Australian adviser, Ben Day says “I’ve spoken to mental health professionals who have said the last thing the vast majority of clients want is long periods off work.” Day goes on to say while some insurers are considerate and will review applications on a case-by-case basis, treating the claims based on severity and individual circumstances others have a 'blanket approach with no flexibility or consideration'. Click here to read more.
The Economist have produced a chart showing the cities with the highest homicide rates - the majority of them are in Latin America. Which prompts a question: which kills more people each year, murder or war? You know the answer when you think about it. But the really disturbing thing is that some countries have got murder rates that are so much lower than others (even when you choose countries of similar wealth) ... so we already know how to fix this. While murder seems so individual and small scale the world of risk and big data suddenly makes it look like something else: both reasonably predictable, and reasonably preventable. When something like that is permitted to go on then more questions should be asked, and more done to stop it.
No, the sharing economy is neither exempt from human behaviour, nor the law. Although some people think it is, that's just because you can often get away with it for a while... until disaster strikes. Sometimes people will behave badly, or have accidents, and break something really valuable in your Airbnb rental. If you then go and claim the insurer may point out that your house and contents cover was priced as a 'me living in the property' not 'renting the property out' cover. But this is easily fixed, they sell the other type, and you should buy it. It isn't even that expensive. So now you have no excuse.
I was recently asked by advisers about the strategies for setting trauma sum insured. Always concerned about compliance this group was interested to have a method which was better than simply 'as much as I can cut back to just what I can afford'. That was the inspiration for my Goodreturns article - at this link. Vital reading before you proceed.
Later, I asked insurers how they think you should set the sum insured. Partly based on the idea that insurers have this cool product, maybe they have an idea about how it can be used. However, it turns out that they pretty much don't have anything more sophisticated than most advisers have been running with: vague ideas that it is really useful stuff, you should buy some, buy as much as you can, probably more if you cannot get income protection... All of which is true, but hardly helps when we need to look at the regulator and justify how we assembled the 'ideal' recommendation.
So I have since turned back to advisers, and asked about the financial impacts of trauma diagnosis/events, where the client does not qualify for another benefit (like income protection or medical insurance payment). I have a suspicion that this forms the core of the 'need' for trauma. If you would like to contribute to this effort, please drop me a line. I shall be sure to share the results with you. Together, we can create a method for a reasonable estimate.
Incidentally, along the way I have had two advisers tell me that their experience with 'windfall' trauma benefits for some clients, and 'cancellations just before a claim event' with other clients, has pushed them to consider severity-based or severe trauma products for their clients.
I am looking for information on the financial impact of non-disabling cancer diagnosis. At the moment I am plowing through research reports but it is quite difficult to find specifically the financial impact where the client remains able to earn a living. This is the early-stage of cancer diagnosis, particularly applicable to minor cancers such as skin cancer, early stage prostate cancer, where the procedures have a limited impact on the ability to work and are usually easily accomodated by sick leave. Even case studies or your own or friends experiences related by email would be helpful.
Having spent some time in the United States recently I have taken renewed interest in health insurance, health care markets, and how customers make treatment decisions. It turns out that conflicts of interest and asymmetrical information make buying health care treatments difficult for many customers. A result of this is that customers sometimes fall back on other signals, with perverse effects.
Healthcare providers suffer from conflicts of interest. I may get a deluge of mail from unhappy surgeons proclaiming their impeccable ethics, but it is a fact that you do not always need the procedure recommended, or that there are other management options, or you could happily delay the procedure. It's just that the surgeon who is expert in that procedure may have little knowledge or interest in those alternatives.
Customers who do not wish to become experts in their particular disorder - and that's a rational choice for many, many customers - have to work out whether to trust the advice they are receiving based on other clues. Unfortunately some of the skills they have learned to become a good customer in other sectors may be neglected when it comes to this kind of decision. Having a good health system clients may feel that shopping around for advice is not open to them, when in fact it is. With rarely-used services it is harder to find someone who can tell you what to expect. With some disorders repeated procedures are rare, so for example, it is rare to find a person who can contrast two different experiences - especially in a tiny market like ours.
There is almost no-one who provides a service to give advice to buyers of health care (there's an opportunity right there).
So customers fall back on other signals, and a big one is price. Only this time they equate 'costs more' with 'better' and while that's often true, it isn't always, and a big consequence of that is a feedback loop into health-care inflation.
Adviser Ratings in Australia has published a survey of adviser's views on the claims handling by Australia's major insurers. Advisers keen to participate in a good study in New Zealand should drop me a line. Link.
A few months back we posted this article on the blog. We had a number of advisers ask us questions as to which insurers might cover things such as tattoos and prophylactic treatments. Here are the responses we received from the insurers:
Accuro They do cover permanent nipple tattoos for women after their mastectomies, however it is not mentioned in their policy document. Temporary tattoos would be covered as it would be considered a health related appliance.
AIA They will cover the cost for temporary and permanent tattooing, but not Prophylactic treatments for breast cancer.
nib Temporary tattoos not covered. Permanent tattoos would be covered up to the surgical limit. Prophylactic treatments are currently excluded. Cover is available for accessories such as scarves, hats, wigs, and mastectomy bras under Ultimate Health Max only.
Partners Life Nipple tattooing is covered under the reconstruction benefit. At this stage there is no cover for prophylactic treatment.
Southern Cross Temporary nipple tattoos are not covered, but permanent tattoos are. Prophylactic treatment is covered after three years of continuous cover.
Sovereign Both temporary and permanent nipple tattoos are covered. Prophylactic treatment is not.
It appears that Southern Cross are the only health insurer that will cover prophylactic treatment for BRCA 1 or 2.