Some need to know, with a bit of WealthDesign nice to know thrown in.

Where the rubber meets the road

What a week! It’s been ‘claim time’ at WealthDesign this week it seems. We’ve been helping our clients out, at the most important end of the insurance puzzle – when they most need it.

As much as I would prefer my clients weren’t having to claim on their insurance, because they were healthy and happy, I feel privileged to be able to help them in their hour of need. It reinforces why I’m a firm believer in insurance, and why we always work backwards, from a claim stance. We want to know that if one of our clients needs to claim, we can hand-on-heart know that they will be looked after, both by us, and by the insurance company.

This is why we are very careful around the process of putting cover in place, and with who we trust to look after our clients. In the past few weeks, two of the larger insurers have been bought out by third parties. What impact this has on their claim handling process is still to be seen. When people say “oh it’s business as usual” I don’t quite believe them as all culture flows from the top down. If you change the focus from partnerships between the client and the insurer and if the company starts to look more at profits than providing quality outcomes – things can get slippery. Often people don’t believe insurance companies work to pay out claims, but we know some of them do. The companies we work with have a clear client focus and pride themselves in paying claims – so don’t be put off!

This week at WealthDesign we’ve been working with a guy on an income protection case (he received his first cheque this week), a lady with a crippling lung disease (hopefully this will be sorted early next week) and a guy with a heart problem. That’s not to mention two or three hospitalisation cases ranging from a specialist test to a hip replacement.

Today there are over 60,000 people on waiting list for operations alone. The stress and heart ache this causes is unimaginable. I know why I carry medical insurance personally – I see the impact of people not having it, every second day.

I see cases where people put off buying insurance or just don’t get around to the paper work,  and the result can be financially disastrous, causing much stress to the client and their family.

So after a week like this has been, I wonder why buying insurance is such a grudge purchase – why do people put off this very important part of their financial lives? But then they’re not in my shoes, dealing with the fall out of not being insured. Perhaps they should be, just for a while, to see what can happen when you’re not covered.

Give me a call, email me, whatever it takes to make sure that you and your family are covered. Expect the best, but have a plan in place for the worst – just in case.

John Barber
WealthDesign – a life well planned

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Considering signing up to Airbnb?

The Airbnb ethos resonates with New Zealanders – real people, real experiences – it’s just how we roll. I stay often at Airbnb places and think it’s an awesome addition to the accommodation industry.

More and more people are signing up to Airbnb, seeing it as a way to share their little corner of paradise, whilst earning a bit of spare cash.

There are some important things to know though, if you would like to become part of the Airbnb world.

  1. The revenue is income and subject to tax. Don’t think you can do a ‘cashie’ or you could run foul of the IRD. Consider running your Airbnb like a little side business. Keep records and claim whatever expenses you are legally allowed to claim. This way, you only pay tax on the profits.
  2. Make sure your insurance company knows you are listed on Airbnb. The last thing you would want is someone burning your house down and the insurer walking away on this technicality. Most insurers don’t cover intentional damage, however theft is covered. Ask your insurer about their policy around illegal drugs. You don’t want to become ‘cook-a-batch’ (as opposed to book-a-batch!), and find you’re up for expensive clean up costs, due to contamination.
  3. Check out the automatic insurance covers offered by Airbnb, as it may pay to carry these additional covers.
  4. Be careful who you invite into your home. This way you can mitigate many of the risks. I believe people are generally reliable and caring when they use Airbnb, but not all people, unfortunately!

Enjoy the Airbnb experience, yet be prudent about how you do it!

 

John Barber
WealthDesign – a life well planned

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There are plenty of ways to buy insurance these days  – and in this fast paced world of online solutions to everyday problems, you would assume that an online insurance purchase would have you covered.

However, you could well be wrong – very wrong.  And you won’t know until it comes to claim time, unfortunately. (The very reason you’re buying the insurance for in the first place.) 

The difference between insurance companies and their products is much more than just price. Little things like having the wrong word can be the difference between having a claim paid or not. A simple example is the difference between ‘own occupation’ and ‘any occupation’ within a total and permanent disability policy. Basically if you have the ‘any occupation’ policy, you must be unable to work again in any occupation to get a claim, where as ‘own occupation’ policies are just what it says, if you can’t work in your usual occupation ever again, you can claim. ‘Own’ and ‘any’ are tiny words in and of themselves, but they have massive ramifications at claim time.

One word could cost thousands.

Insurance portfolio structure is also important. If buying insurance online, would you know which covers to have, which not to bother with, what impacts increased excesses, or length of benefits and what stand down periods they have? These all can impact the overall cost of the insurance package.

Ownership of the policies is also important and understanding how this fits in with the other estate planning tools such as wills, is vital.

On top of all this, the difference between policy wordings is enormous and getting the wrong policy wording can also cost thousands, as you lose the ability to claim on the policy.

We pay for independent research so that we can compare insurers. Not only on price, but on policy benefits.  After years of helping our clients (both setting policies up and also at claim time), we know how to get things right.

Yes I’m biased towards insurance advice, however,  there’s a very good reason for it! Find someone who knows their stuff before embarking on buying insurance.

Don’t be fooled – cost isn’t everything!

John Barber
WealthDesign – a life well planned

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