• Financial protection for families
  • Financial protection for wage & salary earners
  • Financial protection for business owners

I had cancer. Can I still get insurance cover?

Surviving cancer can change a lot of things in your life – but what about your insurance? If you’ve battled cancer in the past, you may be unsure of what it means for your ability to get insurance in future, or to call again on the cover you already have in place.

The good news is that cover is possible – particularly if you’re in remission and otherwise healthy. If you’d like to know how your personal circumstances may affect your insurability, please don’t hesitate to contact us – we can help you get a clearer picture. Broadly speaking, here are a few things to know.

How long ago?

What you can qualify for will depend a bit on how long ago you were diagnosed, the type of cancer you had and how severe it was. The longer you’ve been in remission, the more an insurer will consider you as it would any other application, and the more options you’ll have.

If you’ve only been in remission for a matter of months, cover is likely to be deferred for a set period of time, meaning you’ll have to wait before any level of protection is provided. On the flip side, if you’ve been in remission for years, you may not have this hurdle to overcome, but it’s possible that the specific cancer you’ve had will be excluded.

Underwriting will involve lots of questions

You can expect to answer a lot of questions about the cancer, and what treatment you’ve been through. You might also have to prove that you’ve been following any ongoing treatment plans that you’ve been given, including taking prescribed medication and keeping up with any required tests and check-ups to keep you fit and well.

If you’re in remission and have other health conditions, even if they’re unrelated, you can expect that these might also affect your application, in the same way they would if you had never had cancer.

Even if you cannot get new insurance that will pay out for conditions relating to your cancer, you may well be able to get cover for the rest of your health. We can help you work through those details with an insurer.

Claimed once – can you claim again?

Generally speaking, lump-sum covers like Trauma Insurance cease on payout. This means that, if you’ve already claimed on your Trauma Insurance in the past, you won’t be able to claim again on the same policy in the future.

An exception to this is when your policy includes a buy-back option. In this case, you can reinstate your cover under certain terms and conditions with no underwriting, but the condition you have suffered from is likely to be excluded. Trauma Multi covers also work slightly differently, in that multiple claims are possible, each for different events, before the policy ceases.

As for Income Protection, you can keep claiming on the same policy, but time may be limited for multiple claims for the same condition.

For example, if you have an income protection policy that pays out for up to two years and you claim for a year off work for cancer-related reasons the first time, you may only have a year left available to claim for other times you’re off work due to the same condition.

But you can usually claim again for the full benefit term if you’re experiencing a new condition.

Wondering what to do?

Whenever you have an insurance question, please give us a call. We can help you work through the options available and understand how each will fit your circumstances.

Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current development or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.

Made redundant? Here’s what to do next

In the wake of the nationwide lockdown, a growing number of New Zealanders have found themselves out of the workforce and dealing with sudden job loss. While redundancy is not easy for anyone in any situation, here are some proactive steps you can take to address it and get back on your feet faster.

Take a good look at your income

Is everything that can be coming in, actually coming in? Sorted’s editor Tom Hartmann recommends gathering any incomings you’re due as the first step. Check your final pay, looking for any severance or holiday payments you’ve earned over time. Assess your emergency funds, and see what government assistance options you may be entitled to.

As a last resort, consider withdrawing part of your KiwiSaver funds for significant financial hardship. Keep in mind that this withdrawal is at the discretion of the fund trustee or supervisor, and they will require you to provide extensive evidence that the financial hardship you’re experiencing is significant.

Also, when money is tight, every little bit helps, but early KiwiSaver withdrawals will have an impact on your long-term retirement goals, so it’s crucial to factor in the pros and cons carefully.

Reduce your expenses as much as possible

Wise budgeting becomes all-the-more important when your cashflow has taken a hit. Think about your ongoing financial commitments (like your mortgage repayments or insurance premiums) as well as your everyday costs (e.g. your electricity bills).

