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Comparing Policies & Choosing What is Best for You

Happy Man Giving Piggyback Ride To Woman At BeachIn our prvious article we listed several companies that offer Insurance Protection to New Zealand consumers. In this article we will compare the basic offerings of each company and then go into detail. Please note this article was not written by a professional insurance broker and should therefore not be taken as insurance advice, you must speak to a register insurance broker for such advice.

  • NZLife at
  • Lifebroker at
  • CIGNA at
  • Westpack at
  • Sovereign at

Criteria to be examined are:

  • Types of Income Protection Policies Offered.
  • Ratings or affiliations listed on homepage.
  • Whether or not a Premium Calculator is offered on home page.
  • Additional information available on home page.
  • Whether or not online claim filing is available.

CIGNA: not only offers income protection insurance, but also offers several other forms of personal protection insurance. As a consumer, I liked this webpage because it not only has a lot of good information available, they have a quick quote form that helps to provide pricing. They have two pdf downloads for a brochure about income protection and the policy wording for income protection. This says to me that this company wants its clients and potential customers to be informed. They do not have an online claim method, but they have an extensive how to section that outlines how to make a claim in step by step fashion as well as easy to find statements on what the claim process is and how it works. To make a claim, customers can call or email CIGNA. They maintain an A ranking for claim payments which translates into EXCELLENT for the industry. Payments of claims is equal to 75% of your annual income minus any other income you may receive such as ACC. Overall, I liked this company. I thought its approach to providing information to consumers was spot on. If I had a complaint at all, it was that the site did not provide information on the type of policy that CIGNA offered for income protection.

Westpac: is a banking institution that offers income protection insurance along with other personal insurance options such as Mortgage protection insurance. The website provided basic information, but as I began to look for policy details I realized there was nothing more then the basic information listed on their webpage. They have a disclaimer that informs you that full terms, conditions and exclusion can be found in the policy document, but that is apparently only available after you sign up for the policy. They do offer a 30 day trial period so that consumers can try out their policy and see if they like it, if not, the policy premium is refunded. I did not find a premium calculator and nor could I determine exactly what type of policies they offer. They do make it clear that policy payments are reduced by any ACC benefit or other income you may receive. Their service is set up so that consumers must call for a quote.

Sovereign: offers both insurance to businesses and to individuals. Their website has basic information that is designed to help consumers ask the questions they will need to ask when they talk to a broker. They list a few additional policy add on insurances such as future insurability and home care expense policies which is helpful for consumers to consider. I did not see, nor could I find a policy calculator, but they do offer a few examples of personal and family policy and premium amounts. They offer a downloadable brochure which lists indemnity, indemnity extra, and agreed value policies. The brochure offers a table of information that explains how each benefit works and why it is important. I found this table to be very helpful. They are Rated A+ for claims payment which translates as SUPERIOR in the insurance industry. I found the company to be fairly straight forward which is what I would like to see from all insurance companies. I was disappointed that there was not a premium calculator.

Things consumers may not be aware of:

Policy length is one of my biggest pet peeves for income protection. I do not find value in a policy that lasts only ten years unless you are 55 years old and retiring at age 65. Income protection is supposed to insure our income against loss if we are not able to work due to injury or illness. Our working lifetime typically ends when we retire and income protection normally cover us up to age 65.

Guaranteed renewals: Every insurance policy should have a guaranteed renewal, but they do not. I would not buy an income protection policy that did not have a guaranteed renewal clause in it. Without that clause, the insurance company can drop your policy at the end of your benefit period. That does not matter if you have had a claim or not. It can be based on age. As we age the risk associated with disability increases. Insurance companies are happy to take your premiums but many will dump you as soon as the risk of claim begins to climb.

Exclusions: Not all insurance companies have the same list of exclusions. Read and understand the exclusions and make arrangement if necessary for additional insurance coverage to meet those exclusions.

As I close this article I would like to say that it is important that consumers take the responsibility to see that they are completely covered. This is a serious topic and the result of your knowledge about your policy is the difference between living well when disabled or becoming a cog under the wheel of society. It is essentially up to you to make those decisions that protect your life and life style.


