Fortunately, Valencia* had comprehensive life insurance cover with ClearView.
Egg grading, the process of classifying the exterior and interior quality of eggs, is a hard, physically demanding job. On commercial farms, eggs are collected at least once a day, transported to the grading floor, and cleaned and checked for quality.
For Valencia, an egg grader based in regional Queensland, the job required her to be on her feet all day, carrying and lifting heavy crates.
Due to their fragility, eggs need to be handled extremely carefully, placing additional stress and pressure on graders.
When Valencia unexpectedly fell pregnant in 2016, she was forced to stop working earlier than expected due to health complications related to her pregnancy.
In September that year, Valencia was overjoyed to give birth to a healthy, happy girl.
Valencia received Centrelink’s paid parental leave, which pays up to 18 weeks of the national minimum wage, but she could not afford to take too much time off, despite her high blood pressure.
By February 2017, Valencia’s condition had not improved and she was unable to return to work.
Due to financial pressure, she called her financial adviser to talk about cancelling or suspending her life insurance cover.
Only a year earlier, Valencia had sought professional advice about consolidating her superannuation.
In addition to helping Valencia manage her superannuation, her adviser recommended that she salary sacrifice into superannuation to cover the cost of comprehensive personal life insurance. At the time, Valencia only had a small amount of default group life insurance. As a result, Valencia took out life, income protection, trauma and total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance with ClearView.
When Valencia called her adviser about cancelling or suspending her cover, she was told she may be able to claim against her income protection policy.
Her adviser drove 2.5 hours from the Gold Coast to Pittsworth in Queenland’s Darling Downs region to check on her.
Valencia’s adviser helped her gather the necessary information to complete the claim form together. Her adviser lodged the form on her behalf and, shortly after, a ClearView claims assessor contacted Valencia.
ClearView arranged for a rehabilitation consultant to meet with Valencia and her doctor. After receiving the consultant’s report, ClearView assessed Valencia’s claim and back dated entitlements to November 2016. Given she had only received parental leave pay from Centrelink, which is not considered income replacement, Valencia received her maximum benefit payments.
"ClearView was incredibly supportive and the lines of communication were open and regular. Their response and approach has made a real difference to my family.”
“Any parent will tell you that if it came down to looking after yourself or looking after your children, you’d put your children first every time even if that meant rushing back to work prematurely to put food on the table. Thankfully, I didn’t have to choose,” Valencia says.
“Getting professional advice and taking out insurance has turned what would’ve been a financial disaster for me into a positive experience. The irony of it is, I originally approached (my adviser) to consolidate my super. I’d thought about insurance before but I didn’t know where to start or who to talk to. I’m so grateful I took the first step.”
In 2017, Valencia returned to work part time. It is highly unlikely she will be able to return to full time work as an egg grader for some time.
“I feel lucky that I was able to focus on getting well without worrying about money. As part of my recovery, I needed regular treatment and I had to wear compression garments that cost $700-$800 each. Ordinarily these additional, unexpected expenses - and in my case the additional cost of looking aftera child - would put enormous strain on a household,” Valencia says.
“ClearView was incredibly supportive and the lines of communication were open and regular. Their response and approach has made a real difference to my family.”
*Not their real name.