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nib Launches New Health Insurance Products for Migrants

nib has launched a new product designed for migrants arriving in NZ. “Nib becomes the first health insurer to embrace the changing demographics of an increasingly diverse New Zealand, transforming its business and health insurance product range to cater for all Kiwis,” said the media release from the health insurance provider. Click here to read more.

Leaving packets of data by the side of the road in paper bags...

A major US insurer is reported to have sent thousands of letters to HIV positive clients containing information and options about filling prescriptions for the virus. Unfortunately content in the letters may have breached of privacy as some of the content was visible through the envelope window. Click here to read more.

That's a worthwhile reminder that privacy breaches don't just happen with new technology: leaving data by the side of the road in little paper bags also has security problems. Although it may not be as easy to lose hundreds of thousands of records to hackers, sometimes it only takes one person knowing your private information for it to be a very big problem. 

Southern Cross Surplus Sinks 81% on Rising Payouts

Southern Cross has reported a 81% drop in annual surplus as an increase in claims outpaced rising premiums.

'The Auckland-based mutual posted a surplus of $6.8 million, down from $35 million a year earlier when relatively flat claims led to a jump from a $5.8 million surplus reported in 2015. Income from premiums rose 6% to $923 million, the fourth year in a row that premium income has risen by about 6%. That outpaced a 4% increase in membership to 853,160 members.'

Click here to read more.

Trauma Product: BNZ LifeCare changes, but severe heart attack definition remains limited

BNZ made a number of changes to their LifeCare products on the 1st of September. Critical conditions such as benign brain tumour, major head trauma and out of hospital cardiac arrest have been added to their Critical Condition benefit. However, the severe heart attack definition remains tough by industry standards with a requirement to meet at least three of four defining factors or alternatively have a substantially ventricular ejection fraction. A couple of exclusions have also been removed from some benefits including an exclusion for war and one for HIV. Click here to read more.

Life Happens

Here is a not-for-profit organisation in the US called 'Life Happens' which has a range of tools to 'inspire the public to take personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance and related products.' As this month is Life Insurance Awareness Month in the States the site has many useful resources for consumers.


Insurance - relatively unimportant?

The belief that insurance is relatively unimportant is easy to catch on to. Life is safer - a lot safer - than it used to be. In a world filled with big ugly crises to worry about (North Korea, climate change, you name it), it is easy to ignore it. Our recent elections, too, have kept the focus on bigger issues, it seems, than insurance. Whether the issues are the health service, the economy, or immigration, there is always something bigger, more important, than insurance to think about. Insurance gets ignored, after all, it is part of the promise: peace of mind is another way of saying forgettable. 

But insurance shouldn't be forgotten, of course. That's because the level of safety net is basic. I don't care who you voted for, if your household income is at the median or above you will find the state safety net to be set uncomfortably low, with a fair few holes in it. The role of a good financial adviser is to get you saving, investing, and insuring. Each of those strategies creates an additional line of defence for when things get tough. They might be unimportant to voters as a whole, but to each of us, they should be something we check annually - like the civil defence kit, or the smoke detector batteries.

Australia: Quality of Risk Advice Unchanged

This article on riskinfo.com.au claims that ASIC states the level of non-compliant life insurance has not changed since the release of Report 413 in late 2014. However, changes are, apparently, expected after the introduction of commission caps and claw-back arrangements.