What’s Children Insurance

Ice creamKids Cover Helps Financially During a Child’s Illness, Injury

We all get sick or injured, even children. As parents, we want to be certain we can financially provide for our family if a child suffers a serious medical condition or injury. That’s where kids cover comes in. This type of insurance lets you protect your children financially for life’s unexpected moments. And it gives your entire family financial security as your child receives the best of care.

What Kids Insurance Covers

Children’s insurance covers a wide range of medical conditions that typically affect kids. Among them are: cancer, meningitis, encephalitis, paralysis, cardiomyopathy, major head trauma, brain damage, severe burns and loss of limbs or sight. Other medical conditions covered by kids cover include: loss of speech, blindness, deafness, stroke, a benign tumor of the brain or spinal cord, chronic kidney failure, major organ transplant, conditions needing intensive care and terminal illness.

These are medical conditions you hope never happen to your child, but you’ll be ready to tackle them knowing you have protection in place to help with expenses.

How Kids Cover Works

Kids insurance protection, which can be purchased by parents and grandparents, is designed to be an easy and streamlined process. You choose a policy with a benefit amount that best fits your budget. This coverage amount represents how much you will receive in a lump sum payment if your child suffers a covered medical condition or injury.

You can use the lump sum payment as you see fit. Perhaps you want to take time out of work to care for your child, pay recovery-related expenses, arrange for long-term home care, or pay for other expenses. You know best what your child needs, which is why kids cover is flexible to enable you to provide it.

Make Kids Cover Part of Your Family Planning

While it’s unsettling to think that a life-changing event can happen to your child, it’s even more unsettling not having the money to give your child the best medical care and quality of life possible.

Kids cover offers affordable premiums and has plans to accommodate your financial situation and family planning goals. Take the first step with an insurance rate comparison that allows you to compare kids cover plans and prices from different insurance companies.

Let kids cover protect your most precious commodity and ensure your family’s financial security so you can enjoy a happy and worry-free life together as a family.


Case Study – 52 Yr Old Female

income-insurance-case-studyImagine being 52 years old and suffering from a heart attack or other cardiac condition that renders you unable to work. These sorts of events happen every day. If you live in a city, then chances are that you have heard the sirens of the fire department or ambulance taking someone to a medical center.

Martha was 52 when she was admitted to the hospital with sever chest pain. Extensive tests showed that she had suffered a mild heart attack that damage 5% of her hearts muscle including one of the valves in her atrium (upper chamber of her heart.) Martha underwent surgery to replace her damaged heart valve.

The surgery involved splitting her sternum open to allow the surgeons access to her heart. The recovery time was 3-6 weeks, but Martha suffered various set backs including a nosocomial infect (caught from the hospital.) Her recovery time from her heart attack was 14 months long. This is significantly longer than her 3-6 week recovery period.

Fortunately for Martha she had purchased an income protection plan. During her 14 months spent recovering from heart surgery, her income protection plan was depositing regular monthly payments into her checking account.

Outside of her medical worries, Martha’s normal life was peaking. Her youngest child had just left for college, her and her husband had just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. Because Martha had purchased income protection insurance, she did not have to worry about cash flow, finances, or her mortgage. She simply gained the freedom just to focus on her recuperation.

Martha’s income protection plan paid her 75% of her annual gross salary, each month that she was unable to work. Even after, she had returned to work, she was only allowed to work part time and the policy that she chose covered partial disability.

Because she had income protection, she was able to continue to pay her mortgage, help her child go to college, and still meet her financial obligations. That is what income protection is supposed to do. It is there to allow you the financial freedom to focus on your recovery from your injury or illness. Fortunately Martha was able to recover fully, and while this was a life changing event for her, it has had a positive impact on her life. She was able to survive a small heart attack which may prevent a larger heart attack from occurring later.

If the prognosis for Martha were not as good and her heart attack had left her permanently disabled, she would have been eligible to receive a monthly payment from her income protection policy for the next 13 years. She would then have reached the age of 65 and qualified for retirement.

If Martha had not had income protection, she would have lost out on all of those years of salary. Her financial outlook would have been remarkably different. Fortunately for her and her family, she thought ahead and was able to prepare for the unknown.

