An operation with unexpected consequences threw family man Ulrich Hess off track. With a will of iron and the great support of his family, he fought his way back. He will never be able to work full time again. However, he has not lost his financial confidence – also thanks to Swiss Life.

At first it was neck pain that prompted Swiss citizen Ulrich Hess to consult a sports masseur, who then sent him to the doctor. The doctors had to carry out an MRI to diagnose his condition – a brain tumour. When they then operated, they didn’t discover any tumour but a haemangioma in the brain. Ulrich Hess underwent further surgery. However, unexpected complications arose during the second operation. And then came the shock: «When I woke up from anaesthesia, I could no longer move from the neck downwards. Everything was paralysed», he explains. Although Ulrich Hess’s medical condition has since improved, his range of motion is still very restricted, and the doctors expect it to remain so. From a medical perspective he ranks as an incomplete quadriplegic.

«Why did it have to be me?»
When it happened, he asked himself why it had to happen to him. Him, a working man. Him, a father with two small children. «Today I no longer see it like that. It can simply happen to anyone», he says. And a lot of good things have also come from his disability. «My wife Angelina has always been there for me – unconditionally. My illness has meant that my relationship with her and with my children has become even more intensive.» While he was in hospital and at the Paraplegic Centre concentrating on his recovery, his wife took care of everything else. This also included communicating with the benefits department at Swiss Life.

Not just a number but a person
«I promptly informed Petra Bräm, Swiss Life’s benefits expert, in order to find out exactly which benefits our third pillar (3a) life insurance contains. She was candid and I was always able to ring whenever I had questions. You don’t just feel like a number at Swiss Life but like a person», explains Angelina Hess. Owing to his disability, Ulrich Hess now receives a regular pension from Swiss Life. «We’re really grateful for this financial support because it helps us to maintain a certain standard of living and continue to lead a self-determined life», says Angelina Hess. Owing to her husband’s illness, people they know have also started to think about pension issues: «Some of our friends have taken out insurance themselves in order to protect themselves against disability.»


Swiss Life Switzerland customer: Ulrich Hess
Place of residence: Sarnen, Switzerland
Age: 43
Customer of Swiss Life since: 2008
Products at Swiss Life: a pillar 3 (3a) life insurance policy with supplementary cover for a waiver of premium and pension in the event of disability (Swiss Life Champion Duo)

“Customer’s Life” portrait series: three customers – three stories

In a portrait series, Swiss Life presents three clients from the company’s various units. The pieces show how Swiss Life enables people in a very wide range of circumstances to lead a self-determined life. The portraits also demonstrate the variety of clients and requirements served by Swiss Life.

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