Again, proactivity is important. Contact your lender, insurer and electricity provider to discuss the most appropriate way forward. They may be able to meet you halfway for a while, granting you extra time to get your finances and work life back on track.

Also, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us: we can help you understand your options and, hopefully, get through this rough patch.

Be open to new opportunities

As Hartmann said, a good question to ask yourself is, “If I could work for any company or organisation and use my talents, which would it be?”

Don’t let negativity weigh you down. It’s important to think of this period as a ‘bump in the road’ and move forward. Try to be open to any new opportunities that come your way, whether it’s in your industry or a completely different one (just tweak your application to highlight the aspects of your current experience that are most easily transferable to the new sector).

On this note, Careers.govt.nz is worth a visit. This government website has plenty of helpful resources to explore new career ideas, including insights on what skills are in demand and how to gain valuable work experience.

Upskill yourself

Growing your talents is important for long-term career success, and even more so when facing increasing competition for jobs.

Recently, Trademe has published a useful guide to levelling up. It all starts with identifying the areas you want to improve and creating an upskilling plan accordingly. Trademe recommends setting SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.

Then, there are several ways to grow professionally, including:

  • Online courses Openpoly NZ and General Assembly offer great distant-learning options, and a Google search will reveal countless more (including free and paid-for online classes).
  • Evening classes
  • Volunteering.

According to recruiters, employers are also looking for certain ‘soft skills’, like teamwork, cultural awareness, and adaptability – so make sure these are part of your skillset too.

Handling redundancy in your next job interview

Ready to meet your prospective employer? You may be wondering how to respond to redundancy-related questions.

As this insightful article from Trademe underlines, here in New Zealand ‘redundancy’ doesn’t mean that your performance was poor. It just means that your position was no longer necessary and unfortunately, despite wage subsidies and other assistance options, a number of businesses had to make employees redundant during Covid-19 due to lack of work.

Surely, your next employer will be aware of the circumstances that led you there, but even if they ask you about your redundancy, it’s important to show that you drew positives from this negative experience: you’ll demonstrate that you have resilience.

Feel it’s time to set up your own business?

Some New Zealanders have taken advantage of this period of unprecedented disruption to accelerate their business dreams.

Whether you’re considering becoming a contractor or a full-time entrepreneur, there’s a lot to think about. Once again, you’ll find some interesting information on Careers.govt.nz, which has a page entirely focused on the key things to know about working for yourself. And of course, Business.govt.nz features a wealth of templates, visual guides and tips to get you started.

Protecting your future income

Your ability to earn an income is one of your most important assets, and something worth protecting. Certain insurance types are designed to protect your income from life’s unexpected events, like serious illness, disability, or worse. The most appropriate cover depends on your situation.

Like to learn more? Please get in touch. As insurance advisers, we can help you explore your options and get a plan in place to secure your financial future.

Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current development or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.

The Reserve Bank removed LVR rules until 2021 – what does it mean for you?

As you’ll have heard, in April 2020, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand decided to remove loan-to-value restrictions for a full year.

So, if you were working hard to put together a deposit for a property purchase, you may be wondering: what does this mean for me? Here are some key things to know.

[Read more…]

Using debt to regain control of your finances

Many of us have been keeping a closer eye on our finances in the past few months.

Whether you’re a homeowner with a mortgage or someone with a higher credit card balance than you’re comfortable with, here’s how you can use debt for short-term relief and long-term resilience.

[Read more…]

Will low interest rates support the property market?

Unsurprisingly, the number of properties sold across New Zealand dropped significantly in April, according to the Real Estate Institute. Will low interest rates provide stimulus to the property market? Here’s what some economists expect for the next few months.

[Read more…]

Home-cooking tips for the ‘new normal’

During the lockdown days, many of us have been honing our skills in the kitchen. From home-made bread through to yoghurt, spreads and sauces, there probably has never been a better time to embrace the pleasure of home-cooking. And echoing this sentiment, New Zealand chefs and foodies have been sharing their top recipes online for everyone to enjoy.

