Taking care of business

Taking care of business

Have you got protection insurance like critical illness and income protection? Assuming that it won’t happen to you is an exercise in wishful thinking, so let me jolt you from happy complacency.

It often helps to personalise the matter, so I’ll tell my story. Back in 2000, I was the financial controller and compliance officer for an IFA in Leicester. As part of my remuneration package I was offered a critical illness, income protection and life policy I have to this day. Nowadays I am paying the premium myself, but I can see me holding the policy to full term, if I don’t get to claim beforehand.

Back in 2000, health was not really a big issue, with only chronic asthma as a recurring matter. Since then I have been screened for bowel cancer and more recently for prostate and bladder cancer. It turns out that my family have the genetic markers for certain complaints and that the NHS are actively monitoring certain family lines for early stages of cancer.

I cannot say that the investigations are much fun; yesterday morning I felt that I was being lightly microwaved during a pelvic MRI scan, (you get warm from the inside out!), but that was nowhere near as unpleasant as the bowel preparation you have to drink before a colonoscopy. Drink what feels like five litres of vile vanilla tasting clear liquid, stay within 3 metres of a toilet, as within two hours you will feel like the world has fallen through you! (One small practical tip; Vimto makes it taste just a little less vile – quite why celebrities would pay good money for colonic irrigation I cannot fathom).

If anything is found, I will be able to claim on my critical illness plan; if I cannot work, I can claim on the income protection plan and if something kills me, then the life cover will pay out.

Without that cover, I would probably be a very worried man. As I am self-employed, it is very difficult to get help from the welfare system until things are very far gone and I have no employer to fall back on. I am still more than 10 years from a likely retirement, so I need to earn, both to support me, my family and also fill up my pension.

If I was employed, things would not be much better. Nurturing employers are few and far between, so an ill health diagnosis is likely to lead to redundancy in short order, notwithstanding employee protection from the Disabled Disability Act.

So, some words to the wise:

  • Illness can strike at any time; you do not get to choose!
  • You have to buy protection insurance before the claim event.
  • If you are young and healthy, it is cheap.
  • Once you are older or have issues, it will become expensive or unobtainable.
  • Get cover tailored to your circumstances; one size fits all is not a solution.
  • Genetic screening is not commonplace in protection insurance; cover criteria is likely to get tighter over time.
  • Although there is the Welfare State, the provision is patchy and it is a sticking plaster, not a personalised care solution.
  • Most employers will leave you to sink or swim; kindness is not a legal requirement.
  • High stress levels do not usually lead to good outcomes; making yourself financially secure will assist with recovery in the long term.

Talk to us for a bespoke solution designed for your circumstances after you have thought about how you would cope with no income for a few months. It does not have to be cancer that messes up your finances; a broken leg or pelvis from a car accident will have an impact for many months.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you plan and realise your financial goals then contact us at info@martin-redmanpartners.co.uk or call us on 01223 792 196.

The information contained is for guidance only and does not constitute financial advice. It is based on our understanding of UK legislation, whether proposed or in force, and market practice at the time of writing. Levels, bases and reliefs from taxation may be subject to change. Accordingly no responsibility can be assumed by Martin-Redman Partners its officers or employees, for any loss in connection with the content hereof and any such action or inaction.