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The snowboarding safety net

In July 2016, after a break of several years, Dwane Rifai (37) was back in the ski fields doing what he loves – snowboarding. He was just a couple of hours into a trip to Thredbo with a workmate while his wife and young daughters were home at MacMasters Beach on the NSW Central Coast. As Dwane made his way onto the main run, he turned momentarily and missed seeing a two-foot drop ahead of him. He fell and landed heavily on his shoulder and what he and medical staff assumed to be a shoulder dislocation turned out to be far worse; Dwane had torn two AC joints (acromioclavicular joints) as well as his bicep. Surgery followed soon after and the injury meant being unable to work for several months.

As a builder, Dwane does not have sick leave or holiday leave to rely upon when his capacity to work is diminished but he does have the benefit of Income Protection Insurance and has done for many years.

This insurance proved to be a godsend to the Rifai family following the accident. After a slow but steady recovery, Dwane returned to work in late February. And despite having to sleep upright for eight weeks and months of tedious physio sessions, his love for snowboarding remains as unwavering as that for his three beautiful girls – wife Charna and daughters Eadi (7) and Josie (4).

Find out more about whether Income Protection Insurance is suitable for your family.

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Dwane with his gorgeous daughters Eadi and Josie.

In 2011, living in a two-bedroom unit with baby Eadi got the better of the Rifai family and after eleven years in Dee Why (on Sydney’s Northern Beaches), they decided to move north. It was around this time that long term friend and financial adviser, Steve Fort from Invest Blue also switched the big smoke’s hustle and bustle for a more relaxed lifestyle on the Central Coast. Steve and Dwane have known each other for many years and with such an easy and trusting relationship in place, it makes sense for Steve to oversee that all important insurance that has meant so much to Dwane and Charna in recent months.

Dwane describes Steve as a kind and genuine family man and says with a laugh, “We don’t have any awkward silences.” Dwane and Charna also sat down with Steve recently to focus on other ways they can consolidate their finances longer-term.

The Rifai family were all impacted by the snowboarding accident and the Income Protection Insurance offered a lifeline with Dwane not having to rush back to work, allowing his body time to heal properly. Fit and active Dwane found being so physically limited frustrating at times. Frustration also grew with looking around their half-renovated home and being powerless to make progress. On the flip side, once he could drive again (six weeks after his accident) and gain some mobility, Dwane could help with the girls – meeting Eadi off the school bus and running his daughters to swimming, netball and gymnastics. With Charna working four days a week, this hands-on help was terrific. And it was all possible because of their insurance cover.

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Charna, Dwane, Eadi and Josie enjoying the sands of NSW’s Central Coast

It can seem like a lot of money to pay when it is not needed but then something like this happens and you realise you’d be crazy not to have it. I think it’s silly for anyone with an income not to have a safety net in place,” says Dwane.

Dwane still needs to strengthen the muscles weakened by the fall but life is getting back to normal. When time permits and motivation strikes, Dwane chips away at the home renos. And on weekends, the family love nothing more than being outdoors – at a local park, surfing or just hanging out at the beach. As someone who grew up with only brothers, Dwane says raising daughters, “is all new to me” but it’s a learning curve he’s loving.

Looking ahead, the Rifai’s hope to have one big family trip away every year – an idea worth putting on the agenda for their next catch up with Steve. Japan is at the top of Dwane’s wish list – the ski fields no less. He’s keen to saddle up and get back on the horse that threw him, or rather, strap on those snowboarding boots and tame the mountain.

In the interest of full disclosure, our Terrigal clients will recognise that Charna is, in fact, one of our Client Support Managers. She has been a valued member of our team for a couple of years now. While we were devastated to learn of Dwane’s accident, we were very happy to see that this family had practised what we preached and covered themselves for the unexpected. We are very excited to see what this young, dynamic family can come up with on their goals list at their next progress meeting!

Find out how much personal insurance you will need to make sure your family is covered.


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