The worst has happened. Today alone, 565 people will be diagnosed with cancer, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. We’ve been busily rolling out a new Critical Illness benefit and, unfortunately, in the time it takes to implement a plan, one of our people could have received a diagnosis of a Critical Illness.

Now, I am not so optimistic as to believe that Critical Illness coverage will make all the challenges of a critical diagnosis vanish, but I learned very early on in my career that the one thing we can do is help people financially at a time of need. As a veteran Life Insurance agent, we’ll call him Mr. Rea (because that was his name) told me, when someone is grieving, giving them the financial resources to deal with their immediate challenges is the best we can do. We don’t have a cure for the illnesses that plague the world and we cannot “put a stopper in death”, but we can encourage people to invest in the tools that protect themselves and their families at the worst of times.

The cost of medical treatment can add up even when you have a drug plan and provincial health care. Parking or travel expenses, care for a child, and lost earnings due to illness, and doctors’ visits take their toll and are not covered under any plan. But Critical Illness coverage pays a lump sum to the insured in event of a covered diagnosis. This is not a reimbursement for expenses: the money can be used as needed or wanted.

I encourage you to consider this coverage. Don’t think about it too long though, as, with our aging population, the incidence of illness is increasing. Group insurers have developed robust offerings over the last decade. Most policies have limitations and survival requirements following diagnosis and the covered conditions vary, so pay attention to the details; but almost any Critical Illness plan is better than none at all.