Income protection insurance is one of the most misunderstood of all insurance policies. It is as important as carrying health insurance because income protection looks after your financial health when you are no longer able to work because of an injury or illness. Today’s medical care is advanced, and recovery time takes longer. Thirty years ago Martha’s heart attack my have been deadly, but today, medical treatment saves a great deal more lives than it once did.


What Is Cancer Insurance?

True Devotion


Cancer Insurance Gives You Peace of Mind

Once the initial shock of being diagnosed with cancer wears off, it’s time to fight the disease full on, without worries of work or money. Cancer insurance allows you to do just that while ensuring you and your family remain financially secure.

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The Importance of Cancer Insurance

In New Zealand, the most common serious illness is cancer. According to Ministry of Health statistics, there are 57 new cancer cases every day in New Zealand. Even young people are not spared from this devastating disease, with leukemia the most common type of cancer in those 21 years old and younger.

Without a doubt, a cancer diagnosis can put a strain on your daily life and finances, which is why having cancer insurance can help relieve some of those stresses.

How Cancer Insurance Can Help

With cancer insurance, you receive a lump sum of money that you can use as you see fit. For example, you can choose to use the money to help your physical recovery. Cancer insurance payouts can supplement medical treatments not paid completely by your health insurance or pay for alternative treatments not covered by health insurance.

You can also use the lump sum payment to reduce your hours at work or take time away from work completely while you rest and recover. Or you may decide to use the money to supplement the income of a spouse or other family member so they can take time off from work to help you. Cancer insurance also comes in handy to pay costs associated with cancer treatment, such as traveling expenses and childcare.

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Cancer insurance benefits are also designed to keep you financially secure. The lump sum payment can be used to pay the mortgage, credit card bills, or other household expenses so you don’t get behind on your financial obligations. The extra money also will help you meet expenses if your income decreases while you are out of work recovering from cancer.

Added Benefits

Gain peace of mind knowing you are well protected if you ever have to face a cancer diagnosis. Cancer insurance gives you the resources and support you need so you don’t have to go through treatment and recovery alone.


Statistics on Insurance Claims in New Zealand?

insurance-statsInsurance claims statistics in New Zealand are available for all lines of insurance, from life and health to income protection and mortgage repayment insurance. According to the Insurance Council of New Zealand, which represents the general insurance and fire insurance industry in the country, an estimated $2 billion in claims are paid out in a typical year. But let’s delve deeper into more specific lines of insurance.

Personal Insurance Claims Statistics

As a whole, New Zealand personal insurance companies paid out millions of dollars in claims under their income protection, critical illness, trauma, total permanent disablement (TPD) and life insurance policies.

For example, in 2011, AMP, with over four million customers, paid out $335.1 million in claims. More notably, the company paid:

  • 18.85% of income protection insurance claims for motor vehicle accidents.
  • 26.29% of trauma insurance claims for breast cancer and 30.29% for all other cancers.
  • 24.84% of TPD claims for accidents.
  • 38.58% of life insurance claims for cancer.


At Tower Insurance, the longest income protection insurance claim it paid was for 17 years. And its youngest income protection claimant is age 21. On average, Tower also pays claims for disabilities in any given year to more than 539,000 New Zealanders of working age.


Sovereign, which provides income protection coverage, life and disability insurance, and health insurance, tracks the top claim causes. In its most recent report released in 2009, cancer and heart disease were the main claim causes.


Statistics from a leading life insurance company also indicate the extent of claims for cancer and the amount of money paid out by insurance companies. Here are some examples of life insurance claims paid out recently:


  • $500,000 for a 50-year-old male with bowel cancer;
  • $308,100 for a 39-year-old female with gastric cancer;
  • $305,895 for a 37-year-old female with an inoperable tumor;
  • $260,099 for a 39-year-old male with lymphoma of the stomach;
  • $253,845 for a 26-year-old male with a malignant melanoma.


Fidelity Life Insurance, which offers income protection and other life and disability insurance products, paid a total of $38.5 million in claims to New Zealanders for the year ending June 30, 2011. Of that amount, the company paid $8.3 million income protection claims and $5.8 million critical illness claims.


