Asteron Life have taken out the premier title of 2014 Life Insurance Company of the Year at the annual New Zealand Insurance Industry Awards, for the second year running.

Their Managing Director Nadine Tereora summed up what she believes Asteron Life is all about, and what has contributed to their success:

"What sets us apart is our initiative to be bold in what we believe in... It's a collective responsibility between us and Advisers to do what's right by the customer.

We're in the business of paying claims, and so it's our mission to make a difficult time in customers' lives as stress-free as possible. We never stop seeking knowledge of the customer so that we can deliver products to meet their needs at the time they need them most."

The award also reflects Asteron's commitment to putting customers first throughout the claims process. They achieved a great result through their participation in the first-to-market claimant satisfaction survey that was conducted by General Reinsurance Life Australia Ltd, across New Zealand and Australia last year. The survey was benchmarked with 8 companies participating. They achieved a 1st rating overall amongst the participant life companies.

Being named the 2014 Life Insurance Company of the Year provides another proof point as to why customers can have confidence in having Asteron Life as their risk provider.

If you'd like to discuss moving your life insurance to Asteron give us a call on 07 578 3863.

What are the chances....really?

Well, the odds are pretty good for most of us that we will make it through our working lives, so that is good news!

The chances of males dying in NZ before age 65 are basically about 15%, or nearly 1 in 7.

The odds get a lot worse though when it comes to critical illnesses.

  • About 30% of New Zealanders will suffer from an invasive cancer of any sort
  • The chances of getting breast cancer or prostrate cancer is about 1 in 9.
  • 1 in 5 men will suffer from a heart attack, cancer or a stroke before age 65
  • 1 in 7 women will suffer from a heart attack, cancer or a stroke before age 65
  • 1 in 7 New Zealanders will suffer from an illness or accident lasting 6 months or more during their working lifetime.

So there is a really strong argument for having insurance that pays out in the event of suffering a trauma such as heart attack, stroke or cancer. They happen a lot, and to a lot of New Zealanders, during their working life.

An interesting statistic, that is often ignored, is that 100 of every 100 people alive today will die.  That is called 100% mortality - No one gets out alive.

We know it is going to happen – that “statistic” is a surprise to nobody.  Yet many people have a fear of discussing life insurance – or think it isn’t necessary for them at the moment.  Sometimes people are quite correct – they do NOT need it.  But how can you tell if you are unsure?

There are 2 key areas to think about when considering Life Insurance:

  • When is it necessary?
  • And when it is, how much do you need?

Life insurance is a waste of money for anyone who has no dependents or liabilities that their existing estate couldn’t meet.  In other words, when there is no-one else financially dependent on you there is no real loss that requires life insurance to step in and fix.

There are 2 possible exceptions to this general rule though.  Sometimes a lender will insist on some cover to increase their lending security, and sometimes people will start an insurance program before they actually need it just to ensure they get cover on good terms (guarantee their insurability while they are in good health).

The other side of the argument of course is you  DO need life insurance when someone else is dependent on your financial contribution and will suffer a financial loss if you die.  If you aren’t around anymore, but the need for your financial contribution is, then you should have life insurance.  Nothing else is quite as certain to walk in the door and help a family on the day you no longer can.

How much one needs is the tougher question, and can often only be adequately answered with trained and professional advice.  There are various methods used to determine the value of a human life, and each method has some merit.  One DIY way of getting a feel for what you may need is to do your own basic “needs analysis”.  Just pretend you aren’t here any more – and then get your partner to work out what they need coming into the house starting next week.

What last expenses are required (the settlement of estate, funeral expenses, etc)?  What loans or liabilities need to be removed?  Is there a need for an emergency fund to see a family through for 3-6 months?  If so, how much?  Does money need to be set aside for other purposes, such as children’s education, or a partner’s retirement fund?  Spend the money.

Your partner then does the same – and you may come up with different amounts and that is okay.  Just because less insurance is required for one person in a partnership it doesn’t diminish their value.  You should be working out what you need, not what is politically correct.

Don’t be scared of large numbers either – sometimes the numbers appear very large indeed.  But insurance has never been cheaper than it is today.

Would you prefer Life Insurance to pay the family an income?

One of the innovations in lifThree Kidse insurance in recent years that remains a bit of a mystery to many is a type known as “Family Income”, or “Family Protection”. It is life insurance that works the same way as other types of life insurance to get a claim, but the method of paying it out is very different. Instead of paying one large lump sum of insurance to a grieving family, it pays it out an agreed rate per year, for an agreed number of years.

Many families would far rather receive a regular income over a period of time, rather than that one large lump sum.  For many, it seems as though the money magically lasts longer as it is far easier to budget and use the payment wisely.  When a family has a life insurance claim, no matter which family member it is that has passed away, it is a time of the worst emotional stress.

Life insurance pays a lump sum or monthly payment in the event of death or terminal illness.

We have a range of solutions that can give you peace of mind. They are simple, straightforward and affordable plans that can be tailored to your situation. The plans are also flexible, so as life changes so can your level of protection.

What is Life & Life Income Cover? A lump sum or monthly payment in the event of death or terminal illness.

Why do you need it?

Three KidsIf you died, how would your family cope financially? What do you want for their future?

You could use your Life Insurance Cover to:

  • replace a lost income
  • provide financial 'breathing space' while coming to terms with the loss of a loved one
  • give a surviving parent or guardian the option to be able to stay home with the children
  • pay off the mortgage and any other debts you may have
  • set aside a nest egg for a surviving partner's retirement
  • cover the costs of education and healthcare for your family
  • as a minimum, use it to cover the cost of a funeral.

