Insurance News for Real People

Immigrating to New Zealand

Immigrating to New Zealand

 

Congratulations on your choice to move to New Zealand!

We may just about be the farthest country from just about anywhere on the planet, but it is the best country in the world.

If you have just stepped off the boat, or you have been here for a while, you are probably in for a bit of culture shock. Things here, while often looking the same as home, are just a bit different.

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Travel Insurance; trust the credit card or not?

Travel Insurance; trust the credit card or not?

We say not. While you may have free travel insurance cover on your credit card, we still recommend taking a specific policy for your travel, especially if it is going to be longer than a few weeks.

Booking tickets and planning, sure up until you get on the plane, or boat, use the credit card coverage (Within the constraints of your cover, travel duration could be a trap if it's a long trip). Once you step on the plane have your real cover in place.

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Electronic or Paper Insurance Applications?

Electronic or Paper Insurance Applications?

I often hear from my colleagues and providers about using electronic applications. Often phrased with the comment, “With what you do with technology, it is surprising you do so much with paper?”

Interestingly clients are also often surprised with the paper too. Maybe there is too much and more digital could be included. We will see.

Frankly of everything I do, the application form is the most difficult part of the whole process for clients. When we are in an environment where things are being simplified, insurance applications have got more difficult.

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Gay, Lesbian & Transgender Insurance

Gay, Lesbian & Transgender Insurance

A bit of a chunky subject this post.

Lately, there has been more noise around the gay community, particularly around transgender rights. Especially so with the recent shooting, with some horrifying treatment being dealt out to those 'who are not like the rest of us’.

I wrote the bulk of this post in April 2016, well before the mass shooting in the US and off the back of media comments and articles in newspapers, TV news and social media chatter. The tension for the shooting in June was brewing, for no other reason than people are different. Something similar is brewing in the US on the subject of abortions and the rulings of the state and supreme courts there.

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I want to protect my ability to buy insurance in the future

I want to protect my ability to buy insurance in the future

 

You do not have a need for insurance now, or you have sufficient cover for now, but you expect to need more cover in the future.

You do not want to find you have your future medical conditions affecting your cover when you do apply?

Part of this is why insurance companies want you to buy cover before you develop medical conditions, the insurance companies feel selected against if you only take cover because you have a condition. This is why they apply underwriting at application time.

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Increase your insurance cover without questions

Increase your insurance cover without questions

One thing that people hate when it comes to life insurance is the paperwork.

The application form is a bit of a book, and it can be a bit daunting to complete, even when you are fit and healthy. We advisers do not like them much either, but they need to be done.

What most people do not realise when they have existing insurance cover, that there are features built into many policies that let you increase them without lots of paperwork.

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Hazardous occupations and activities

Hazardous occupations and activities

I'm looking for insurance cover, but I do some interesting things;

By interesting things, I'm assuming this is related to your hobbies, activities and occupation. 

Insurance companies do take an interest in what activities you do because sometimes they are risky. Immediate things which come to mind for most people are bungy jumping and parachuting. The list is much longer.

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I've got 'terms', what does this mean?

I've got 'terms', what does this mean?

 If you hear this, your adviser may not have explained things as clearly as they could have. 

'Terms' is industry slang or jargon for special terms, which means a client's policy has been modified, by the insurer, from the original standard policy contract your cover was proposed on. 

The offer of terms or special terms offer generally happens at application time, but can be applied during the policy or at claim time. If the insurer becomes aware of a material fact, that will change the terms of the contract the insurer would have offered at application time. Avoid the later two examples as they can have unintended and surprising outcomes. 

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Insurance literacy, are you overstating it?

Insurance literacy, are you overstating it?

Interesting research out of Australia, yes I know Aussie. However, as our closest neighbour, most research has some value for insight or application in our market too.

What is interesting with this, is the insurance uptake across all products is generally better in Australia, with house car and contents being the most similar to us.

This research was specifically about insurance literacy, most of the time these reports are on investment or financial literacy or subject matter and insurance is treated as a by-line. Which for those relying on it, it is far from a by-line.

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Hybrid insurance products

Hybrid insurance products

I wrote recently about a new approach Asteron was taking to income protection.

In the right client situation quite appropriate, in others it would potentially be a disaster. As the options in insurance advice expand and hybrid or niche products develop, the need to have an adviser involved is even more apparent. One that really understands the application of insurance benefits to your risks.

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What is the significance of over insurance and under insurance?

What is the significance of over insurance and under insurance?

A really good question. Let's tackle over insurance first

With over insurance, in its simplest form, if the risk is not realised, you've paid more for the transfer of risk than you had too. What I'm meaning is if you don't die, don't have a trauma, don't have a loss of income or property, then the risk being covered hasn't been realised.

For example, if you have a $500,000 mortgage and have a $1,000,000 life policy and you make it to retirement having paid off the mortgage. Then you have likely paid double what you needed to, to transfer the risk. Assuming your need was limited to just the mortgage over that time.

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How to get your insurance claim paid, every time

How to get your insurance claim paid, every time

A question that is often asked, ‘So will the insurance company actually pay?’ Yes they do, they pay valid claims.

This is the issue, defining valid claims. Valid claims are claims that are both covered by the policy and the policyholders have been complete in their disclosure.

For example a cardiac event, similar to a heart attack, but isn’t severe enough to qualify as a heart attack under the definition of a heart attack on the trauma policy wording. This isn’t a valid claim, as it didn’t meet the definition of the policy document.

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Risk & Insurance the shades of grey

Risk & Insurance the shades of grey

Insurance and shades of grey, no not 50 shades but certainly something most people don't like to hear when it comes to insurance. Most people want to hear black and white. My experience is every claim has shades of grey and they are rarely cut and dried. There is always something that pops up; most are foreseeable, some not so much.

Where I am going with this is the differing effects different policy wordings have at claim time.

For example there are a few insurance company trauma policies where a good angina attack could almost qualify for a trauma claim and then there are others where you have to be half dead and not working, probably not working in a manual job ever again, before you could claim.

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Insurance policy and benefit replacement.

Insurance policy and benefit replacement.

By posting this, I’m going to raise a contentious topic. One that clients often do not understand, advisers generally avoid discussing, providers publicly discourage but operationally encourage and the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) is starting to have a closer look at.

I have stated the previous parties in a very specific order, from most impacted to the one with the stick they can use, and the players in between.

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Under Insurance - Part Two

Under Insurance - Part Two

I’ve got insurance this under insurance thing doesn’t apply to me? It probably does apply to you

What I’m referring to by underinsurance are the various studies around the world, that are pretty consistent with saying about 70% of the population are under insured when it comes to life insurance.

Why do I say it probably does apply to you?

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