Tuesday, March 04, 2014

I Is For Insurance/Income Protector

One of the issues we need to consider as business owners is how to bring in money when we are sick and incapacitated in some way.

In South Africa, many employers provide insurance that allows you to be paid your salary/a portion of it while you're on medical leave. We also have an unemployment fund, from which one can claim during the time that they are incapacitated.

However, as small business owners, we don't have the luxury of an employer ensuring that you have benefits that include your medical aid (what we call health insurance) or your income protector, which makes out a regular payment to you for the duration of your illness.

We also have to consider how to ensure that we have a decent income if we become disabled, even if we manage to find a new way of working after a life-changing illness.

This is something that you need to do for yourself. The big question is, have you? If you were sick for two months or more, is your income going to be affected? Before you run off, this is not a sponsored post and I'm not trying to sell you anything:-)

It's just that several things have gotten me thinking about the issue:

Michael Di Gesu talking about how important vision is to him, and what a blessing it is . He made me wonder what I would do if, down the line, I could not see or had eye trouble. I would definitely learn braille, so I do not lose my ability to read and write, but what would I do for money during that long transition period? What would you do?

I have ulcer and there was a time some years ago when I couldn't work much because of the pain and the meds making me sleepy. The inexplicable stabbing pain on my hand last month also scared me. A few friends suggested that the pain was possibly caused by stress due to the repetitive use of my hands and not having a good desk and chair that balance me properly while I work.

I went and fixed the desk and chair issue, rest my hands a lot more often and push comes to shove, I could use voice-activated software, which is already installed in my computers. However, what would I do for money during this transition period? Right now the voice-activated software doesn't understand my South African accent, so it would take ages before it's familiar enough for it to be of any use.

Caring for Mma has also affected my ability to earn income in the short-term.  I don't work the same number of hours as before, I can't take the fast-paced copywriting assignments that I used to, rather going for long-term projects where I have adequate time to get the work done.

What I'm trying to say is, life happens. You don't know if you might have to pause your business for a while and you need to be prepared for that. You need to make sure that you will be able to pay all your bills and new expenses that may arise from your new life situation. An income protector can help you do that.

Are you currently insured in case of an illness? What would you do for money if you got sick and could no longer see/hear/use your hands?


Unknown said...

Nice input, Damaria. Here in the Philippines, Health insurance if you're not connected to any big company's can cost you an arm and a leg. We have a government insurance that is affordable but with limited coverage as well. I haven't thought of it much but concentrated on getting help if I get incapacitated in some ways. My plan is to build a team that can handle the current job that I'm doing. Slowly, I am training a few people and I'm hoping that in a few months, they' be ready to take some tasks off of my shoulders. You may also want to consider doing the same. If you don't have people near you, you can outsource . Give it some thought and maybe I can help you if that time comes. :)

Shawn said...

This is such an important topic that most entrepreneurs and small business owners don't think about enough. In my case, we are under my hubby's work insurance but our goal is to bring him home full-time to work in the business. At that time we will have this issue to deal with. Its wise to have our eyes open and think about the issue beforehand.

Damaria Senne said...

@Roche - outsourcing some of the work is a very good strategy. It allows you to increase your income potential without having to hire staff on a fulltime basis. I do use some help for some projects or when I have overflow. They are especially helpful when I get large projects I can't do alone or the work requires some skills I have and others I don't have (e.g, when client wants a website, I do the planning and content development and hire out the design process) or when Mma is doing very badly and I need to scale down my work hours.
For now, I don't have new work to outsource, as I already pass some work steadily to certain people. However, if the need does arise, I have noted some of the people who i would love to work with in future, you included, BTW.
@Shawn - I'm glad you're sorted for now Shawn, and that you will look into the issue in the future. Good luck growing your business so hubby can join you.

J.L. Campbell said...

Interesting food for thought, Damaria. In taking care of your daily needs, we often forget about the long term and what can happen if we fall ill.

Crystal Collier said...

Insurance? No. A plan? Yes. It's called family. I know if I were ever in a bind, I have an incredible family who would help support me while I got my feet back under me. They are such a blessing.

Damaria Senne said...

@JL Campbell - Amen
@Crystal - You are right - family is a blessing. Turned out I was "the plan" for Mma and I'm glad we have that kind of relationship:-)

Unknown said...

A great reminder :)
I have loss of income insurance (for sickness) under my public and professional liability insurance. Your post has reminded me to read through my policy in more detail so thank you.

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