Manulife Financial wins silver medal at New York Festivals for video on critical illness insurance

NEW YORK, Feb. 1, 2003 – Manulife Financial has been awarded a silver medal at the 46th annual New York Festivals for a video on how critical illness insurance could have helped a victim of a life-threatening disease.

The award, presented in New York this weekend, recognizes a film called “Maurice’s Story – A Recovery Journey”, which describes financial advisor Maurice O’Connell’s struggles after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer – a moment when he suggests he should have started to focus on his recovery, instead of worrying about survival of his business.

Maurice, who was on hand for the Award Ceremony in New York, feels that if he had owned a critical illness insurance policy, he would have made very different choices rather than struggling to maintain his business until he was forced into early retirement.

“It would have been nice to have an inflow of cash at that point,” Maurice says in the video. “Had I had a critical illness insurance policy, it would have removed the financial worries that I had. I think it would have had an impact on the whole thing and I made some decisions because of my business
that I should not have made.”

Many Canadians are just learning about the benefits of critical illness insurance and we felt this was a story they need to hear, said Paul Lorentz, Manulife Financial Assistant Vice President, Product Marketing, Individual Insurance.

A previous survey commissioned by Manulife Financial found many Canadians expect they will need to dig into their savings and investments to finance expenses incurred from a critical illness. Yet 71 per cent of Canadians were not at all familiar with critical illness insurance.

“This reconfirmed our belief that many Canadians would benefit from critical illness insurance and need to learn more about the financial benefits it can provide,” added Mr. Lorentz.

“Critical illness insurance is designed to ensure people have the financial resources they need so they can focus on getting better. The last thing they need is to be weighed down with the stress of covering costs associated with their recovery or worrying that they’re depleting their retirement savings.”

Critical illness insurance eases the financial burden of a life-altering illness by providing a cash benefit upon survival of a waiting period (30 days in most cases) after the diagnosis of one of several critical illnesses. Generally, people choose to use the proceeds to finance other treatments, hire a nurse or caregiver, pay off a mortgage, replace lost income, maintain RRSP contributions, or take a vacation to help them recover from their illness.

“More and more Canadians are realizing that a serious illness can be very disruptive to their finances and affect their entire family,” says Paul Rooney, Senior Vice President, Individual Insurance with Manulife Financial. “Critical illness coverage gives our customers a simple, hassle-free way to obtain a level of financial protection that is not available through their
life insurance policies.”

Manulife Lifecheque

All Manulife Lifecheque policies provide protection against cancer, heart attack, stroke and coronary bypass surgery, which represent a significant portion of the critical illness cases in Canada. However, depending on the insured person’s age and coverage chosen, Lifecheque policies may cover up to 22 critical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and receiving an organ transplant.

“Critical illness insurance fills a gap not covered by traditional products,” adds Mr. Rooney. “That may include helping with the cost of keeping a home or business during recovery, illness-related travel costs, special medical treatments or other expenses. Many people don’t realize that if you are under the age of 75, there is a far greater likelihood of getting seriously ill than dying prematurely. We’re confident that people who know about critical illness insurance will want to make it an integral part of their overall financial plan.”

About the New York Festivals

The New York festivals (NYf) oversees and runs six international awards competitions: Film & Video, Television Programming and Promotions, Radio Programming and Promotions, Television and Radio Advertising, Design and Print Advertising, and Interactive Advertising. Entries to each of the competitions are judged in the United States and around the world by panels of peers in their respective industries.

In addition, NYf also oversees three stand-alone international competitions: The Midas Awards for financial services communications; the Global Awards for healthcare communications; and the AME Awards for advertising and marketing effectiveness.

Founded in 1957, NYf now has representation in more countries than any other media competition. In 2003, it received over 14,200 entries from companies in 62 countries. For more information, visit

About Manulife Financial

Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group operating in 15 countries and territories worldwide. Through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners, Manulife Financial offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services. Funds under management by Manulife Financial were
Cdn$150.8 billion as at September 30, 2003.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at

For more information about Manulife Lifecheque critical illness insurance, please visit