I have been fortunate in that my clients have required very few claims in my 14 years in the business. I always tell my clients that I hope that they never have to make use of risk products they take out with me, but if they are required, they turned out to be the best investments they had ever made.

The two claims I have experienced, both had personal connections. In the first case, it was one of my closest friends. He sat down on a bench at the side of the hockey pitch after a Saturday morning game, complained of a sore chest, and had a massive heart attack. There was a doctor sitting next to him, and the paramedics were there in ten minutes, but he couldn’t be saved. He was 36.

His widow (they had been married for two years), at least had one less thing to deal with, having the bond on their house fully covered, with a small amount left over for her immediate needs. She was not able to continue working, being absolutely devastated by her loss.

This was also a lesson in doing a will properly. I had repeatedly told my friend to redo his will since his wedding. He had assured me that he would update it with his private banker at a major South African Banking institution. This Bank had no record of a new will, and the one they had on file left all the assets to my friend’s father. Luckily, he waived his claim to the estate, and the wife put in a claim against the estate, and after 18 months, we finalised the transfer. This Bank was slow, uncaring, and inefficient.

My other claim was for another friend. A very healthy 45-year-old woman. Three weeks after the inception of the dread disease cover policy, she lay down in bed one evening and heard something break inside her head. She had had a massive aneurysm. She was able to get to the phone and call someone, before passing out. She was incredibly lucky and made a full recovery. Liberty paid her a 25% claim before she had even paid her first premium. She still sings my praises.

In both cases, they illustrate just how unknown the future is, and how we cannot predict what our clients may need. It also makes it clear how we need to make sure that there are no gaps in the cover, because covering someone for one need and leaving another need uncovered, leaves the client vulnerable.

I hope that my client’s never have to use all the risk products I have put in place for them, but as these experiences have proved, a small contribution can make a life-changing difference.

By Marc Joubert, Prism Financial Advisor