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  • Rob Vitnell

AFRM Referral Partner Update - 7 April 2021

We have made no secret about the fact that we believe one of our unique selling points, is our long-term association with the life insurance sector, along with the volume of risk products we write, allows us to work directly with underwriters to ensure we get the best terms available for our referral partner’s clients.

We understand policies inside and out, so we can ensure your clients will get the best possible cover to suit their needs.

Whether your client is a professional seeking to protect their practice, a businessperson seeking to protect their business or simply parents seeking to protect their family, we can help.

Significantly, we are also experts in claims management. We build our advice based on what we know works at claim time and we are proud of the fact that we have achieved more than $200 million in claims paid to our clients.

When it matters most, we believe that it is our experience that makes the difference. So, when things go wrong, we can get the best possible health and financial outcomes for your clients and ours.

Recently, an AFRM client sought a review of insurances in his current financial risk management plan with a desire to reduce the amount of monthly insurance premiums required.

Simon [name changed to protect client privacy] is an administrator and long-term AFRM client. His current insurance policies include Income Protection (IP) and Total and Permanent Disability.

As at the beginning of 2021, monthly premiums levels for his insurance policies had become his second highest monthly expense, just behind the monthly spend on food and groceries.

During our advice process, compiling the documentation to seek pricing on new policies from a different insurer, the new insurer became concerned about a passing mention of the presence of signs of arthritis in an X-Ray report related to a years-old sports injury.

Simon had cracked his kneecap while playing basketball a number of years ago and in the X-Ray report done at the time, the radiologist mentioned seeing early signs of arthritis in the knee joint.

The knee injury healed within a month and the only time Simon had had off work, was to attend the doctor at the time of the injury - and to have the X-Ray.

The knee has not troubled Simon in the years since and he also has no symptoms of arthritis.

So, when the potential new insurer advised AFRM they’d be seeking to include an exemption clause for BOTH knees in the proposed new replacement IP and TPD policies, AFRM had enough influence with the underwriter to challenge the ruling.

We asked, why put an exclusion on both knees?

We asked, what risk Simon’s knees really represent to a major insurer when the benefit amounts were fairly modest, and that Simon is a white-collar worker?

We asked if they really believed a white-collar worker could end up totally and permanently disabled, or unable to work, as a result of a knee injury?

We also reiterated that, on behalf of the client, we were seeking to replace expensive cover with a similar product that was more cost effective for the client.

Finally, we said we’d: “really appreciate a commercial decision on this, not a ‘by the book’ one.”

Before the end of that day, the insurer’s senior underwriter conceded the points raised by AFRM and agreed to allow TPD and IP for Simon with no exclusions.

Accordingly, Simon was able to confidently move forward and make the switch to new policies offering reduced premium rates; thereby reducing his monthly expenses, while still retaining the financial security of having appropriate levels of cover in place to meet the requirements of his financial risk management plan.

This is a classic example of the kind of value AFRM can add when you refer your clients to us for risk advice.

We know policy terms and conditions inside out and with the amount of risk insurance we are writing each year, we have the ear of the senior executives at all the major life insurance firms.

Those relationships can be leveraged to get the best possible terms and conditions for your clients.

Once again, if you believe it may be time for any of your clients to review their financial risk management plans, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.


Rob Vitnell Managing Director AFRM


Case Study: "Good on you Sam!"

“It’s wonderful that we have been paying all these premiums all these years and we never ever thought we’d make a claim. We didn’t even know how to make a claim.” “We didn’t even really know it was a claim. Sam [from AFRM] got involved and got us all this money and it was amazing.”

Just before 5pm on 9 February, this year, AFRM Managing Director, Rob Vitnell, got a call on his mobile number from a number he didn’t immediately recognise ‒ but he answered it, nonetheless. It turned out to be Ivy [name changed to protect client privacy], a client Rob had worked with several years ago before AFRM Adviser, Sam Brennan, took over day-to-day management of her risk advice; and also that of her husband, Kevin [name changed to protect client privacy]. After explaining who it was on the line, Ivy got straight to the reason she was calling. Rob relayed what she said: “Hi Rob. We spoke a couple of years ago. I have been working with Sam. I hope you don’t mind me calling but I wanted to give you some feedback.”

Rob was aware that Sam had assisted Ivy and Kevin with a Trauma Policy claim for prostate cancer in the second half of 2020 and that he was also pursuing a claim under Kevin’s Income Protection (IP) policy, which included a Trauma/Crisis Benefit, allowing for a monthly benefit payment in the event of suffering a Trauma and being unable to work. Ivy had called Sam in September 2020, advising that Kevin had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Sam and AFRM’s Group Risk Manager, Bev Murray, immediately initiated the claim process, advising Ivy that there were two possible claims, and commenced the process of compiling documentation for the Trauma Policy claim, given the IP policy had a 90-day waiting period before benefits are assessable/payable. Sam took the lead in pursuing the Trauma claim with the insurer and by December 2020, had succeeded in securing a Trauma policy claim benefit for Kevin of almost $250,000. At that time, still within the 90-day waiting period of the IP policy, the second claim was still being prepared. With all of that background information in mind, Rob was expecting Ivy to want to talk about Kevin’s lump sum Trauma benefit payment.

Rob said: “She didn’t even want to talk about that. She said: ‘I want to talk to you about Sam.” “She said – and I quote: 'Sam is amazing. He is very professional. He is not just professional, he is sympathetic. He will ring us just to ask how Joe is going. In fact, he just rang me today which made me think I had to ring you and tell you about it. He delivered on his promise. He got the claim paid.” Rob recalled Ivy went on to say: “It’s wonderful that we have been paying all these premiums all these years and we never ever thought we’d make a claim. We didn’t even know how to make a claim. We didn’t even really know it was a claim. Sam got involved and got us all this money and it was amazing.” “The experience and the process was so good. He (Sam) was really quick. He always replies. He always helps us. He explains things simply in layman’s terms. We are not very tech savvy people. We need things explained to us simply. Sam is a brilliant person and I thank you for allowing him to work with us.” It was the kind of phone call every Managing Director dreams of getting when it comes to getting feedback about a team member’s work. As Rob said: “How good is that? You just can’t make up those words! I was madly writing it down as Ivy was talking. No one made her call me. She felt motivated enough to pick up that phone and that is special. Good on you Sam.”


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