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A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the premiere screening of a documentary about the first successful human heart transplant. The end of 2017 marked the 50th year since this significant medical advancement was achieved, by brothers Dr Christiaan and Dr Marius Barnard.

The documentary detailed the life of these pioneering surgeons. Marie Kalil, daughter of Dr Marius Barnard, believes that it was the loss of their elder brother to a hole in the heart, that led the brothers to focus upon cardiac medicine.

After a long career in medicine, Dr Marius Barnard went on to pave the way for Critical illness Cover to be developed. He was inspired by many of his patients, one in particular stands out, a young divorcee with children who was diagnosed with lung cancer. At first, Dr Marius Barnard was able to treat her and she returned to her normal life. But then, two years later she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

At the time of diagnosis, Dr Marius Barnard was struck by how this woman with terminal cancer was still working. She was extremely ill. The problem was that she needed money for her family. He realised that whilst he had initially saved her life, she had no quality of life, she was not living, she was essentially working herself to the grave. This inspired Dr Marius Barnard to create something to help people who are seriously ill, to get financial support.

Life Insurance provides vital funds to family members when a person dies. Dr Marius Barnard was able to envisage a policy that didn't wait until a person died for there to be a tangible benefit. He saw the benefit of providing financial support to people who are seriously ill, by easing their financial worries at a time when their health should be the main priority.

This led to the creation of 'Dread Disease Insurance', something that would later become known as 'Critical Illness Insurance' a policy that pays out over a billion pounds per year to support families in need*.

Dr Marius Barnard put it quite succinctly when he said that if you are ill, you need a medical doctor and a financial doctor. A medical doctor can treat you. A financial doctor can support you during the treatment and recovery stages.

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