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‘There’s just one thing’

Haresh Daswaney, CFP

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How critical illness coverage helped a client afford care in a foreign country.

About 20 years ago, I was referred to a successful merchandiser working at a reputable garments factory in Hong Kong, China. The merchandiser, whom I’ll call Sunil, was in his mid-40s, married with a young son. He was very receptive to my presentation, asked all the right questions and applied for a HKD 250,000 life insurance policy.

He went for the medical examination and passed with flying colors. The application was approved and the policy was issued. When I delivered the policy, I reviewed his needs and carefully explained the benefit would be paid upon his death, at any time, by any cause, anywhere in the world.

At that time, our company had just launched policies offering critical illness coverage, and I was keen to be among the first to make a CI sale. After I finished explaining his policy details, I said, “There’s just one thing: If you had a heart attack last night but were alive today, do you know how much you would receive from this policy?”

He didn’t answer. I said, “You would receive nothing.” He was shocked.

I asked him how long he thought he would need to recuperate and if his employer would continue paying him his salary during this time. Again, he was silent.

I pulled out another application for critical illness coverage; I’d already completed it but left the amount blank. I had already spoken to our underwriter to pre-approve an amount of CI coverage, based on his perfect health. He applied for an additional HKD 250,000, and the second policy was issued a week later.

Fast forward five years. His brother, who is an American citizen, sponsored his family to immigrate to the U.S. Fast forward another six months. He calls me one night and says in a weak voice, “Haresh, how are you?” I said, “Hey, I’m great! How are things with you?”

“Not so good,” he said. “I had a mild cardiac infarction last week.” The example I had related to him all those years ago unfortunately had come true. “We haven’t been able to get any medical insurance here because my citizenship is still being processed. Can my critical illness policy cover me?”

I answered, “Yes!”

I realized the amount of a little more than $30,000 may not be sufficient to take care of all his medical bills, but it was enough to tide him over for the time being.

After making arrangements to process the claims documents from our operations department in Hong Kong, the claim was settled in a month’s time, and the proceeds were wired to him in the U.S.

A few weeks later, I received a note from him: “Haresh, thanks for selling me that first policy, and for scaring me into taking the second!”

Haresh Daswaney is a 24-year MDRT member from Hong Kong, China. Contact him at haresh.daswaney@aia.com.hk.

 

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