Key considerations for life insurance. How to get the best deal and avoid the pitfalls.

Key considerations for life insurance. How to get the best deal and avoid the pitfalls.

We spend a lot of time creating information for customers on how best to approach the purchase of Life Insurance. We understand it can be a complicated purchase so, here is a handy guide on key considerations for first time buyers.

Believing life insurance is too expensive.  

One of the most common objections we hear from those who do not have life insurance is around the cost. Many people believe that it is out of reach for most Australians. The truth is, according to Canstar, consumers overestimate the cost of life insurance by almost double*.

Life insurance isn’t, generally, any more expensive than health insurance or car insurance. The big difference is that we are talking about your life and the livelihood of those who depend on you. Based on that, it is worth looking into (at the very least).

Buying too little coverage.

The more life insurance coverage you buy, the more you will pay. That does not mean you should skimp on coverage, though, just to save money. The last major study of this by Rice Warner in 2015 estimated that Australians are underinsured by $471 billion for basic life cover and $3,435 billion for income protection. That is a staggering amount, and the industry continues to grapple with how to address this.

Relying too much on employer-provided coverage.

If you have a group life insurance policy through work, don’t assume that the coverage you have is adequate. Generally, these types of policies are based on broad assumptions rather than individually costed needs. Plus, group life insurance policies typically aren’t portable. That means that you can’t keep your coverage if you leave your job. With the large number of layoffs related to the coronavirus pandemic, people with life insurance policies through work have lost their coverage, that’s why it’s important to either have your own policy or have additional coverage which tops up the gap.

Keeping Information from the insurance company.

When you apply for life insurance, you’ll be asked a variety of questions about your health, your family’s medical history, your occupation and even your hobbies. This is part of the process called underwriting that insurers use to decide whether to give you coverage and what rate to charge you. It’s important to answer all of the questions honestly. Insurers may verify the information you provide by asking for your permission to get your medical records from your doctor and your prescription drug history, and using other third party sources and possibly requiring you to take a medical exam. An insurer might deny you coverage if it discovers you’ve withheld information on an application. If you do successfully hide something (which can be hard to do), the insurer might not pay a claim if your death is related to the information you didn’t disclose.

Not understanding what you’re buying.

Understanding the types of life insurance is not a simple task. For starters ‘life insurance’ isn’t just cover if you die. It can also cover things like permanent disability, trauma or accidents, or your income if you’re unable to work. There are many types of life insurance and the only way to really know what you’re covered for is to read the documentation or speak to your Financial Adviser.

Not understanding the products also robs you of one of the enduring benefits of life insurance (outside making a claim) which is comfort. If you never have to make a claim you have the comfort of knowing in a near-miss how you or your dependents would be taken care of. COVID-19 has shown many people what it feels like to be unprepared and that feeling can be awful. Life Insurance can give you peace of mind in uncertainty.

Believing you can’t be covered if you have ever been sick (or will have to pay a lot). 

Whether you have pre-existing conditions or have had an illness or injury in the past, does not automatically disqualify you from Life Insurance, nor does it mean you will have an exclusion. Take Mental Illness as an example, if you have had minimal time off for a mental health situation, and it was a while ago, but have since returned to work, we would generally consider that part of ‘life’ and standard rates would likely apply.

Putting Off the Purchase of Life Insurance.

One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to buying life insurance is waiting to buy a policy. Budgets and time can easily push off a life insurance purchase. And don’t wait with the hope that you’ll improve your health, such as losing weight, because every year you get older, and waiting increases the chance that you could develop other health issues.

The younger you are when you buy life insurance, the more affordable it will be. That’s because your age as well as your health affect the rate you pay.

 

As the saying goes, life insurance is like a parachute, if you don’t have it the first time you need it, you don’t get a second chance.

 

 

Please note. This information has been prepared without considering your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on it, please consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.

*Canstar.com.au/life-insurance/can-you-afford-life-insurance-or-overestimating.

 

Scott Hodgson

Scott Hodgson

Chief Underwriter

What is a ‘Recharge Room’ and why did we build one?

