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Over 50 years ago Dr. Marius Barnard was part of a team, led by his brother Christiaan, that successfully carried out the first human to human transplant.

Although his work with his brother was ground-breaking, if you spoke to Marius, he would argue that this was not his greatest achievement in life.

He witnessed first-hand that the lives of those undergoing major organ transplants were fraught with challenges once they left the care of a hospital, with the financial impact from the loss of income being one of the more significant. That’s why, 35 years ago, Marius devised the first protection insurance to pay out when someone was still alive, rather than when they died.

Today, this is known as critical illness insurance. Marius saw this cover as playing the role of a financial doctor, and to be equally important as his role as a medical doctor.

We’re proud to say that Marius worked with Scottish Widows and was instrumental in helping us develop our critical illness insurance philosophy, culture and products. Our Industry Affairs Manager, Johnny Timpson, considered Marius both a friend and mentor. And before Marius passed away in November 2014, he asked a promise of both his daughter, and Johnny.

He asked his daughter Naudene, who works in film production, to make a TV documentary to mark the 50th anniversary of the first heart transplant. And he asked Johnny to promise to safeguard and advocate his greatest achievement - the creation and development of accessible and affordable critical illness cover that provides benefits and support to vulnerable policyholders when they need it most.

These films are a great way to see how the creation of critical illness insurance was brought to life and are a rewarding and different way to add to your CPD.


This film tells the story of the great medical breakthrough of December 1967, which would in turn, lead to the invention of critical illness cover. It is also a great testimony to both Marius and Christiaan Barnard, two brothers who changed the world in different ways.


How Dr. Marius Barnard identified the need for a new type of insurance - critical illness insurance. Marius shared his vision with an insurance company and went on to develop the first critical illness insurance policy.

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