The one financial product nobody likes talking about it is “life insurance”.  The only important statistic is that 100% of us will die, and nobody wants to think about that.  Even though everybody eventually dies it doesn’t mean that everyone needs life insurance.

Some people don’t need life insurance, but others do.  How do you know if it’s you?

Life insurance is unnecessary if you have no dependents and no liabilities that your existing estate can’t meet.  If there is nobody financially dependent on you then there is no real financial loss to anybody else.  There are 2 possible exceptions to this generalisation however. 

Sometimes a lender wants insurance as extra lending security, and so a new homeowner might have to take out life cover to get the loan.  Also, some people might have family medical history that makes it harder to get insurance later in life, so it may be worthwhile getting life insurance while young and healthy, before they actually have dependents.

Life insurance must be considered though when someone else is dependent on your financial contribution.  In plain English: if you weren’t around anymore, but your earnings are still needed, then you should have life insurance.   There is just no other product that will deliver enough money to your family when you are gone.

So if you know you need some cover the key question is simply “how much?”

There are several ways of working out what is an appropriate amount and they all have some merit, but can provide a wide range of possibilities.  The best starting point though is a DIY “needs analysis”, and you don’t need special training to get started. 

Just pretend you aren’t here any more, then have your partner work out what they need coming into the household starting next week.  Establish the living expenses required, less what your partner will reliably be able to bring in (remembering that you aren’t here to help).  Then decide how long you will need that regular amount coming in for (a limited time, until retirement, or?)

Next you think about what last expenses are required (lawyers and estate settlement, funeral expenses, etc.)?  What loans or liabilities need to be removed?  Is there a need for an emergency fund to see the rest of the family through for a period?  If so, how much?  Is other capital needed for other purposes, such as children’s education, or your partner’s retirement fund? 

The process is really that easy - “spend the money”.  It isn’t morbid either – it is quite analytical and very practical.  It is also an excellent way of making sure you talk about your estate planning, and know what each other wants when the time comes.

Your partner does the same exercise next, and it may be that you both come up with different amounts of cover required.  That is fine, and just because less insurance is required for one person in a partnership it does not diminish their value or mean they are worth less in the family.  This is just about working out the financial help needed from an insurance policy.  You should be working out what you need and only pay for that, not what is politically correct. 

At this point you will have come up with what probably seems to be a couple of large numbers.  Don’t let that put you off – life insurance has never been cheaper than it is today, and it is very affordable.

Life insurance really is for the living – the survivors.  Make sure there is enough available for them to survive financially, so that the only thing they are missing is you.

If any of these stories strike a cord with you call Jonath York on 07 578 3863 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss your insurance requirements.

Real Life Insurance Stories gathered by Sovereign

Troy – Real Life Insurance Stories http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5XArOoAkHs

 

If you already have Life Insurance you need to know about this.

If you don't have life insurance then you probably want to know about this...

Should have known.A pretty standard feature of most life insurance policies today is something that none of us really like to talk about: Terminal Illness Benefit. It is a way of paying out the life insurance while you are still alive if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Nobody actually wants to claim on their life insurance. Not ever. The sad reality is that many people aren't fully prepared for the financial impact on themselves and their families if they are diagnosed as being terminally ill.

What is even more sad is many clients forget about this benefit in their life insurance policy in their time of highest stress...and it is there waiting to be used.

Of course one of the things to be aware of is that often when somebody has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and the life insurance benefit is paid out, much of the insurance money goes on trying to provide the best possible treatment and care. That is perfectly logical, reasonable and to be expected. It often presents an issue for the surviving family though.

questionThere are 3 key things that will determine what life insurance costs you:

  1. Your age
  2. Your health
  3. Your lifestyle

People often wonder why insurance companies charge different prices for different people of the same age, and the answer is because they present different risks of suffering death, critical illness or disability.

While the odds of suffering from any of these are roughly the same for a large group of people who are all the same age, the different health history of the individuals makes a big difference to the risk.

It might not even be the health history of the individual themselves, but their family history. Say you are a pretty healthy 40 year old with no major medical incidents in your life, but for 2 generations close family have been having heart attacks in their mid-forties. That is statistically significant and changes the risk for you as an individual, so insurers treat that case differently to all the other people in the same age group who do not have that sort of family history.

The other big factor that goes into working out whether people are higher or lower risks than others of the same age is “lifestyle”.

middleagedcoupleWhy Do Different People Pay Different Premiums for the Same Life Insurance?

There are 3 key things that will determine what life insurance costs you:

  1. Your age
  2. Your health
  3. Your lifestyle

People often wonder why insurance companies charge different prices for different people of the same age, and the answer is because they present different risks of suffering death, critical illness or disability.

While the odds of suffering from any of these are roughly the same for a large group of people who are all the same age, the different health history of the individuals makes a big difference to the risk.

It might not even be the health history of the individual themselves, but their family history. Say you are a pretty healthy 40 year old with no major medical incidents in your life, but for 2 generations close family have been having heart attacks in their mid-forties. That is statistically significant and changes the risk for you as an individual, so insurers treat that case differently to all the other people in the same age group who do not have that sort of family history.


The information on this site is intended as a guide only. The information is of a general nature and does not and cannot ever constitute personal advice.
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