Are you aware that Canadians are being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at an alarming rate, of slightly more than one diagnosis per hour, or 25 incidents per day?
Being very involved with Critical Illness (C.I.) insurance and other, often referred to as Living Benefits, I have been familiar with various statistics and incident rates of critical or debilitating events.
Let’s face it, we all focus on the so called “Big Three”, Cancer, Heart Attack and Stroke; but it Is important to remember that there are many other conditions that can affect individuals.
I have frequently recommended to younger consumers that the most important type of insurance they should initially look at is C.I. just based on statistical occurrence rates alone.
Not only are the incident rates higher for C.I. than all other Living Benefit type plans; but. C.I. insurance is the most difficult product to qualify for.
Statistics reveal that the probability of suffering a critical illness is far greater than dying over the next twenty years for all individuals, Male or Female, all the way up until age 65.
When I was first presented with the startling statistics concerning Parkinson’s Disease in Canada, my first reaction was disbelief. Then I went to various sources to research this recent phenomenon, including the Parkinson’s Society’s website.
I was shocked that I only discovered the incident rate of Parkinson’s Disease by accident and decided to see how many individuals were as unaware as I had been.
I contacted some friends in the medical field to learn if they were aware. Not one was able to guess the current rate of diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease amongst Canadians.
This recently highlighted incidence rate of Parkinson’s Disease has created a very positive marketing opportunity for my associates and me. Let me explain. My associates and I designed a Group C.I. product called TLC (Total Living Care). We believe it is the absolute best stand alone Group C.I. plan currently available; however, we’ve have discovered that traditional group benefits advisors are very rigid in their thinking and have a large RTC (Resistance To Change) component in their makeup.
They constantly review the coverages and then immediately focus on the bottom line, the cost. Normally, this type of thinking is sound; however, C.I. is one benefit that should not be selected solely on price. It is extremely important to compare and understand the definitions of various events. Just because a plan lists a number of covered conditions doesn’t mean it will be the best plan at claim time. Don’t be fooled into thinking that if your plan has the industry’s “benchmark definitions” you’re safe; in fact, you’re not.
The Parkinson’s Disease definition is a good example of the difference a good definition can make at claim time. TLC’s definition states: “Parkinson’s Disease” means a definite diagnosis by a certified neurologist licensed and practicing in Canada, that the insured has primary idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease. The insured must exhibit two or more of the following clinical manifestations: (a.) bilateral tremor; (b.) muscle rigidity: (c.) bradykinesia (abnormal slowness of movement). Exclusion: All other types of Parkinsonism are excluded from this insured covered condition.
It’s important to note that TLC’s definition doesn’t have a 365 day initial moratorium, nor does it have a qualifying period of one year, along with other requirements.
If you think I’m exaggerating how good the TLC definition is; just examine any other group C.I. plan’s wording for comparison purposes. The majority will shock you.
If you or someone close to you was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, which definition would you want them to be covered by, “benchmark” or TLC?
We hope to have an individual plan with excellent definitions in the near future; so that the incidents of denying claims due to technicalities will become a thing of the past. The Parkinson’s Disease is simply one of many definitions that should be carefully examined before a plan is recommended.
Background: R.E. (Dick) Gilbert is president of Megacorp Insurance Agencies Inc., and GCI Insurance Services Inc. He has been an Agent, Broker, GA, MGA, Exclusive MGA, product designer, industry consultant, lecturer and trainer. He and his associates have designed numerous Life plans for a dozen carriers between 1980, when they introduced the first Nonsmoker Term 10 & 20 plans, to 1994 when they launched Canada’s first successful individual Critical Illness (C.I.) plan, the world’s first guaranteed C.I. & LTC (Long Term Care (LTC) product in 2003 and an innovative group C.I. plan in 2007. Recently developed a new flexible guaranteed issue C.I. plan, TLC, for groups of all sizes, launched in 2015 and late 2016.
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