TORONTO — It was about eight years ago that Brooke Robinson bought a critical illness insurance policy due to her family’s history of breast cancer, only to trigger it six years later for an entirely different and unexpected reason.“I actually ended up with multiple sclerosis and it was a very aggressive version of it,” says Robinson, 33.“I was diagnosed in April of 2015 and by October of 2015 I was walking with a cane.”Today, she credits her critical illness payout for allowing her and her husband to take three months off work so they could move from Toronto to Ottawa where she underwent an experimental procedure that has allowed her to walk again without assistance.While Robinson’s workplace disability insurance made up for some of the couple’s lost income, she says it wouldn’t have been enough to cover the $15,000 of extra expenses they incurred.“Without the treatment I had, I would be in a wheelchair right now and I wouldn’t be able to work or be in an office,” she says. “We would have had to sell our house and move into a condo. It would have been a disaster.”Critical illness insurance may be effective at covering costs that disability insurance doesn’t.Financial planner Rona Birenbaum says the most compelling reason to buy a critical illness policy would be if someone isn’t eligible for disability insurance — for instance, a stay-at-home parent who doesn’t have an income to replace.But it could also help someone unprepared for the financial hardships that may come with a critical illness diagnosis such as the cost of medical treatment or for a spouse to take time off work.Unlike disability insurance, which protects your income to age 65 and generally kicks in after 90 days of disability, critical illness insurance pays out a lump sum in the event of critical illnesses such as cancer, a stroke or a heart attack.“If you find yourself incurring a large expense and your expenses don’t allow you to build an emergency fund, then critical illness insurance becomes that line of defence for those that don’t want to cash in their RRSP and undermine their long-term savings,” says Birenbaum, founder of Toronto-based firm Caring for Clients.A potential downside is that to receive a payout you must often meet very strict and specific definitions of disease, says Dan Hallett, vice-president of HighView Financial Group in Oakville, Ont.Another caveat, adds independent insurance broker Lorne Marr of LSM Insurance in Markham, Ont., is that to get a critical illness lump sum you also have to survive a waiting period, which is normally 30 days. The nature of critical illness insurance also means that those relying solely on it won’t receive any more money beyond the lump sum.Like Birenbaum, both Hallett and Marr say that critical illness insurance should not be used as a replacement for disability insurance.Birenbaum says critical illness insurance premiums can be expensive. A $200,000 policy with a 15-year term for a healthy 35-year-old man would cost about $80 a month.“It really becomes about what’s affordable and it never makes sense to over-insure because you’re a scared person,” she says. “If you’re talking about a lump sum amount that would make a difference to someone, we’re probably talking about $50,000.”As for Robinson, she says because she purchased her critical illness policy at the age of 25, it only ended up costing her $6 a month in premiums.“That’s a couple of cups of coffee,” she says. “It’s well worth the security and the safety of not having to worry about finances when something tragic is happening in your life.”Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.
Voith recently unveiled its new TurboBelt 500 TPXL fluid coupling at MINExpo in Las Vegas, USA. The fill-controlled coupling is the first model in the new TPXL family, which combines the advantages of the proven hydrodynamic drive principle with intelligent control technology. The integrated controller makes it possible to adapt the output torque of the coupling exactly to the startup parameters of the belt conveyor system. In addition, Voith’s engineers have been able to considerably reduce the dimensions of the new coupling, so that the TurboBelt 500 TPXL only requires half the volume of conventional coupling types for the same force transmission. In addition to the operational advantages, the new series of couplings also offers attractive procurement and operating costs.Operation of the TurboBelt 500 TPXL is simple and user-friendly: After the required torque for the belt and the basic startup parameters have been transmitted, the coupling automatically calculates the optimum fill level in real time and fills or drains the working circuit accordingly. Equipped with a self-learning function, it simultaneously stores all relevant operational data in order to align the control behaviour optionally with the nominal value, depending on the respective load situation and on the basis of previous empirical values.This is enabled by the plug-and-play design of the TurboBelt 500 TPXL. An integrated controller, an integrated pump and a new oil supply unit are part of the coupling concept. Thus the components are optimally matched to one another and pave the way for predictive, requirement-oriented and cost optimised maintenance of the coupling. The controller monitors the entire sensor system of the coupling and provides operationally relevant information, such as the condition of the oil filter. Even by remote access, if desired. As a self-contained system, the coupling can be easily put into operation without long interruptions in production. In order to allow for the integration into new as well as existing drive trains, Voith offers a version with bearings on both sides for standalone use as well as a variant with bearings on the output side for direct motor connection.Thanks to the hydrodynamic operating principle, power transmission via the TurboBelt 500 TPXL is wear-free and does not require a mechanical connection. New vanes with the XL profile double the power density of the coupling in comparison to conventional coupling types. This means that only half the volume is required to transmit the same force. The hydrodynamic circuit of the coupling limits the torque in the driveline to a fixed, defined value which protects the belt and the drive components from damage due to overloading. This minimises maintenance costs and increases the lifetime of the system. Motors can be run up to speed under no-load conditions and staggered in time using the fill control system. This minimises the current peaks that always occur when motors are switched on and reduces the load placed on the power grid.In parallel with the integrated controller unit, which controls the oil supply to the working circuit among other things, the TurboBelt 500 TPXL is also equipped with a fieldbus unit. With this, Voithlays the foundation for the mining of the future. Thanks to connected components over the entire extraction process, operators can profit from high conveyance performance and increased productivity as well as from increased work safety. Within the Voith portfolio the TurboBelt TPXL fill-controlled coupling is complemented by components over the entire conveying process such as the intermediate drive TurboBelt TT Linear Booster Drive, storage loops, tension stations and slide and chute systems. “Today, this already offers diverse possibilities for optimising belt conveyor systems with respect to total cost of ownership and capital expenditures. Furthermore the wide product range opens a perspective for the future with regard to automation concepts and comprehensive condition monitoring.”