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Sobering stats for the bulletproof client
Sobering stats for the bulletproof client

Jul 01 2022

Sobering stats for the bulletproof client

Godfrey Phillips, FChFP, JP, recalls how a client who thought he was "bulletproof" was moved by statistics for heart attack, cancer and stroke to buy insurance to protect his business and family.

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"Bulletproof.” That’s the word my client and long-time friend Frank used to describe himself any time I mentioned life insurance. I had known him for years as our field hockey club’s fitness trainer, but Frank also ran an accounting business, and we had developed a networking arrangement where we would refer clients to one another. It wasn’t until one day about 30 years ago when I shared with him the statistics for cancer, heart attack and stroke that he realized it was time to start paying attention.

I said, “Frank, you keep sending me your clients for insurance, but when are you going to do something for yourself?” Being a numbers man, Frank could see the risk to his family and business should he suffer a critical illness, become disabled or die. The numbers were the key to Frank taking out policies for income protection, business expense, critical illness and life insurance for himself, his wife and all 10 staff members in his company.

It was good timing because about five years later, at age 55, Frank suffered a massive stroke while undergoing quadruple bypass surgery. The stroke affected his speech and mobility, changing his life forever. Although he recovered from the surgery and the stroke, Frank would never work full time again. He received an immediate tax-free payment from his critical illness policy for about $600,000 and a business expense benefit of $20,000 a month for 12 months to cover his business costs and $15,000 per month income protection benefits, protecting 75% of income, his greatest future asset.

Frank underwent physical therapy, and the critical illness and business expense payouts allowed him to get better at his own pace. They also enabled Frank to enact a succession plan where he used vendor financing to sell the company, which still bears his name. In June 2013, when I returned from attending the MDRT Annual Meeting, I received a phone call from Frank telling me he had pancreatic cancer and only a few weeks to live. He wanted to be sure all his policies were in order and that his family would be secure. This sudden illness surprised me, as we had played golf some months earlier, and he was as healthy as I’d ever seen him. I assured Frank in our last phone call that everything was in place and that his wife, Val, and their two daughters would be looked after.

As Frank’s financial advisor and close friend, it is personally rewarding to have put in place all the right insurances for him, his family, business and staff, and then to see these benefits paid out in a timely manner. After all, we promised we would be there for him when he needed us most. Val remained a client after her husband’s death and continued to work in the business, but she also developed cancer. She was a fighter and held on for years, but ultimately, she also succumbed to the disease, passing the benefit on to their children. Frank was an active guy, and he and his wife tragically passed before their time. I miss them both personally, but it’s a case study in understanding that a healthy, active lifestyle makes you far from bulletproof, as Frank used to say.

Godfrey Phillips is a 38-year MDRT member from Caringbah, Australia. Contact him at gap4life@bigpond.net.au.