medical insurance

When the Insurance Company Says NO!


What’s this? Even Brendon got turned down by an insurance company?! Here’s how it happened and some takeaways for us all.


My insurance company just said “no” to me. I am not happy. I am a current client of theirs and I sell their products to my clients.


I have personal insurances in place, but, in my annual insurance review, my circumstances had changed enough that I needed a bit or a re-org. I have existing cover (by this I mean life, income protection, trauma and health covers) at a number of providers and I was going to consolidate these and save a little money.


But when I applied I was declined. 


The reason for this was to do with my medical risk. 12 years ago I had a "neurological event" that looked a bit like a stroke. After investigating, they found that one of my heart valves "leaked" a bit (in the trade, it’s known as a PFO) I have had it all my life and, at the time, the best medical advice was to let it be. It wasn't a major issue—apart from the fact it could let an occasional blood clot through and in to my brain!?! Time has moved on and it seems that the medical advice may be changing. So, due to this uncertainty, my insurance company doesn't want to take the risk.


My immediate response was anger. 


How dare they? Don't they know who I am!? As well as the fact that I run ultra-marathons and so am pretty fit and healthy! I thought I was a pretty good risk. However, I do understand their rationale and I am now looking in to my medical options.


As well as working with my GP and a referral to a cardiologist, I may well use an expert’s (best doctors in the world) second opinion service known as "Best Doctors" that comes with my insurance. My health insurance may get a work out in the months to come. 


Watch this space.


Finally, some take homes from my experience:


There are two times when an insurance company might say “no”. One is when it comes to getting the cover in place. The second is at claim time. Trust me, it is far better to get a “no” at application time than at claim time.


At the risk of turning my little personal anecdote in to a sales opportunity …  our job at Velocity is to get the best cover, at the best price, and to ask all the questions at the start to ensure that, at claim time, the money arrives when you need it most.


Brendon Ojala is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.



When money is tight, should you drop insurance?


With Christmas approaching, now is the season of strained bank balances. So is dropping insurance policies a good way to watch your pennies? Simon says no.

My eldest has decided he wants a turtle for Christmas. These are not the cheapest items to get, let me tell you. So, having a birthday close to 25 December, he's accepted the fact that this will be a combined present. Very kind of him.


If you’re considering getting a turtle here are the costs to expect: First, they need a habitat. They need a UV light to live (this isn’t a “treat” for them, it is a NECESSITY). Your tank will need a light and an area for them to bask in. You need to have a docking station for them to crawl out of the water and bask in their lighting (also mandatory). Heavy duty aquarium filter, a very specific habitat, water heater ... the list goes on.


For the full turtle set up, you won't see much change from a grand—and that doesn’t even include the turtle!


Next question is what type of turtle to get. Painted? Red ear slider? Eastern box? Yes, these are all types of turtles. I haven’t started going crazy … yet.


My son has been saving like mad for months, meticulously putting ticks on the chalk board each time the dishes are done, room is tidied, washing is away.


He's also very understanding that mum and dad have all sorts of unavoidable life bills to make (regardless of the holiday period) like a mortgage, food, petrol, day care ... and, boy, does that list go on.


I’m sure I’m not alone in facing some financial pressures at this time of year. For many, these times might mean skipping a few meals out (and drinks), cutting back on subscriptions, uploading some old treasures to Trade Me and maybe even cancelling a policy or two.


Whatever you do to save your pennies, don't do that last option. You never know what’s just around the corner. And if things do happen to turn sour, those insurance policies could be the most important asset you have.


What have you arranged to be left over when you go? Is the mortgage covered? Kids university fees accounted for? What about if you get sick? Income protection? Trauma?


Most of the folks I talk to about insurance want to look at what they have in place because somebody they know had something frightening happen. These events can kick you into gear to get covered. But don’t wait for those events to spark you into action, now’s a good a time as ever.


So, where can we help?


As unaligned brokers, we provide free, confidential, unbiased reviews of people’s insurance. These chats are frank discussions about what you should consider having in place. We’ve found that people can often save up to 20 per cent on their premiums simply by having a chat with us.


And maybe you’ve already got your insurance sorted. I'm happy to arrange a special something for you if you refer a friend (that draws down a policy). I've given away plenty of awesome referral gifts recently … but, please, don’t mention turtles!


Get sorted prior to Christmas (and do keep in mind portion distortion at the table).


Simon O’Neill is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.


Why Your Insurance Company Wants to Act Fast on Your Behalf

It can surprise many how willing good insurance companies are to pay income and health insurance claims and their promptness is all for good reason: because, for them (and for you), a doctor at the top of the cliff is better than an ambulance at the bottom.


More claims would be paid and more people helped if insurers knew more about what was up with their clients’ health. For example, it’s estimated about 30 per cent of all income protection claims are related to mental health issues (and this statistic is slightly higher amongst the self-employed). So, what the insurers want to do in mental health claims is to intervene quickly, and, if possible, put support structures in place before things get really out of control.


This early intervention strategy is actually good business for the insurer. The sooner you get help in a claim situation, the better, because the claim might be much smaller if the issue is dealt with promptly rather than left to snowball. In this way, insurance companies spend money in the short term to save more money in the long run.  


So, this is where your doctor comes in. If you are unwell, without wanting to sound tactless, please tell us what your doctor has told you. This will allow us to see if we can get some more support from your insurer and assist in the road to recovery.


It’s a win-win: You get help faster and stay healthy; the insurance company saves money.


Graham Goodisson is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.