Protecting the professionals who care for our health and wellbeing
Thursday, 5 January 2023
The most valuable thing you will ever own
Medicine is a passion for thousands of committed Australian professionals. Caring for our physical and mental wellbeing is a noble and increasingly highly technical pursuit. But the stress of wearing many hats – clinician, business owner, technical and IT guru, and not to mention counsellor to worried patients – can take its toll on Australian doctors.
The last thing you need as a practising doctor is more stress in your life when it comes to making important decisions regarding the protection of your most valuable asset – yourself and your family.
Your million-dollar future
Most medical professionals will acquire significant financial assets over their working life. A family home, superannuation savings, a share portfolio, a prestige car, perhaps an investment property or two.
And yet the biggest financial asset you’ll ever own is the one you see in the mirror every morning: you, and your ability to earn an income.
For many medical professionals, the future value of their lifetime earning potential could be several million dollars or more. Everything you plan to build – your assets, your debts, your lifestyle, your family’s security – hangs on the expectation of a substantial regular income.
But what would happen if that income abruptly disappeared for many months – or even permanently?
What if you could never work in your profession again – or even work at all?
The statistics bear this out:
Nearly 60,000 Australians were hospitalised in 2016-17 after sporting or cycling accidents, 10 per cent of them with life-threatening injuries.
Mental ill-health is an escalating problem for people of all ages – in 2019, life insurers paid $1.24 billion to over 9,500 Australians for mental health claims, with depression and anxiety disorders being the most common.
Road accidents, heart disease and breast cancer are among the top five causes of death in Australians aged 25-44.
Think you don't need insurance?
Imagine you suffered a major injury or were diagnosed with a serious illness and had to take time off work – perhaps many months – to recover.
What would losing your income mean for you financially?
- Could you afford the sometimes-huge cost of medical treatment?
- Could you keep paying your home loan or other debts?
- How long would your savings last?
- Would you be forced to go to your parents for help?
- Would your partner have to support you financially – assuming they even could?
- If you’re a partner or principal in a professional practice, could you keep paying your business expenses?
This is where insurance comes in:
- You’ll have peace of mind knowing you have a back-up plan if something goes wrong.
- You can replace your income – either temporarily or permanently if you can’t return to work.
- You can cover your mortgage payments and other debts.
- If you run your own practice, insurance can pay your fixed business expenses and hire a locum to service your clients while you’re out of action.
- If you have a partner or family, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that they won’t suffer financial hardship if something were to happen to you.
How the types of life insurance work
1. If you suffer a serious illness or injury:
This pays an ongoing monthly amount to help replace your income, so you can focus on recovering without stressing about meeting your regular living expenses. It’s also known as Salary Continuance Insurance.
This pays partners, directors or other business owners an ongoing monthly amount to cover fixed business expenses such as rent, equipment hire, staff wages and other overheads. You can also use it to hire a locum to keep things running while you’re recuperating.
Also known as Crisis or Critical Illness Cover, this pays a one-off lump sum if you suffer a serious medical condition such as cancer or heart attack. It’s paid as soon as the condition is diagnosed, and you can spend the money on whatever you like – to help with medical expenses, pay down debt, or take the holiday of a lifetime once you’ve recovered.
2. If you die or suffer an illness or injury that leaves you totally and permanently disabled:
Total and Permanent Disability (TPD)
TPD cover provides a lump sum payment if you become totally and permanently disabled and can’t return to work. These benefits are often used to eliminate debt and fund long-term medical expenses and the costs of ongoing care. The majority of TPD payouts are for mental health conditions, musculoskeletal issues and accidents.
Confusingly also referred to as Death Cover, this pays a lump sum to your estate if you die or become terminally ill. It can therefore ensure that your partner or other dependents can clear all debts – such as a home loan – and have financial security for life.
Putting a plan in place
None of us would dream of not insuring our house or car. And yet so many people don’t apply the same logic to protecting themselves.
Recovering from a serious illness or injury can be challenging enough without throwing financial stress into the mix.
By taking out a comprehensive life insurance plan you’re effectively investing in an asset that can grow and adapt to protect all the critical components of your life and career as they evolve.
However, for most busy medical professionals, researching and organising life insurance cover can seem like a time-consuming headache. But this is where an Avant Life Insurance Adviser comes in.
As experienced, life insurance advisers, working exclusively with doctors, not only do we know the product features and options in the market, but we have an intimate knowledge of doctors and the risks they face. We can provide tailored advice on the right types of covers and level of insurance for you, your family and your business. To ensure you are not paying for what you don’t need but are covered for all that you do need.
In the event you need to claim on your insurance, we can manage your claim with the insurer and remove the hassle at a time when you need to focus on you.
1. Sports injuries make their mark on Aussies: media release, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 26 February 2020.
2. Productivity Commission recommends increased life insurance funding for mental health, Financial Services Council media release, 17 November 2020 3 Australia’s health 2020, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 23 July 2020.
3. Australia’s health 2020, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 23 July 2020.
4. Mental health claims top life insurers’ TPD payouts: media release, Financial Services Council, 4 October 2019.
IMPORTANT: ‘Avant Life Insurance’ is a registered business name of Doctors Financial Services Pty Limited ABN 56 610 510 328 (DFS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Avant Mutual Group Limited ABN 58 123 154 898 (Avant). DFS is authorised to provide general advice and personal advice under Australian Financial Services Licence Number 487758 (AFSL).
The information provided in this brochure is meant to convey factual information that could be interpreted as general advice in some cases. General advice is product advice that has not considered a person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Accordingly, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs before deciding to purchase, terminate, change or continue any life insurance policy, superannuation fund or other product that you may hold with any provider. Alternatively, you should consider if you need personal advice that considers your objectives, financial situation or needs, including assessing the suitability of any existing life insurance policies you may hold.
Please contact us on 1800 128 268 if you need personal advice or if you would like more information about our factual comparison and implementation service (LIST) or visit our website for the full details of life insurance products that we distribute, including the terms, conditions, and exclusions that apply. Please read and consider the relevant policy wording and PDS before applying.