I lost someone to SARS CoV-2 virus today. Someone, whom I knew as an energetic young man, doting father of two lovely girls, and above all a much-loved Football Coach around downtown Mumbai.
The 80000+ death toll count in India caused by the virus was mere statistics to me, something that you watch happening on a TV screen in front of you. You are just a silent observer, not having felt how real all those deaths can be.
Then you lose someone close to you and in a heartbeat, you are forced to take possession of that loss as it becomes your reality. Memoirs of such incidents may have just flashed your mind too, we all are in the same boat comprehending the loss. My friend’s family is struggling to come to terms with the loss of a person who was so alive and whose birthday they celebrated a week ago. They have to contend with the detail that he suffered alone and was put to rest without his friends and well-wishers being able to see him one last time.
In a way, not seeing him sick was better. Because, in our memories, we have only that happy and exuberant version of him. May that Legend Live on forever.
It is from a Facebook post that I came to know about the advanced stage of his infection and that he was in the Intensive Care Unit with the disease spread to his lungs. The post was shared by a friend seeking crowdfunding, as the medical insurance was not sufficient to cover the expenses.
The pandemic, which struck out of the blue, have laid out our vulnerabilities raw and naked.
The huge medical bills caught the common man off guard. The treatment bills ranged anywhere from Rs 50,000–2 lakh (due to increasing cost of consumables, patient distancing in hospitals, etc.) and to Rs 6-7 lakh or more where co-morbidities are involved or treated in expensive hospitals.
Health Insurance covers “everything” is a myth. You need to have a Lakh or Two Sum Insured, is another erroneous belief. For the record, Medical Insurance does not cover the consumables like PPE kit, sanitizers, and everything essential for maintaining a quarantined atmosphere for the patient until otherwise specified. Listing them as consumables means that “You have to pay actuals” at the counter before stepping out of the hospital. Regardless of having a medical Insurance, patients or the next of kin end up paying a huge amount to the hospital from their own pocket as the bill swelled due to these consumables which the Insurance Company did not cover. This is prima facie a case of individual ignorance and advisor negligence.
Insurance regulatory bodies left the option to the Insurance Companies and some came up with Policies only for Corona which gave a cover of 2.5 to 5 Lakhs benefit in case of positive case hospitalization irrespective of the medical bills.
My partner being a Financial Advisor, I have real-time experience with the perpesctive, most Indians have about Medical and Life Insurance. I have heard people arguing that “I am not going to get admitted in the hospital every year, so the money which I pay as yearly premium is a waste “
The human brain is wired to have an “It won’t happen to me “approach. But in India, reports state that there is one death every 4 minutes due to road accidents, one cybercrime every 10 minutes, and an all-time rise in health issues due to the sedentary lifestyle. And this was way before Covid-19 added to the mortality statistics.
With Covid19, what started as a health-related issue had a domino effect as it toppled, economy, industries, societal structure, and mental health of people. Staying under lockdown for months, killed the fighting spirit and replaced it with a “Devil may care” stance. The needless risks and “It is just like a viral fever”, “I can’t hide forever.” I will get it someday, so why not now “thoughts, contributed to India leading the upward trajectory of new cases being added daily.
The pandemic hit the daily wagers and the middle class harder than anyone. People who thought that “It cannot happen to me” realized that it may happen to anyone in the blink of an eye and that they are not ready for the same.
When I hear about the death of an earning member of a family, along with processing the bereavement, I also think, was he/she insured? I am not advocating or selling policies here. I just want to lay down the bitter truth for people who are alive and healthy as my family had a stressful time due to my departed father, not believing in any sort of Insurance. If you love your spouse or your children, then you should get your life insured.
Death is the only thing that is certain in life and yet we are uncertain as to when it would come calling. Even the most prepared person is unprepared to die, however ironic that sounds.
The least one can do before you leave your mortal life behind is, along with the grief and vacuum, add a substantial blanket of financial security in the form of Life Insurance. It may not be enough to support your dependent survivors for a lifetime, but it would be enough to press restart, the button which stopped when you had to terminate and exit the game of Life.
The current survey shows that 75% of all Indians are not covered by any form of life insurance.
Experts say insurance is one of the most misunderstood or the least understood tools in the financial planning process of individuals. While the importance of insurance has certainly increased over the years, people still do not consider it as one of the top priority products that they should have in their portfolio when they are planning their financial investments.
If you have not insured your life yet, I wish I can convince you that it is a necessity, by stating two very obvious reasons and help you strike off Life Insurance from the list which you have shelved in a box labeled “Things to do Later”
1) The current situation has underlined the fact that life enrolls us in a game of uncertainty when we least expect. Insurance can ensure that while we cannot mitigate completely those inconsistencies, at least we can have the peace of mind that the financial aspect of our families will be taken care of upon the occurrence of any such eventuality.
2) The majority of us have taken loans. Be it for buying a house, or vehicle or education, we are often paying a good amount as monthly payoffs to our lenders. However, in case one of the earning members happens to pass away suddenly, the burden of all these loans and debts falls directly on the dependents, which is a huge financial burden. With a life insurance policy, this is one worry less to be distressed about as the sum assured from the life insurance policy can help the family take care of such liabilities, without compromising their needs.
Having peace of mind is very important to lead a carefree life. With life insurance, that is exactly what you get. It eases your mind from being strung about what happens to your family’s financial well-being when you are not around. Given that tragedy can strike at any time, having a life insurance policy will at least set you at ease that your loved ones are provided for.
You do not always get to see the Grim Reaper until he is facing you, waiting for the last grain of sand to fall from the hourglass. You may have many regrets then, about all the things that you failed to do when you had the time. Let, not having Life insurance be one of them. Instead, get inside Death’s carriage and go gently into the night.