Life doesn’t always give you notice when it comes to watershed moments. For Scott Duncan and his partner Courtney, a ‘day like any other’ turned out to be one of those moments, when a head-on car crash nearly put everything at stake.
“I’m just a young bloke”
Then in his late-20s, Scott was the typical young Kiwi bloke. He was fit, young and healthy. He had a partner, Courtney, and a great job as a builder in Cambridge.
Life was looking up, and buoyed by that confidence, Scott was actually considering cancelling an Insurance policy he had with the bank. But Courtney was hesitant because – as their SHARE financial adviser, Jim Dowsett recalls – Scott was well-known amongst his group of friends for being quite accident-prone.
Being familiar with Scott’s personal history, Jim thought disability insurance could be a good fit, especially for a self-employed builder. He thoroughly reviewed Scott’s circumstances and came back with some options and recommendations. Scott eventually opted for a mix of mortgage repayment protection, life insurance and trauma cover.
And then, years later, a tranquil Summer afternoon saw Scott’s life take a dramatic turn for the worse.
It happened in an instant
That Saturday, 22 February 2014, started like any other day. But around 4 pm, while Scott was driving between Cambridge and Hamilton, an oncoming car suddenly crossed the centre line and collided head-on with his work van.
Scott was transferred to Waikato hospital, unconscious and in critical conditions, and there he would remain in a drug-induced coma for
several days. He was lucky to be alive.
His SHARE adviser Jim Dowsett heard about the accident, and immediately took action.
“I rang Courtney, she was at the hospital and Scott was in intensive care,” says Jim. “I told her I would request the claim forms immediately from their insurance provider, Fidelity, and then I would come over to the hospital and bring the forms with me, to get them signed off.”
Meanwhile, Jim also rang the insurance provider, explained the situation to them and, as the claims progressed, kept all parties involved up-to-date.
“The provider started paying them almost immediately, and Scott also received an extra sum because he’d broken specific bones, which was part of the policy that I had put in place for him. Plus, thanks to a Family Member Benefit, Courtney could stay home and take care of him for a couple of months.”
Eventually, Scott was released from the hospital. And that’s where things took another heartwarming turn.
Turning a challenge into a life-changing opportunity
“Not long after Scott returned home, my wife Chris and I arranged to pick him up and take him out for lunch, for a bit of a breather,” Jim says.
Jim and Chris wanted to know how the recovery was going, and whether he was planning to continue as a builder. When Scott said he would probably not be able to, Jim came up with a solution.
“The Disability Insurance payments he was receiving each month meant they didn’t have to sell their house or go bankrupt. And importantly, there was an allowance in his insurance benefit to re-train. So we helped him get his re-training plan underway, with the provider, Fidelity, paying an extra 50 per cent as monthly benefit.”
Thanks to this allowance, Scott was able to go to Polytech and study for a year to become a quantity surveyor.
“He is currently a project manager, and he’s actually earning more now than he was ever going to earn as a builder,” says Jim, who occasionally sees Scott and Courtney for their periodic Insurance reviews. “He loves his new job, and Courtney’s back to work too. They have a little son now, and for them, life’s good.”
The importance of good advice
When the unexpected hit, Scott and
Courtney experienced the value
of insurance advice
first-hand. They were fortunate enough to have an experienced adviser like Jim Dowsett in their corner, who was ready to go the extra mile for them.
“If it wasn’t for Jim’s knowledge and guidance, we would never have thought to have these covers in place,” Scott says. “Like most people, and especially young people, I never realised the value of insurance and a good adviser until my accident.”
For Jim, making sure that people receive the right amount of money at the right time is the most fulfilling part of his job. And it has been his life for the past twenty years, ever since he quit his career as a builder to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“My father Fred was a successful adviser himself for many years. Unfortunately, he died when he was 49, and I remember that my mother didn’t have to go back to work because she had enough cover in place to pay off the mortgage and look after us for a number of years. It gave her time to breathe,” Jim recalls.
“As an Insurance adviser, I think that empathy is probably the most important trait to have, and I want my clients to know that I’m not just going to put a policy in place for them. I’ll be in touch every year just to see how they are doing. And if anything goes wrong, I’ll be meeting them at the hospital or whenever they need me to, with their claim papers to sign.”
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