• Rob Vitnell

AFRM Referral Partner Newsletter - 2 December 2020


As a tumultuous and challenging year draws to a close, I can’t help wondering what life lessons we all may take away from it? Perhaps the most basic lesson might be to never take anything for granted; certainly not ours, nor our clients’ health! It has been shocking to see a global pandemic, with no cure, confirmed to have infected more than 63m people globally and resulting in the deaths of more than 1.4m people. [Source – World Health Organisation.] It quite literally changed the way we all live our lives day-to-day and, of course, how we socialise. COVID-19 has certainly been something that blind-sided us all but in a recent AFRM advisers’ meeting we got to talking about what actions we can take in our day-to-day lives to minimise the threat posed by disease or at least how can we get an early diagnosis to facilitate early treatment? As always, we were workshopping ways to continue to deliver better financial and better health outcomes for our clients and yours.

And at one point the discussion focused on several clients who had recently had “surprise” diagnoses of prostate cancer. The word “surprise” was used because each of these men were otherwise pretty fit and healthy and had not been exhibiting symptoms. It was purely because they had taken the time to have a medical check-up done that the presence of the disease was discovered. That led me to consider that as advisers we should never lose sight of those “every day” health risks that we should remind our clients to keep an eye out for. What are the health checks and tests that men and women should never put off? I found some good information on the topic on the government-funded, not-for-profit, health education site, https://www.healthdirect.gov.au. For both men and women, it highlights the need to participate in the Federal Government’s national Bowel Cancer screening program for every Australian over the age of 50. For women, specifically, Health Direct encourages the following regular tests:

For men, Health Direct recommended the following as essential regular tests:

Interestingly, the site also flags that men often suffer from undiagnosed Depression and urges readers to visit beyondblue’s Man Therapy website for resources to help with mental problems. From the whole team at AFRM, may I say how much we appreciate the positive relationships we have with all of our respected referral partners. Thanks again to those of you who donated to AFRM’s teams competing in the annual Push-Up Challenge earlier this year, helping us raise $4,625 (towards the national total of over $5m) to help address mental health issues in Australia. We look forward to continuing to provide the best possible financial risk advice to your clients into the future and wish you, your teams, and your clients the happiest possible Holiday Season. May 2021 bring us all much more joy and prosperity. Sincerely,

Rob Vitnell Acting Managing Director AFRM

Case Study


“I never imagined that from age 48, I would be unable to work ever again…”
“…Since my TPD claim has been accepted I feel stirrings of hope about the future. I don’t know what it will hold, and it’s still hard to accept I will not work again, but now I have the financial security to take the time and find out who I am in this next part of my life.”

This month we offer special thanks to Jenny (named change to protect client privacy) who volunteered to share her story, in her own words, in the hope that it will help others.


Following is Jenny’s account of her experience working with AFRM:


I never imagined that from age 48, I would be unable to work ever again.


I had worked as a lawyer for 25 years, the last seven years as a barrister.


Prior to starting out as a barrister (around 2011) I met with Daniel Musumeci from AFRM, who arranged continuation cover for income protection insurance and reviewed my TPD cover.


In 2018, I ceased work due to crippling Anxiety, Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I contacted Dan, who handled my income protection claim on my behalf.


There was an issue around the rate of payment and Dan also managed that with a successful outcome.


It was such a relief to know I had a regular income that, if needed, would last to age 65.


Dan also discussed making a TPD claim. However, it took some time until I felt able to proceed with that, but once I was ready, Dan did an incredible job in making that claim on my behalf.


I was the worst possible client – a former lawyer with anxiety - that meant I knew every possible thing that could go wrong, and my anxiety meant I assumed every one of those things would happen to my claim.


Dan was endlessly patient and reassuring, compassionate, generous with his time, easy to contact and provided frequent updates.


Knowing what was happening with the claim at all times helped my overactive worry.


I had initially thought to have a lawyer handle my TPD claim, but I had confidence in Dan from the way he had managed my income protection claim, so I decided to have him do it.


The claim was accepted just over two months after lodging. That is a very short time for any TPD claim, but particularly so for a mental health claim.


I am now in a secure financial position. I have been able to pay off my mortgage. My home is my oasis and is critical to my sense of safety. Without my insurance I would have lost it.


Since my TPD claim has been accepted I feel stirrings of hope about the future. I don’t know what it will hold, and it’s still hard to accept I will not work again, but now I have the financial security to take the time and find out who I am in this next part of my life.


Again, AFRM offers its sincere thanks to Jenny for being willing to share her story.

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