You don’t have to tell Kim Shaheen that some 40% of complaints to the OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance deal with disability.

Shaheen, a financial advisor since April 1977 who includes disability as a part of his business, has been having major problems getting his own disability insurance (DI) claims approved.

Diagnosed with MS

Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) 15 years ago, Shaheen, who lives in Regina, has gone through remittance and relapsing a number of times. The unpredictable autoimmune illness has caused many hours of pain, muscle stress, stiffness and the anxiety that goes along with it.

MS is unfortunately well known in Canada, which has the highest rate of the disease in the world, affecting an estimated 100,000 Canadians.

As a financial advisor Shaheen bought two private disability policies and a group one through an advisor group early on in his career.

When he went to make a claim, all three insurers had different responses: one asked for further information and when it was received, approved the claim; a second claim from a major insurer has been going on for more than two years and the company continues to ask for information; the third has been denied and Shaheen has taken it to the OmbudService.

Shaheen has fought for his own clients to get their claims approved in the past when insurers have denied them or asked for more information. And he suggests all advisors take that stance.

“Make sure you have an active advisor,” he tells clients. “If you ever have a claim, you need somebody on your side.”

At least one other advisor has told him of an instance where it took 18 months to settle a claim, leaving the client in financial disarray awaiting some income. “I became involved to help my clients and thank God I have never lost a battle.”

Shaheen has now formed a group made up of two physicians, a former client and himself, all who want to point to the difficulty some clients have in getting claims approved.

He wants to specifically highlight three issues: bring about awareness of mental and neurological health issues, help those who are running into claims problems and encourage insurers to have a better claims process.

“This is going to be my next passion,” says Shaheen. “I’m not going to quit.”

Any advisor wanting to help the group, or has issues with insurers regarding claims, can get in touch with Shaheen at kshaheen@myaccess.ca.