Few of us can imagine hearing our own name - or the names of those we care for - in the same breath as ‘cancer’. And yet these dreadful words are heard by thousands of South Africans every year. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a single person unaffected by this devastating disease, either first hand, or via their close social connections. It’s a constant companion, an ominous threat that many of us try to prepare for the only way we know how: a comprehensive medical aid plan and critical illness cover. But is this product mix sufficient to support us (and our families) when we need it most?

This is the story of not one, but numerous cancer survivors who opened the door for a new approach to critical illness cover.

When FMI, a division of Bidvest Life Ltd, first set out to develop their critical illness solution in 2016, the life insurer wanted to develop a product that addresses the reality for individuals affected, to step into their shoes, and to really understand what a day in the life of a cancer-fighter is like. Mandy Cremer is one such powerhouse, whose experience held a mirror to the thousands of individuals trying to beat this destructive illness. Mandy’s story revealed a critical gap in the existing medical aid and critical illness lump sum cover predominantly sold at the time: the unexpected day-to-day costs and lifestyle changes that arise when actually living with cancer.

First, is the decision to continue working or not. With the intermittent nature of treatment, many survivors find work a welcome distraction. But even so, they’d still need to consider the financial impact of reduced working hours and time off needed for treatment and recovery - not forgetting various doctors’ appointments. For others, being able to stop working altogether and to slow down helps enormously to eliminate stress and increase their overall wellbeing. Ultimately though, both sides of this coin have financial repercussions which can add to the burden of an already pressing time.

Countless patients also discuss the importance of embracing healthier habits (such as organic diets and juicing benefits) alongside more physical measures (like personal trainers and yoga classes). For many, the emotional support found in counselling offers real relief, not only for themselves but for their loved ones too. Unfortunately, each of these aides come at an additional cost, at a time when most individuals are likely facing the challenge of one less salary to support the household.

Though not quite as tactile as the other lifestyle changes, the real trauma of a disease like cancer can be seen in the strain felt by those supporting their loved ones. The day-to-day effort of household tasks like family meals, school runs, lunchboxes and grocery shopping still need to be taken care of. Not to mention the daily demands of work and time off required to attend doctor’s appointments and chemo treatments.

It’s with all this in mind that FMI developed their unique Critical Illness (CI) Income product solution. Whilst there are many advantages to opting for lump sum cover to pay for once-off additional costs, these benefits fall far short in addressing the lifestyle related costs and daily reality of those fighting this terrible illness.

To take care of those equally important responsibilities as well as offering support for the family in need, FMI offers CI Assist. Automatically included at no additional cost, CI Assist provides services to the value of R50 000 for counselling, transport and childcare. For expert medical guidance and peace of mind, policyholders also have access to the world-class Medical Second Opinion service (at no additional charge), where they can receive an independent review of their diagnosis and treatment plan from a selection of the world’s leading medical centres.

As an adviser, when it comes to protecting your clients from a critical illness, the single most important thing you can do is to ensure they have a CI Income policy in place. So that if they ever have to hear the words ‘cancer’, rest assured you’ve provided the best possible product to support them financially and holistically, when it matters the most.

To watch Mandy's video go on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKDDCMQBcBU

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