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?