These income protection benefits are paid out monthly by insurance companies and reflect the important role they play in providing New Zealanders with serious illnesses or disabilities with a financial safety net while they are out of work. The claim money enables recipients to pay their bills during treatment and the recovery period.


Health Insurance Claims Statistics


According to the Health Funds Association of New Zealand (HFANZ), health insurance claims continue to rise each year. In 2012, health insurance payouts totaled $876 million, up 5.2% from 2011. About half of these claims are made to New Zealanders age 30 to 59.


For Tower Insurance, the most common procedures it paid claims on were cancer related and surgical treatments for children, such as tonsils and adenoids. The two largest individual claims it has paid to date are $128,000 for cancer and $122,000 for several heart problems.


The Significance of Insurance


The payment of these claims brings to light the importance of private insurance. Consider this question: If you don’t have insurance, would you be able to pay for these health treatments and the associated rehabilitation costs to get you well again?


If you answer “no” to the above question, can help you turn your response around. We work with the major insurance brokers to find the best income protection, mortgage repayment insurance, or other life and disability protection that meets your specific needs. You never know when you might have an illness or injury that prevents you from working for several months. Insurance claims statistics are testimony to why you should get protected today and avoid the financial consequences of not being able to work.


Can I Get Cover if I’ve Had Cancer?

iStock_000015792531_SmallIncome protection is a critical cover that provides benefits for lost income due to accidental non-work illness or injury. This type of insurance is critical because ACC does not reimburse or provide coverage in the event of cancer or even for a heart attack.

Considering the cost of living, if denied an ACC claim, how will you continue to support your family? People who are not covered by income protection insurance risk losing everything they have worked hard for because they suddenly become disabled, and can not work.

Why Our Income Is Our Greatest Asset

Our income is one of our greatest and most valuable assets that each of us possesses. Consider how much income you make in your working lifetime. If you make on average 40,000 a year over your working lifetime, which is age 18 until retirement at age 65, than you would have made $1,880,000 over 47 years. If you had a sports car that was valued at $1,880,000 would you insure it? Mostly likely you would insure anything you owned that is that valuable. It should be no different with our income. Income is an asset, but we must be able to work in order to earn that asset. If cancer or some other illness or injury prevented your from working, how much of your working lifetime income would you lose? The answer to that question is exactly why protection is important for every working person.

Statistics of Coverage

Currently, only 11% of working New Zealander’s have an income protection policy in place. That means that 89% of working adults in New Zealand are risking a large portion of their income if they should become disabled through a non work related illness or accident.

Consider that 20 years ago we hardly heard the words Alzheimers and yet today almost everyone knows someone who is dealing with Alzheimers. Cancer is also a disease that worldwide is effecting more and more people at a younger age. Cancer is something that older people got, but today, cancer does not discriminate by age. Young people are just as much at risk as are the older generations. An example is found by looking at breast cancer. Breast cancer was the most common form of cancer for women in 2009. Women over 40 years of age have the highest risk factor for developing breast cancer, but breast cancer can affect women of all ages.


If we consider the effects of colo-rectal cancer in New Zealand men, then 44.1 men will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer for each 100,000 men tested for colo-rectal cancer.


This information is not meant to scare people. It is meant to demonstrate the importance of looking ahead and planning for the unknown. That is what income protection does for people. It allows them to plan for the future in such a way as to protect a portion of their income should illness prevent them from working.

Cancer is an important discussion because of what the insurance industry refers to as pre-existing conditions. Since ACC does not pay benefits for cancer, people need to think about how to use income protection insurance to protect their income. Starting a policy when you are younger is one way to overcome the pre-existing condition clause that is used to eliminate cancer coverage from insurance policies. Most policies can be started when a person is 18 years old. Is it likely that an 18 year old will be diagnosed with cancer? No, it is not likely, but starting early protects more of your working lifetime income. It also eliminates pre-existing conditions and allows the policy holder to plan for their financial future. However this is just this writers opinion and we highly recommend speaking with a professional insurance adviser registered with the Financial Markets Authority.

Income protection is a critical type of coverage that more people need to discover and implement. It makes good business sense to protection your income for the unknown.