What is a ‘Recharge Room’ and why did we build one?

The science is in, and it’s undeniable that the scenic quality of our daily environments has a direct correlation to our personal wellbeing*. So when we set out to build the kind of environment that would support our people in delivering their best, we looked far and wide for some of the most innovative ideas. One such concept was the idea of the Recharge Room.

What is a recharge room? 

As the name may imply, they’re rooms where employees can take a few minutes of downtime to zone out, relax, stretch, nap, pray or even meditate. Everything in the room has been designed to support ‘recharging’ (however you choose to do that). From the tranquil forest mural wall, to the electric-massage mat, to the meditation books and puzzles, and aromatherapy kit, we designed a room that would maximize relaxation and allow employees to focus on their wellbeing.

Why create one?

People need breaks. Especially our teams who are on the frontline of a business like ours. While many employers still measure ‘frontline productivity’ based on the number of hours invested in a given task, we don’t believe that’s a very reliable organisational metric. Instead, we focus on the quality of the tasks completed, for example – feedback from our customers.

To support our people in doing their best we looked at everything they need to be productive. This includes the right tools, the right tasks, the environment around them, and an internal culture with a strong focus on positive mental health. While ‘mental health’ might still be taboo in many companies, studies^ have shown a strong correlation between meditation and improved concentration, which includes focus and over-all performance. So why not encourage this?

Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom

How much does it cost to have a baby?

How much does it cost to have a baby?

If predictions are true, in 9-ish months we are going to be looking at a lockdown baby boom. But what is the true cost of having a child? We look at some of the costs that don’t normally get factored in. The figure could be the cold shower you need.

 

The true cost.

More than two thirds of women give birth in the public system*, and while this is essentially no-cost, not everything you need is covered. For example, scans or pathology tests (if done outside the hospital) and medicines. So while these things may have a Medicare rebate, there are out-of-pocket expenses.

 

Have you thought about…

There are just some things that are really easy to remember to budget for. All the cute stuff for the baby that generally get parents, grandparents and friends a little ‘goo goo gah gah’. Things like baby blankets, clothing, a cot, pram, change-table. But the stuff that often gets overlooked and not budgeted for are just as important. For example, maternity clothes for mum, physiotherapy, exercise classes, regular ultrasound scans, GP visits, antenatal classes and childcare. These things can easily run into the hundreds (and thousands) of dollars over time.

We also know that once new parents bring a child into the world it’s a key prompt for many people to consider Life Insurance because once you have a child you want to ensure that they are looked after if something was to happen to you – for example death or permanent disability. Given that the cost of protecting you and your family only increases with time, it’s something that’s advantageous to lock-in as soon as possible – it can save you big bucks over the life of a policy.

There are very many things you cannot control in this world like COVID-19 and whether there will be enough toilet paper in the grocery store, but you can ensure that you take out insurance to protect your family from financial burdens should the worse happen. 

 

Putting a figure on it.

According to the NATSEM Income and Wealth Report from 2013, for a middle-income family in Australia, the cost of raising two kids, from birth to when they leave home is $812,000. If you’re a higher income family, this figure increases to $1.09 million whereas a lower income family can look to spend $474,000. As the cost of living has increased since this report was released, you can expect these figures to be even higher in 2020. Food for thought, right?

While no one can put a cost on how much you love your kids, there is a reality around how much you’re going to need to budget if you want to hear the patter of little feet.

*https://www.abc.net.au/life/the-cost-of-childbirth-and-the-hidden-bills-to-prepare-for/10350778

Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom

Supporting clients, customers and community during COVID-19.

Supporting clients, customers and community during COVID-19.

It’s been heartening to see how Australians everywhere have come together to help flatten the curve and support each other during these unprecedented times. Whether it’s through physical distancing, local manufacturers turning their trade to producing essentials (like hand-sanitizer) or just supporting positive mental health with a bit of fun, we’re all doing out bit to ensure we get through this together. We’re no different. We have made a number of significant changes to how we do business in order to support Adviser and Broker clients, our customers and communities. Here are just some of those initiatives.