The world will eventually find its ‘new normal’. In the meantime, here are some home-cooking tips we can take with us on the other side – to eat healthier and save money.

[Read more…]

Why you should hang on to your insurance policies

Many households around the country are coming under increasing financial strain as the impact of Covid-19 bites. In these uncertain times, it’s natural to look at the things you can cut from your monthly budget – and think about your personal insurance policies. 

While it might be tempting to write these off as non-essential and trim them from your spending, there are some key reasons why it’s worth holding on to insurances if at all possible.

[Read more…]

How health and life insurance providers are responding to COVID-19

As always, it’s important to note that every insurance policy is different as the type and level of cover you have is based on your situation. So, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us: we can talk you through your policy wording and help you get clarity as to what you’re covered for.

Having said, we have been in close contact with insurance providers over the past few weeks, and can tell you that most of them have communicated their stance on COVID-19. As this article from Insurance Business Magazine notes, responses vary from provider to provider. Here’s what some have said about existing policies.

[Read more…]

Applying for insurance during COVID-19

In these uncertain times, having an insurance adviser like us can help you navigate the insurance market for a new policy or an upgrade to an existing one.

Here are a few things to think about if you’re planning to take out new personal insurance at the moment.

[Read more…]

Are tighter lending restrictions on the horizon?

Many economists seem to agree that the property market has turned.

While regions are taking the lion’s share of price increases, over the past few months even Auckland’s sleepy market has been showing signs of life. And key factors like low interest rates, unresolved supply constraints and continued migration point to further price growth in the coming months.

ANZ economists recently predicted that national price growth may hit 8 per cent this year compared to last year, while other economists (including Westpac) say average prices could achieve 7 per cent growth.

And it may not be the only cloud on the horizon for first-home buyers.

[Read more…]

New Zealanders are underinsured: here’s why

When it comes to protecting their lives and livelihood from the unexpected, a high number of New Zealanders are underinsured. It’s the key finding of Gambling on Life, the final chapter of a Financial Services Council’s study focused on Kiwis’ attitude to risk.

Gambling on Life found that, while many New Zealanders are aware of the importance of types of life insurance, this isn’t reflected in adequate levels of cover for themselves,” said Richard Klipin, CEO of the Financial Services Council. Here are some highlights.

[Read more…]

Eleven things it’s worth spending money on

We usually focus on all the ways to save money, but the reality is, sometimes it’s worth splashing out. Here are eleven things that it’s worth spending your money on.

Your health

Skimping on things like doctor’s appointments and eye checks can be a false economy. Stay on top of your appointments so that you can tackle problems before they turn into serious or expensive issues.

LEARN more

How good is KiwiSaver if you’re over 65?

KiwiSaver is often touted as a great savings option for young people wanting to get on track for their financial lives. But what about people who are nearing the end of their careers?

The retirement savings scheme can be a useful financial tool, even if you’re already into your retirement years. Here’s how.

[Read more…]

How to protect yourself as a business owner

Business owners have worries that many other people don’t. Instead of working in return for a reliable salary, they’re relying on finding customers and clients, developing market share and building a strong team to deliver results.

There can be a lot of risk associated with being a business owner, and here are a few ways you can protect yourself.

[Read more…]

Expecting your income to drop? Get your finances ready for it

If you’re like most people, you’re probably pretty used to the amount of money that you earn.

It’s probably a lot more now than you earnt when you first started out, but somehow your spending has increased, year by year, to match the increases in your salary or business earnings.

That means it can be very hard to stomach a significant drop in income.

But people have to deal with this scenario all the time – if one partner takes time off work to look after children or other family members, for example, or if you decide that you want to quit work to study, travel or pursue some other endeavour.

Here are a few things to think about if you’re expecting a big drop in income.

[Read more…]