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 nzlife.co.nz
  • Lifebroker at lifebroker.co.nz
  • CIGNA at cigna.co.nz
  • Westpack at westpac.co.nz
  • Sovereign at sovereign.co.nz

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:

cigna.co.nz 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:

westpac.co.nz 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:

Sovereign.co.nz 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.

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