Adapting our claims process.

Our role is to be there when people need us most, and there is no time when you will need help more than at claim time. To guide our systems and processes we have a simple and straight forward claims philosophy. We treat all people who lodge a claim the way we would want to be treated if we were in their place. Integrity isn’t just our name, it’s also the way we do business.

We’ve eliminated claim forms for almost all claims and replaced them with a tele-claim process that allows us to collect the information we need for a claim quickly and with less follow ups for additional information. We’ve even extended this to generating fully personalised treating physician questionnaires so that busy Doctors can provide information on a claim without having to wade through pages of questions.

We’re also continuing to pay ongoing benefits even if medical information is temporarily unavailable from hospitals and medical centres. This ensures your clients keep getting paid without putting any additional pressure on medical professionals during this time.  

Financial hardship.

We have invoked our financial hardship policy for anyone who has lost a job as a result of COVID-19 or who has had a significant reduction in hours/pay. Not only have we introduced premium waivers, but we’re also allowing suspension of cover for 6 months or 1 year, depending how long the policy has been in-force.  

Ongoing support for our frontline.

As we have always done, we’re continuing to support Australia’s frontline workers by maintaining our standard application rules. This means no loadings or exclusions for frontline workers and we have expanded the definition of ‘frontline’ to include many additional essential jobs like Pharmacist, Police Officer and Aged Care worker.

Supporting Advisers and their clients through technology.

Our Award-Winning Adviser portal was built to accommodate both remote working for Advisers and remote applications for clients. We have a number of features that support this like; an adaptive portal that can be accessed on any device from anywhere with an internet connection, our “Send App to Client” feature which allows Advisers to get clients to complete their background and medical information via a secure link in the privacy of their own home (eliminating the need for tele-interviews or paper forms), and we have a raft of features that save Advisers time – like virtual underwriting.

Supporting our people.

Our entire company was able to transfer seamlessly to ‘working from home’ within 24 hours and we continue to comply with all physical distancing rules with minimal impact to underwriting, applications or processing of claims. We’ve been fortunate as a new operation to be able to leverage the same technology that big tech companies like Google and Facebook use. This means all our people can access everything they need to support your clients and our customers remotely. We’re ensuring they’re able to be here for the long-haul too with a number of programs to support and sustain positive mental and physical health.  

If you would like more information on any of these initiatives, feel free to get in contact with us

Lesley Mamelok

Lesley Mamelok

Chief Executive Officer

Scientific ways to make you happy!

Scientific ways to make you happy!

There are a lot of tips and tricks to coping with life right now, but we have waded through them all to bring you the best ways to be happier – backed by science. 

Spend money … on other people.

‘Prosocial spending’ is essentially buying things for other people and it’s been proven to be more effective than buying things for yourself. A 2012 Harvard study gave away some money to participants of the study. Half of them were asked to spend it on buying things for themselves, while the other half was asked to spend the money by buying things for others. They found that the people who spent the money on other people were happier when recalling the purchase than those who had bought something for themselves.

Sleep more.

Sleep seems to be the cure for just about everything, but stick with us on this one, here comes the science… Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories gets processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories yet recall gloomy memories just fine.

Give gratitude.

Gratitude is the act of being thankful for simple things in our life. Practicing gratitude has been proven to increase happiness. There’s a study from Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that suggests that a conscious focus on blessings (in other words: practicing gratitude) have emotional and interpersonal benefits. When practicing gratitude, you may find you spend your day thinking about what you are going to put in your journal so your focus changes to what you can be grateful for. Life changing!

Spend more time with family and friends

Some of you might be thinking “not my family”, but did you know that staying in touch with friends and family is one of the top five regrets of the dying. Daniel Gilbert, Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, explains it best. “We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things, we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.” And while you might not be able to physically be with them at this time, video conferencing is the next best thing. 

 

If all else fails, pop on some great music and bop along. Here’s our suggestion…  

Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom