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Forums / Anxiety / Anxiety and Income Protection Insurance

Topic: Anxiety and Income Protection Insurance

10 posts, 0 answered
  1. Angsty
    Angsty avatar
    3 posts
    14 November 2018

    I have "own occupation" income insurance and have been on claim since 2016 for a depressive disorder and on-going anxiety, that is chronic when I'm under stress.

    My Psychiatrist has consistently said I cannot yet return to my pre-disability role and my Psychologist has said I should NEVER return to that role due to the stress levels involved.

    It was however suggested to me that it may be helpful for me to return to some sort of part time work that was relatively stress free to get some routine back into my life.

    My employer has been very supportive and created a new 'stress free' role for me for 10 hours per week. This is a much "lesser" role than my pre-disability role and not a role I ever wanted to do on a full time basis, it was just intended to get me out of the house and back into some sort of normal life.

    My insurer is now pushing me to take this new role on for more days/hours, which I do not wish to do. Nobody wants to take a massive down step in their career.

    I was sold 'own occupation' insurance on the basis that if I couldn't perform my pre-disability role, I wouldn't have to work at all if I wasn't able to perform the duties of my previous role. Now the insurers are trying to tell me, and I quote:

    "Your Income Protection is essentially own occupation cover as you are protecting your income in the event that you can't perform the duties of that occupation. No matter what occupation you return to when you are medically able, you will always earn income as though you are performing your original occupation. There are no Income Protection policies that will continue to pay full benefits if you are medically capable of returning to work."

    My interpretation of this, is that if a surgeon could not perform surgery anymore, but could work in a gas station, that he would be forced to work five days a week in a gas station. He would be paid by the insurance company for the difference between his role as a surgeon versus his role as a gas station attendant, but how depressing to go from one role to the other.

    I have contacted a solicitor and he believes I can't be forced into 'any' occupation if I cannot perform my 'pre-disability' occupation. But I see a legal battle coming.

    I don't want to be forced into a menial job on a full time basis, when I was sold 'own occupation' insurance (at a much higher premium) on the assurance that if I couldn't perform my pre-disability role I wouldn't be forced to take on a lesser job.

    Anyone been through this?

  2. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
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    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    16 November 2018 in reply to Angsty

    Hi Angsty and welcome to our community forums

    Your situation certainly sounds very difficult for you. I haven't been through what you are experiencing so probably can't help you much.

    What I'm though doing is responding so your thread will get bumped to the top again.

    If you want to, do a search of our forums to see if there has been anyone else with a similar situations as yourself. Feel free to join their discussions that are recent (posts that are old - probably won't help much).

    Kind regards

    PamelaR

  3. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
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    geoff avatar
    15269 posts
    18 November 2018 in reply to Angsty

    Hello Angsty, a good thread to post because getting income protection insurance only pays a proportion of your gross salary, about 60 - 65%.

    These are always easy to take out and pay their monthly premiums, any company always wants to accept your money but when it's time to pay out, then that's when the payee has to always discuss/dispute what the company decides on paying out.

    I would be careful taking on a lesser job because when the policy is up for renewal then the company might be changing their mind about insuring you because you can work.

    Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. BeforeCare
    BeforeCare avatar
    15 posts
    24 May 2020
    Angsty,

    I realise this post was two years ago but curious to what happened.
    Did you start full time at the lesser job, stay at same hours or not return?
    I empathise with you needing to work but not in the higher respected position and how this may detter your self esteem.

    I am in similar situation, where IP have offered re-training for when I am capable of returning to some form of work but any other position will not be what I wanted/or initially chose for my career in which I am insured for "own occupation" that I can not now perform. Isnt that the point of the insurances- to protect me financially if I am unable to work in my own occupation?

    If I retain in another field of work, will that then remove the possibility of an "own occupation claim" if I can never work again in my initail chosen career?

    I can't foresee me being able to work at any capacity while maintaining and balancing the rest of my life (ie caring for children and keeping house liveable). What comes first- the importance of returning to work or being able to look after myself and my kids?

    I tried to rtw and not only was it a disaster at work, my home life fell to pieces. It was my idea to try to rtw...to prove to myself that I could but I am not ready. How do I explain this to health professionals? Im finally (after having 6 months mostly not working) starting to feel better, I am managing my anxiety/depression and starting better routines. I've even started a gym program and getting out to meet people again. How with mental health and with me managing symptoms well now, do I keep it this way?

  5. Whatsinaname
    Whatsinaname avatar
    119 posts
    24 May 2020 in reply to BeforeCare
    Hi everyone,

    In my job I deal with a lot of insurance, including income protection.

