Insurance is one of the few things in life that you hope you will never really have to use.
We pay premiums year after year for the peace of mind of knowing that we’ll be covered should the worst happen – but also crossing our fingers that we never really have to find out what that would be like.
But every year, thousands of New Zealanders do call on insurers when they hit a crisis, and it’s then that the power of insurance is starkly obvious. It makes the difference between having to sell the house and turning to family and friends for financial help – and keeping the bills paid as much as normal.
So, how much do insurers really pay out?
Insurers pay out more than $1 billion a year, or $3.3 million a day, in personal insurance claims to New Zealanders. About 40 per cent of those are Life Insurance; Trauma policies are also a significant source of claims.
How does the claims process work?
If you have a financial adviser, the claims process is relatively simple.
Depending on the type of policy on which you’re claiming, you will be required to provide different information – details of your previous earnings for an income policy pay out perhaps or medical records.
In the first instance, you contact your insurance adviser to start the claim.
They will provide you with the necessary documentation to fill in to submit to the insurance company and ensure that all the required details are supplied. Having someone to explain the process to you and guide you through can be invaluable at a time of high-stress, as insurance claims situations often are.
Your adviser will then liaise with the insurer, including helping to arrange any independent assessments that the insurer requires.
If the claim is accepted, the payout will be made as determined by your policy (type and details) – either immediately, or after a set period of time, if you have a stand-down clause in your policy.
If the insurer declines your claim, or if there are any aspects that are questioned, your insurance adviser will make your case for you – your adviser is your advocate at claim time.
What should your insurance adviser do?
While most people rarely claim on their insurance policies, your adviser has experience with the claims process and knows how the process works.
They will take the pressure off you and your family by dealing with the insurance company, arranging the required forms and files, answering your questions about the process and relaying information to you.
Your adviser will also be your advocate and will translate into plain English any communications from the insurance company that are difficult to understand – advisers are used to dealing with insurance small print. When you’re in a difficult situation, it can be hard to keep on top of basic life administration, so an insurance adviser is a big help to take the pressure off.
You hope you never have to claim on your insurance policies. But having an adviser on your side, can make all the difference in life’s hardest moments.
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Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. Please use your discretion and seek advice before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article.