This claims case study was presented at the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) National Conference in 2014. Former AFL executive, Steve Woodhouse, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at age 50. Mr Woodhouse was fortunate to not only have appropriate cover in place to support him and his family, but also a supportive advice team to assist him with his trauma, income protection and TPD claims…
At a glance
Source: Case study presented by Steve Woodhouse at the 2014 AFA National Adviser Conference
Adviser: Ken Williams
Client: Steve Woodhouse
Claim type: Trauma, income protection and TPD
Prior to 2006, Steve Woodhouse was healthy and happy. Having embarked on a career in sports administration with the West Australian Football League from age 32, Mr Woodhouse had risen through the ranks to become the General Manager Football Operations for the West Coast Eagles Football Club.
As part of his salary package, the Board of the Club arranged insurance policies for the Club’s staff, picking up the premiums for trauma and income protection cover for Mr Woodhouse.
“I believe that was a very astute move on their part,” he said.
As well as increasing his awareness of the need for insurance, the policies led to Mr Woodhouse’s introduction to his adviser, Ken Williams.
“Ken got to know me as a client. They tailored the policies accordingly to my needs. I may not have paid enough attention to what I needed, but fortunately they did,” Mr Woodhouse said.
Making a claim
In June 2005 Mr Woodhouse was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
“You initially think of Michael J Fox and Muhammed Ali. You wonder if you’re going to die. You wonder if you’ll be able to keep working. You think you’re too young,” he recalled.
“I also started to wonder what was going to happen to me and to my family. I still had a mortgage, my wife was already working, I had investments… This is where your adviser really comes in. They are the vital person in the chain.”
A month after his diagnosis, Mr Woodhouse decided to look into whether his trauma insurance policy would cover him for his illness, and made contact with Mr Williams’ office.
“The product was terrific – the payment was made two weeks after I lodged my claim. Perhaps more importantly, the process was taken out of my hands by Ken and his team.”
Mr Woodhouse continued working until 2010, at which point his neurologist recommended he retire from the workforce.
“I once again knocked on Ken’s door and asked: ‘What do I do now?’”
With the help of Mr Williams, an income protection claim was lodged, and while Mr Woodhouse served out the waiting period, his adviser helped ‘keep him on the straight and narrow’.
He also put in a claim for TPD, which was held through another organisation and not administered by Mr Williams’ team.
“They (the other organisation) gave me no advice at all. But Ken and his team undertook to do that work for me, pro bono, and that claim was paid as well.”
“Don’t take the risk! It’s just not worth it!”
Mr Woodhouse’s personal experience has made him an advocate for insurance, and advice.
“People say it’s too expensive, why do I need it? But every time someone buys a house or a car they take out insurance. It’s amazing how we don’t do the same on our lives.”
Before his illness, when his finances were stretched, Mr Woodhouse had approached his advice team about cancelling his cover.
“I thought I couldn’t afford it. But instead of letting it lapse they helped me reduce the premiums by extending out my waiting period.”
Mr Woodhouse has also passed on his knowledge to his children.
“It’s a relief to myself and my wife that our son has insurance in place. He has the advice, and he is covered.”
From career to carer
“Retirement was a bit of a shock,” admitted Mr Woodhouse. “At age 50 I never saw myself retiring until well after 65 – it was the best job of my life. I loved getting up every day, I loved the travel, I loved everything about footy. My career opportunities in the industry were extensive.
“But it eventually got to me.My wife went from seeing me have a career to being my carer.
“Parkinson’s is a long journey and there is unimaginable frustration along the way. But my insurance and the advice provided by Ken means I have financial security. I can continue on with my life in the same fashion as I did before. It’s taken the guess work out of it. I’ve not missed a beat looking after my family.
“Life now goes at a slower pace. It’s totally different to my old life, but it’s a good life. I’m so thankful for having the insurance and the comfort of wonderful advice.”