    The best advice I can give you is read you PDS (Product Disclosue Statement) asevery company is going to be different.

    What "should" happen if you return to work while on claim is the insurance will cover the short fall, but again you'd have to read your PDS.

    You can insure up to 75% of your income.
  6. BeforeCare
    BeforeCare avatar
    15 posts
    25 May 2020 in reply to Whatsinaname
    Thankyou for your reply.

    The PDS does not exactly advise. I understand whilst under temporary benefits it covers a great portion of my income- and if I can work in any position, even if still unable to go back to my position (and renumeration) it will supplement the difference.


    I suppose back to Angstys example- if A surgeon is on IP claim, and is supported or retrained to be an telephone councellor because they will never be able to perform surgery again due to loss of eyesight, their income over a lifetime is drastically less but because they have retrained, the once very respected surgeon with million dollar commitments can work but never be able to claim TPD for 'own profession' as they are now a a trained professional counsellor. So being happy working and thought they were doing the right thing but needs to sell their mansions etc because they now will no be able to pay.

    They had millions of $$ they could have claimed for "own occupation" but while waiting on IP, became skilled and capable of performing another occupation which made them ineligible for TPD.

    Yeah...it's complicated.

    Probably much more of a legal advice question...I was hoping to hear back about others personal experiences with the same



  7. Whatsinaname
    Whatsinaname avatar
    119 posts
    25 May 2020 in reply to BeforeCare
    TPD is vastly different to IP, as it is a lump sum payment not an income supplement.

    If a surgeon has an own occupation rating and is able to make a claim they will be paid out the lump sum whether they return to work in another capacity or not.

    I hope that helps somewhat
    1 person found this helpful
  8. Angsty
    Angsty avatar
    3 posts
    3 October 2021 in reply to BeforeCare

    Apologies BeforeCare, I haven't been on this site for some years, so I did not see your reply to my post.

    As an update, I pushed back on the insurance company wanting me to increase my hours/days in my reduced capacity role and stuck with the 10 hours I had signed on for. Seems I was within my rights and within the terms of my policy in doing this, as the insurance company has continued to pay me to date and have backed off on pressuring me to increase my hours. It wasn't a seamless process, and whilst I did not end up having to go legal on the matter, I did have to fight and believe I will have to jump ongoing hurdles at intervals in order to continue being paid.

    The irony is, every time the insurance company forces me to jump one of these hurdles, it causes so much stress and anxiety, that it worsens my condition. Their aim is obviously to get me "off claim", however, their actions do nothing but induce anxiety, which keeps me "on claim".

    Of course, I have to continue to provide reports from my Psychiatrist attesting to the fact that I cannot return to my pre-disability role in order to receive ongoing payments, but this is not a problem as I have a genuine mental health condition and reduced capacity to deal with stress, making return to my pre-disability role impossible.

    I'm interested to know how you have gotten on with your mental health and your dealings with your IP provider. Have you returned to work in your previous occupation? Of course looking after yourself and your family should outweigh any pressure to return to work and your IP should pay out if you are unable to return to your previous profession. I hope this has occurred for you.

    Again, I'm sorry it has taken so long for me to reply to this post. I hope you are well and living a good life and please do reach out if there's anything you'd like to discuss.

    If anyone else out there is dealing with an insurance company in relation to Income Protection Insurance for mental health issues, I'd love to chat with you. It often feels like a lonely place to be in and a difficult world to navigate.

  9. BeforeCare
    BeforeCare avatar
    15 posts
    16 November 2021 in reply to Angsty

    My IP has been (surprisingly) fantastic.

    I really do want to get back to where I was one day but am just not up to it, it's enough managing current workload (not in role as high as I was in when it all started though)

    My claim won't last forever so I have talked with psychologist about a long term plan which I will need to be able to ever go back and work at that level.

    So far there's no pressure from the IP to do more than I am but that would be likely due to the GP reports too.

    Overall I feel like Im just skimming by. I came back to the forums to get more help now actually

    But I just can't pinpoint what's wrong but I just know I'm not alright

  10. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11215 posts
    16 November 2021 in reply to Angsty

    Hi Angsty...and a wave to BeforeCare for the helpful post

    I understand why you are seeking others input where IP's are concerned...After you have paid your premiums you want to have some benefit after experiencing a 'tired mind' or any psychological issues

    I worked my way through chronic anxiety/panic attacks in senior corporate roles....which is my own problem as untreated issues can leave us vulnerable or even exacerbate any symptoms we are currently experiencing. Dealing with a career/ mental health combined with insurance can be a rocky road to travel...you are strong

    Just bumping up your thread so members are aware of your situation :-)

    my kind thoughts

    Paul

    2 people found this helpful

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