DATE: 25/10/2016
CATEGORY: Awesome news, Blog, Insurance, Life and Income Protection, Managing risk, Personal risk insurance

independent insurance advisers give consumers the best outcome

mychillybin100789_471_smallImpartial insurance advice is just as important, if not more important, than impartial mortgage advice.But when you hear the words “insurance adviser”, what goes through your mind? Expensive products, uncomfortable topics, sensitive personal information to discuss, and a hard sell from someone paid by commission?

We’ve all heard the war stories but not many people stop to consider, what if the opposite was also true: value for money cover, sensitivity and professionalism dealing when with personal information and a needs-based solution?

As with getting the best possible mortgage, getting impartial advice from an independent expert is the only way to ensure you get the best outcome.

Yet many people who may, or may not, have experienced the value of working with a mortgage adviser to get the best possible mortgage deal make the mistake of dealing directly with their bank for personal risk insurance. If you go down this route too very often you’ll end up with policies, that while easy to have put in place, are less comprehensive.

The consequence? Less choice, greater exposure to risk and reduced likelihood of a good outcome should you ever need to claim.

a true story

Recently our clients, a young couple, went to their bank and took out personal risk insurance with them. When asked why they didn’t come to us for impartial advice they said, “The Bank made it easy. Just a few simple questions to answer and it was arranged.”

However, they quickly cancelled their policy and took cover through one of our recommended insurers, Partners Life, when they realized they had taken out the worst policy and exposed themselves to unnecessary risk– see the response below to them from a senior adviser at Partners Life (the clients’ personal details are deleted to protect their privacy)

“Of course the process is easier with The Bank, few questions and plenty of outs as they don’t cover what companies like Partners Life offer. The reality is the more information disclosed the easier it is to get the correct Underwriting terms and claim.

They have taken the worst cover with huge risks.

If they are looking at Crisis Cover, then it’s like comparing a Corolla with a Bentley. I have looked at this product before, in fact a broker I know, his wife is the product manager at Westpac for insurance, and she was astounded as to what we provide.

Do they want a thorough process with cutting edge product and claims paid? We have paid over 420 trauma claims since we started, many for Carcinoma in Situ which the banks don’t cover.”

In summary:

  • The more information that is gathered and disclosed at application time the more accurate the underwriting terms
  • Thorough processes and cutting-edge products and reputation for claims payments matters most

the questions you need to ask

  • Is having a policy put in place quickly most important, or a thorough process with cutting edge product and claims paid?
  • Do you want the best cover with the least risks?
  • Is value for money, with extra benefits included important to you, or speed of execution?

minimise your risk

If you’re considering taking out insurance directly with your bank, or have already taken cover, here’s what we recommend you do to ensure you have the best possible cover:

Compare the definitions in the (bank) policy document, together with the number of medical conditions covered, with the insurer documents your trusted adviser has recommended. While life cover is life cover, when it comes to other specialist covers such as trauma, permanent, total disability, health and other covers which are definition based, drilling down into the fine-print and understanding the differences is vital.

Clarify your needs – one size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to protecting personal risk. Tailored solutions that help you clarify your needs, identify your greatest concerns, and offer comprehensive cover, minimize risk, and provide greater ‘peace of mind’ that should anything happen to you, or those most important to you, your futures are protected.

Getting independent, impartial advice needn’t be a lengthy process; however important information needs to be gathered upfront regarding your medical history to ensure you are offered the right cover, with the right terms. This avoids surprises at claim time.

Some providers (like us) with smart systems enable you to apply for cover from the comfort of your own home.

Why use an insurance adviser?

  • Greater choice. Using a third-party adviser gives you choice. Banks, as with mortgages, only offer one solution – theirs. Most insurers don’t deal with the public directly and only work with advisers. A good adviser deals with a number of insurers to ensure you don’t miss out and to find the best fit.
  • Knowledge. A good adviser can help clients navigate products they don’t understand.
  • Customised, tailored advice. Using an independent trusted insurance adviser helps you make informed and smart decisions. You’ll be in a far better position than someone who has taken no advice at all.
  • Greater value. As with negotiating your mortgage, using the services of a skilled insurance adviser saves you time and money and provides greater value. You’ll get the best personal risk insurance with the best possible terms, for the best possible price.
  • Peace of mind. Arranging personal risk cover through your trusted adviser gives you greater peace of mind. You can sleep easy at night knowing the people and things that matter most to you are covered, with no drama, hassles, or nasty surprises should you ever need to claim.

you don’t know what you don’t know

“Clients don’t know what they don’t know,” said Fred Dodds, chief executive of the Institute of Financial Advisers. “All of a sudden they’ve got a mortgage and they think they need life insurance but there’s a bigger picture than that. They need to consider what would happen if they need to replace the money tree of the person bringing in income.

“If that stops, other things are going to stop as well, that might be saving for the kids’ education, or money supporting the person who’s left looking after the kids. They need life insurance to cover the mortgage but to what extent do they need other things – income protection, do they need trauma cover? They need advice.”

