Seven years after cancer, insurance review leads to pay out

A savvy advisor with a sharp eye resulted in an unexpected windfall for a Dunedin family.

Fiona Keenan inherited Holly and James* as clients when an advisor retired. In their initial meeting they mentioned that James had a gene that predisposed him to stomach cancer and had had surgery to remove his stomach.  

When Fiona was conducting her annual review of their policies she noticed a medical insurance claim for the surgery, and followed up with a phone call to Holly.

“I just wanted to double check what the claim was for and Holly said ‘He had cancer’,” recalls Fiona. “They had trauma cover but hadn’t made a claim at the time.”

Holly was surprised to hear from Fiona. “I was wondering what was wrong – you don’t expect to hear from your advisor out of the blue!”

When James’s sister was diagnosed with stomach cancer, research on the extended family found a gene that caused a predisposition. James was tested and found out he had the gene.

He explored the option of having his stomach removed as a preventative measure and travelled to Auckland to see a specialist. The specialist conducted testing and found he already had stomach cancer and surgery was fast tracked.

This urgency was what caught Fiona’s eye when reviewing the medical insurance claim.

Fiona encouraged Holly and James to try and make a claim, while managing their expectations – as seven years had passed since the surgery. It took Holly a few months to track down all the information they needed and she had low expectations of anything coming from it.

“I will never forget the day Fiona called us,” she remembers. “It was a Friday afternoon, and she called and told us the claim had been accepted and we were receiving $250,000.”

Fiona was on leave and travelling internationally but couldn’t wait to make the call. “The insurer, AIA, was amazing to work with and were really happy that they could pay out,” said Fiona.

For James and Holly it was life changing. “We ate oysters that night, and then were able to pay off a large part of our mortgage,” said Holly. They also used the money to make memories and provide support to their wider family.

“Fiona has been amazing,” said Holly. “She is so good at her job and I know that when she is doing a review she is actually reviewing everything, it isn’t just an automatic process. She was really patient with how long it took me to gather the information, and once I had everything she came and helped fill out the forms.”

Following the surgery James was off work for three months, and was then able to return to light duties in his role as a firefighter, and is now doing well.

If you want to know more about the value of regular reviews of your policies or find out about trauma cover get in touch with one of our advisors.

*Names changed

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