The real value of advice
Dr Greg Trevaskis knows better than anyone the importance of not only having life insurance in place, but in having expert advice about what cover to hold and how much, and the most cost effective way of protecting himself and his family.
As a highly trained medical specialist, Dr Greg Trevaskis needed no convincing of the need for cover, but lacked the time and expertise to be able to research the options and choose the right cover for his circumstances. With the help of his adviser, Dr Trevaskis was well protected when he received devastating news.
In January 2012, Dr Trevaskis - a cardiothoracic anaesthetist - was admitted to hospital with stomach pains. Then 59 years old, the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer turned his whole world upside down.
Suddenly given a life expectancy of 6-12 months, Dr Trevaskis had little choice but to start 'putting his affairs in order'. With a wife and two adult children, he decided to stop work immediately, a decision made easier thanks to the comprehensive protection Dr Trevaskis had in place, including term life with a terminal illness benefit, trauma cover and income replacement insurance. The protection meant he was able to stop working without worrying about the financial consequences. And in Dr Trevaskis' mind, the removal of the financial stress from his situation has actually helped him cope with his terminal illness far better than anyone imagined. Almost three years later, Dr Trevaskis is still alive, and still being paid a regular income replacement benefit from Zurich.
But it could all have been so different.
Like many policyholders, Dr Greg started to question the value of the premiums he was paying for his protection. As a person approaching their 60s, the cost of that protection was starting to put a strain on his budget. And besides, his health seemed fine.
So in mid 2011, Dr Trevaskis approached his Financial Adviser (Andrew Richards, a Hillross adviser based in Adelaide), seeking a way to reduce his premiums. His assumption at that time was that he would have to either reduce some cover or cancel it altogether. But Andrew knew differently, and by lengthening the waiting period on Dr Trevaskis' income replacement policy (a bit like raising the excess on a car insurance policy) he was able to reduce the premium substantially without reducing the actual insured benefit. In simple terms this meant Dr Trevaskis would need to be disabled (and unable to earn pre-disability income from his usual occupation) for a slightly longer period of time before benefits became payable, but once payable, the benefit was the same amount as originally insured.
The savings made through this one change meant - thankfully - the term life and trauma cover could be left untouched.
Six months after that meeting, Dr Trevaskis received the news no one wants to hear.
Still defying the odds nearly three years later, and still receiving income replacement benefits from Zurich, Dr Trevaskis' story is highly emotional, yet also uplifting and educational at the same time.
So he could share his story, and reinforce to everyone the value of the right protection and the value of expert financial advice, Dr Trevaskis agreed to go on camera. You can see the result for yourself above.