Having an adviser on your side can also help when you need to claim.

“You hear stories about someone’s untimely death and the other party had no idea about the finances,” Dodds said. “The adviser steps in and says ‘step back, leave it will me and I’ll walk you through the process’. They get the claim handled a lot more effectively.”

what about price? 
It’s sometimes seen as being cheaper to buy direct. But the devil is in the detail. Some insurance covers are cheaper and some are more expensive. Some offer better cover and some worse. Generally, bank direct products are simpler, without all the bells and whistles of a product that can be explained by an adviser.

what about privacy?
Some people are justifiably worried about their privacy, especially when it comes to sharing their medical information and health history. As part of the underwriting process, your medical data must be disclosed and your adviser acts as an intermediary to facilitate this.

On the most part, your adviser will not need to look at the details you have provided. However, if you have omitted important matters of detail the insurer may request that your adviser come back to you to gain further clarification as part of the underwriting process. In addition, from time to time your insurance adviser may provide added value by going into bat to negotiate better terms on your behalf, especially in cases where you have pre-existing conditions or where exclusions may otherwise be applied.

We empathize with the desire to keep your health records private. The team at Awesome Mortgages and Insurance can assure you that we treat your medical records no differently than your financial information. This being with the utmost confidentiality and sensitivity.

commission-based  free advice
As with mortgage advice, the reason advisers like us are able to offer you free advice is that we are paid a commission, and we are open about this. The commission is the insurer’s way of remunerating professional advisers for professional risk, the time it takes to acquire expertise, and to stay abreast of new developments.

It also compensates us for the time it takes to do a free comprehensive needs analysis and to look across a range of providers and make personalized recommendations which benefit you. As Ballantyne also acknowledges, because of our impartiality we’re able to ensure the solutions we recommend are the best available and tailored exclusively to fit your needs.

While remuneration from insurances is an integral part of our business, this is not why we are passionate about our clients having the best covers, with the best insurers. A win-win is essential for us. We’re proud of the long-term collaborative relationships we have with our mortgage clients, and providing personal risk insurance is a further way we provide value.

Every New Zealander should be encouraged to use an impartial, trusted adviser. You’ll be better off. But don’t take it from us. Here’s what some of our clients have said:

personal, detailed and honest help
Having personal, detailed and honest help was why our friends recommended Laurie and Cassandra. They were more than helpful (and patient) and did a great job in helping us come to the right decision-even though we live in Wellington and they are up in The Bay of Islands. Super helpful!! ~ Joris, Mieke & Ollie (2-years)

cost-effective and easy
My partner and I were buying our first joint property and due to settle on an expensive home when Laurie asked: “What if? What if the worst happened and you died?” A grim enough thought, but worse to think my grieving partner could be kicked out of our home. Everything was done online, super-fast, efficient and easy. Life insurance gave me peace of mind. ~ CG F. ~Creative Director

worthwhile in every way
Hi Laurie, just wanted to thank you for giving us the opportunity to move our life, income protection, and health insurance policies to Awesome Mortgages four years ago. I admit we were initially wary of changing providers because the idea of more paperwork and hassle was very off-putting. But you were right, it wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought, and it has most definitely been worthwhile in every way.

To begin with, you took the time to understand in depth exactly what our needs and priorities were, and tailored our policies to suit us perfectly. You continue to monitor them annually to ensure we’re only paying for what we need – this is particularly important with our income protection because we are self-employed with fluctuating incomes. In this respect, it’s been a very different experience from our previous providers who basically washed their hands of us once they had sold us our policies.

As you know we were previously both quite cynical about insurance but we’ve made two claims on our health policy in the last year and in both cases they have been paid out with a minimum of fuss. The providers you work with have been as straight up and reasonable as you said they were. So, all in all, we’d like to say thank you for another great service and more excellent advice. ~ Ali, John & Tiger ~Creatives

getting started

Our collaborative, personalized needs analysis is a key point of difference in Awesome Mortgages and Insurance’s approach.

Two easy ways we recommend to get started are either to let us guide you from the start – or to work things out for yourself first:

1. Let us guide you from the start

To find out how much insurance you really need click here and tell us what’s most important to you – your biggest concerns and highest priorities – and let us know any covers you may already have.

We’ll then get back to you with a confidential, customized, obligation-free assessment and a personalized recommendation.

Once you know your options you can then make your final decisions.

2. Learn more about different options and decide what you may need for yourself

To understand what types of cover are available and to get a feel for the type of cover you may need go to my insurance options or what is my risk? It’s a great place to start. You may also like to read our blog – how much insurance cover do you need – which includes real-life stories.

We can then discuss and fine-tune the options, and give you indicative costings.

As with getting the best possible mortgage, getting impartial advice from an independent expert is the only way to ensure you get the best outcome for you and those who matter most.


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Posted in Awesome news, Blog, Insurance, Life and Income Protection, Managing risk, Personal risk insurance

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