In his role as head of insurance at Hostplus, Shane Fielding understands the value of insurance but it wasn’t until he sustained serious injuries in a bicycle accident that he realised just how valuable his MetLife Income Protection cover could be.
In September 2021, Shane was enjoying his daily lockdown respite bike ride near his home in Melbourne. Unfortunately, it was magpie season and a particularly aggressive bird attacked Shane, causing him to crash into a tree.
In the space of a few minutes, he went from being fit and healthy to spending 23 days in hospital with a fractured collarbone and scapula, 10 broken ribs, three fractured vertebrae, a lacerated lung, and severe nerve damage affecting his left hand.
Through his corporate income protection cover, MetLife supported Shane by providing Early Intervention rehabilitation services as part of the 360Health offering during the policy waiting period. Due to the Early Intervention support he received he was back at work within four months, much sooner than expected.
Five weeks after the accident, and a long way from full recovery, Shane contacted MetLife to discuss additional rehabilitation support in his policy. “The hospital treated my broken bones but that’s where their remit finished,” he says. “I knew at that point the old me may not come back so I wanted to know what additional services I could access to get me back to life and health.”
Shane’s first point of contact was Adrian Argall, a MetLife Recovery Specialist. After examining the hospital discharge report, Adrian determined Shane would be off work for several months and immediately began planning for his physical and mental rehabilitation.
“MetLife provided a three-month gym membership, and an exercise physiologist,” Shane recalls. “Adrian was also clear that the risk of mental health issues, such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety, are common after major trauma and offered to arrange a counsellor, but I didn’t feel I needed that. From there, he started organising everything, even before the claim had been processed.”
For the next three months, the exercise physiologist liaised regularly with the physiotherapist Shane was seeing as an outpatient at Monash Health. “They had regular conversations to make sure they weren't overlapping and were complementing each other,” Shane says. “The physio was working on rebuilding my range of motion, while the exercise physiologist looked at my overall strength and conditioning.”
Shane noted that a coordinated approach such as this was consistent throughout his experience with the program. “Adrian, and my appointed claims case manager, Ronald, managed the claim, ensuring I had the financial support I needed until I could get back to work. I didn't have to manage anything. It all just happened in the background,” he says. “And I was going through a lot. Trying to manage my recovery and attending all the appointments, doing rehab and worrying about having enough money to support the family was a burden in its own right, let alone having to worry about the coordination of all the claim activities. That was one of the big positives I got from the whole process. It was all very seamless.”
Without the program Shane doesn’t feel he would have recovered as quickly. While he still suffers nerve pain in his hand, he feels he’s almost 100% back to health. “I don’t think I would’ve got to where I am now, and I believe I would have had an ongoing disability,” he says.
While Shane’s wife has banned him from riding his bike in magpie season, he’s loving his new lease on life. “I know the new me is not the old me,” he says. “But the accident made me reassess the bigger picture about what’s important. I’m looking forward to living my new life to the fullest and being with the people I love.”