When Jean Smart took out long-term disability insurance with OPA more than 31 years ago, she never imagined she’d need to use it – twice.
In 1994, the pharmacist owner of Creemore Village Pharmacy was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent a year of chemotherapy. Fourteen years later, doctors found a liver tumor which led to surgery and another eight months of treatment.
“I remember saying ‘I’m a pharmacist I don’t have time to be off sick,’” says Smart. “I had a part-time pharmacist who’d worked with me during the colon cancer and I called him up and he agreed to help. I also called another retired pharmacist and together they kept my business going.”
Smart praises OPA and the insurance carrier who she says were accommodating of her treatment schedule and helped make the claims process easy. She was off work for 18 months and says that without long-term disability coverage she wouldn’t have been able to keep her business up and running. The insurance payment covered Smart’s salary which she used, along with some of her own savings, to pay the wages of the two pharmacists she hired.
“If I didn’t have that coverage I would have had to mortgage the house,” she says.
Today, Smart is back at work. She says she’s lucky her insurance coverage gave her the flexibility to take the time she needed to beat cancer twice.
“Fourteen years ago I might have looked at increasing my coverage, but I never thought I’d have to deal with cancer again," she says. “I would say every three years to re-evaluate your situation. You think things aren’t going to change, but they do.”
The Ontario Pharmacists Association offers a wide variety of insurance coverages to members. For more information, contact Eija Kanniainen, Insurance Services Manager, at 416-441-0788 ext. 4226 or email email@example.com.