Life Shield - Your Life, Your Protection, Personal Insurance

Income Protection for Surgeons

You have a specialist occupation and your Income Protection needs to reflect this.

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After so many years of study and hard work to get where you are as a Surgeon, one of the most important assets that you have is your income – and it is worth taking the time (and speaking to someone who understands the marketplace) to ensure that you have the best possible cover and at the best price.

Income Protection provides you with an ongoing income stream in the event of not being able to work due to illness or injury. There are many possible variations within the policy and it makes sense to choose the options that are relevant to your occupation and lifestyle. We have covered some of the relevant variations regarding Income Protection for Surgeons below:

Needle Stick Cover
Some insurance companies, in addition to the above ‘Blood Borne Disease” clause, offer Needle Stick cover to Surgeons that will provide a lump sum in the event of becoming infected with HIV, Hep B or C whilst performing your usual occupation. You are able to apply for cover amounts up to $1,000,000. It should be noted however that a Total and Permanent Disability policy, if 'own occupation' should also pay in this event.

Cover against Mental Illness
We note that recent studies show that medical professionals such as doctors, surgeons and dentists are potentially 20% more likely to not be able to work due to mental illness. This has been attributed to the high stress nature of their occupation and also the caring, more emotional nature of their personalities that have drawn them to their occupation in the first place. We are concerned that some policies directed to Medical Professionals have these conditions excluded.

Blood Borne Diseases
In your occupation as a Surgeon, if you were to become infected with HIV, Hep B or C you may be forced to cease working even though technically, you have the ability to continue. It is important to ensure that your Income Protection policy will pay a benefit in these events and it is clearly defined in the Product Disclosure Statement.

How much can you insure?
Usually you can insure up to 75% (sometimes up to 80% including superannuation contributions) of your current income which can be increased as your income increases. There are however Income Protection policies in the Australian marketplace that allow you to insure up to 100% of your income, at least for a portion of the benefit period.
The amount that you are able to insure is capped by some insurance companies at $20,000 per month, though there are insurance companies that will allow up to $60,000 per month benefit for Surgeons.

Stepped or Level Premiums?
Stepped premiums are great in the short term, however will cost you much more in the longer term as your premium will increase each year due to your increasing age. If you are expecting to keep your policy in place up to retirement, choosing a level premium option (which does not increase in cost up to age 65 or age 70) could save you half of your premiums over your lifetime. This will ensure that your Income Protection premiums remain cost effective and affordable.

Contract type – Agreed or Indemnity?
Are you receiving a portion of your income due to working as a sole trader? If so, your income changes from year to year. An agreed contract ensures your whole benefit will be payable in the event of a claim even if you have earned less over the preceding 12 months (or 24 months for some policies) to claim. An indemnity option means that at the time of claim you will need to provide recent financials to support your benefit amount which may eventually result in a lower benefit payable.

Waiting Period / Benefit Period
Choosing the right waiting and benefit period on your policy is paramount. This can be the difference between receiving benefit or not and it makes a large difference to the cost of your policy.

For example, if you can afford (through savings or other liquid funds) to be able to manage for the first 3 months of not being able to work and therefore have a policy with a waiting period of 90 days, this will reduce the cost by approximately one-third. If you already have some Income Protection within your superannuation fund that you are happy with (Hesta or Health Super for example) with a benefit period of 2 years, an additional policy may be purchased with a waiting period of 2 years in order to reduce costs. This will ensure that you will be protected for more serious illnesses and accidents that keep you away from work for longer periods of time or even for the rest of your life.

Life Shield is a specialist Personal Insurance brokerage business. We understand the marketplace specific to Surgeons and we have the experience and knowledge to provide an efficient and professional service.

Either call us directly or use our online enquiry form to make an enquiry and we look forward to discussing your Income Protection and other Personal Insurance needs shortly.

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Please complete the detailed enquiry form for a more efficient and tailored initial response.





I have found Life Shield to be very experienced in both income protection and life insurance for doctors, and in particular tailoring policies for a Surgeon. They have the benefit of years of experience and multiple contacts in the industry....

Dr RD (MBBS (Hon) BMedSci MRCS)
Ear Nose and Throat Registrar

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