Denise Williams, an FMI (a division of Bidvest Life Ltd) #21Lives policyholder, celebrated her 60th birthday in early 2016 with the announcement of her daughter’s miracle pregnancy. A month later, she embarked on an adventurous biking holiday and shortly after that, she enjoyed a more tranquil getaway to Zanzibar. Life couldn’t be better.

Within days of welcoming her baby granddaughter into the world, in August that year, Denise and her family were devastated when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. But refusing to credit her disease with any more power than it already had, Denise faced this news head-on and embraced the strength of those around her. She was determined to get the better of this illness. “I decided from day one that I was going to see my granddaughter turn 21 and this cancer was not going to beat me,” she says.

Before her diagnosis, when discussing which insurance policy would best suit her personal and familial needs, Denise had no idea that - after much persuasion from her financial adviser, Jane Engelbrecht - selecting the Temporary Income Protector benefit with life insurer FMI, would be a proverbial saving grace.

"The first thing when diagnosed with an illness like this, is you worry financially. If it wasn’t for my FMI policy, I don’t know what I would’ve done,” Denise says. With FMI’s Temporary Income Protector benefit, Denise received 100% of her income for 7 months and 50% for another 2 months. What’s more, she received her first 2-month payment upfront, thanks to FMI’s comprehensive Defined Events claims criteria (paid irrespective of whether Denise worked or not).

With the right insurance policy in place, Denise was able to take on the lifestyle changes necessary to continue living her best life possible. Optimising her well-being by juicing fruits and vegetables daily, taking up yoga and even being able to afford a premium-quality wig as she underwent chemo treatments, Denise was able to press forward.

Today, FMI’s product has evolved to what is a first-to-market Critical Illness Income solution. “We’ve made our market-leading Temporary Income Protector benefit even better by adapting it to meet the specific needs of a critical illness through our CI Income benefit,” says FMI CEO, Brad Toerien.

“When we initially set out to develop this product, we first spoke to individuals fighting serious illness like cancer, so that we could better understand their daily challenges, in order to offer a solution that addressed these needs. And, whilst no-one should have to go through the trauma of dealing with a critical illness, it helps to know that if you do, you can depend on your FMI CI Income cover to ease the financial, emotional and logistical strain so that you can focus on getting better.”

For a small additional premium, policyholders with the Temporary Income Protector (TIP) benefit can opt for Critical Illness Income cover, which pays 130% of the TIP cover amount for 12 months (less the waiting period), whether you work or not.

In addition to the actual 12-month income benefit, FMI’s Critical Illness cover automatically includes two additional benefits at no additional cost:

  1. CI Assist: Fighting cancer is a life-changing, emotionally-taxing experience that affects the whole family. The CI Assist benefit provides additional services like counselling, transport and childcare, up to the value of R50 000.
  2. Medical Second Opinion: policyholders have complementary access to the world’s leading medical centres for an independent review of their diagnosis and treatment plan – giving brave customers, like Denise, peace of mind that they are receiving the best treatment possible. And for an extra R10pm, their whole family can have access to this benefit.

To watch Denise’s story, go to

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