through the process and ensured his claim was approved as quickly as possible.

Within 48 hours of approval, Scottie’s Income Protection benefit payment was released. His Critical Illness claim was paid the week before he was scheduled for surgery.

Looking ahead

Scottie underwent surgery and, after another round of chemo, was given the all clear. “We caught it in the nick of time; the cancer hadn’t gotten into my lymph system, but it was almost there.

“I’m confident that I’ll be fine, but you count your blessings. I had major surgery, a long recovery and much of my lower bowel removed. Not quite what I had planned.”

Having access to his claims payment meant Scottie didn’t have to wait for treatment. He was able to get the treatment he needed immediately. And he believes this should be a warning to those without insurance.

“People don’t understand that once you’ve already had a condition, it has a huge bearing on your ability to apply for cover. You need to get it when you’re young and healthy, so you’re protected for life.

“You might think getting insurance is too much effort, but it’s really not difficult. Yes, there are some forms. And I was really busy at the time, but a nurse actually came to my house to do the initial medical. And it’s always a good idea to get checked out. The benefit return makes it an absolute no-brainer.”

Scottie later claimed on his Income Protection cover with TAL, giving him peace of mind during his recovery and letting him take a holiday with his family.

“I would be in a world of pain if my adviser and TAL hadn’t been there. I’d probably be bankrupt, and maybe not here.”

Claims at TAL

If you need to make a claim with TAL, our commitment is to ensure we 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.

We’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
  • Providing personalised rehabilitation services if you need them, to assist with your recovery.