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What questions to ask a financial adviser

Before you take out life insurance, make sure you ask the following questions with your financial adviser. Also remember that a lot of the online quoting sites provide general advice only. Our staff are qualified to provide financial advice and are qualified financial advisers that specialise in risk insurance.

  • What types of cover do i need?

Deciding what you need cover for is important. You can start off by asking yourself  (and your adviser, of course) can i do without these types of insurance?

Life cover: Pay’s a lump sum amount in the event of death or terminal illness. This is to cover such things as living expenses for your dependants, pay off debts, funeral costs, children’s schooling costs etc. A financial adviser will help not only with determining a suitable insured amount, but also how best to set up the policy and the possible tax implications on dependants.

Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) cover: This pays a lump sum should you become totally and permanently disabled and unable to work. TPD cover can help to pay out of pocket expenses, ongoing medical expenses, home modifications and to care of dependants if needed. A financial adviser will be able to explain the difference between own and any occupation.

Trauma cover: Also known as Crisis cover with some insurers. Trauma/Crisis cover pays a lump sum on the diagnosis of a serious illness or injury (eg heart attack, stroke or cancer). This amount can help with any medical costs associated with a Trauma/Crisis condition or help with an extended break from work. A financial adviser will be able to provide advice on what types of Trauma cover is available as well as additional extras such as reinstatement, life buyback, Trauma stand alone etc

Income Protection: Pays a monthly benefit to replace your income, if you are temporarily disabled and unable to work. You will need to determine how long you wait for the first payment should you be on claim (this is called the waiting period) and for how long you are paid (this is called the benefit period). Your financial adviser will also need to make sure your income is enough to justify the insured amount.

  • How much cover do i need?

When it comes to life insurance, everyone’s needs are different. Working out how much cover you need is as easy as sitting down with your financial adviser and determining a figure that is right for your personal situation. Your financial adviser will then assess the right amount of cover for you based on your personal circumstances including: your total debt position, income, assets including superannuation and property plus your family circumstances such as education and childcare needs.

  • How long do i need to be protected for:

Nobody knows what the future will bring. That’s why it helps to plan ahead. You should start your insurance relationship with an expectation that your insurance needs will be continually adapted to your needs. The rule of thumb is that your need for financial protection decreases over time. For example, if you pay off your mortgage,reduce debts and no longer have dependants to look after financially, you may wish to review your cover.

You should keep your policy as long as you require financial protection. A good financial adviser should review your policy every 12 months to make sure the insured amounts are still suitable and to make any changes should your situation change.

  • What should i look out for?

Buying life insurance isn’t difficult, but it does take some thought as well as comprehensive research. There are many companies online offering their services but it is important to take time to consider your choices and always make sure you:

-Are aware of injuries/illnesses the insurance covers

-Work closely with your financial adviser to understand your personal needs,objectives and financial situation

-Understand how your medical history/occupation/pastimes will influence your cover and potentially how much you pay

-Beware of shortcuts. Some direct insurers do not cover for things such as mental health, injuries whilst being intoxicated etc.

-Understand your medical history so you can disclose everything to your financial adviser. That way you’ll make sure the cover is right for you and there will be no issues should you need to make a claim.

-Be aware of the ongoing cost. Ask your financial adviser to provide you with a future forecast of premiums. This is so you can plan how you will pay your insurances in the years to come.

  • What is the best way to pay- stepped or level premiums

Insurance premiums will generally increase over time-simply because your health risks increase with age. Most insurers offer two common ways of paying, and managing, the costs of your insurance over time.

Stepped premiums- This means each year as your policy renews, the premium increases. This means your premiums will get older as you age

Level premiums-These are more expensive upfront but generally cheaper over the life of the policy (depending on the age the level premium is taken out). A level premium won’t increase yearly with age although is not guaranteed to stay the same as insurers can increase both level and stepped premiums out of cycle.

A good financial planner will be able to advise whether a stepped or level premium is most suitable for your situation.

Want to know more?

If you would like to discuss any of the content in this article and how it may apply to you, please fill out our contact form online or call us on 1800 737 926.


*The information on this site is of a general nature. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration, you should look at your own financial position, objectives and requirements and seek financial advice before making any financial decisions.


Frequently asked questions about life insurance security

In uncertain economic times, coupled with life insurance companies changing ownership regularly, some policy owners have asked what that status is of their life insurance portfolio. Below are some answers to questions that every financial adviser will be asked at some stage in their career.

  • I have an existing policy-Will I lose cover if the insurance company I’m with goes out of business? NO- under legislation another insurer will take over this policy and continue the cover as long as the premium continues to be paid
  • If I keep paying an existing policy right now could I ‘lose’ the premiums? NO– The only way to ‘lose’ premiums is if you make the mistake of allowing your policy to lapse. You then lose the value of your policy being a guaranteed renewable ‘contract. This would be a very dangerous thing to do as you may be unable to re-apply for insurance later if the status of your health has changed.
  • If I make a claim will the insurance company charge me more for my premiums next year? NO- Unlike general insurance companies, life insurers cannot charge an additional premium just because you have had a claim with them.
  • What if I happen to be in the middle of a claim and my insurance company goes out of business? The legislation directs that your claim in progress will be transitioned to the new insurer
  • If another insurance company takes over my policy can they change the terms I currently have? NO-The new insurer is bound by the terms of an existing pure risk contract, including any acceptance terms. They cannot change the policy definitions nor can they add any exclusions etc.

In recent times AMP have sold their life insurance business to Resolution life, Zurich have bought Onepath, AIA have bought Comminsure and the list goes on. Hopefully the above helps with any confusion to those who have a life insurance policy (including TPD, Trauma and Income Protection) and are unsure of any implications this may have of their policies. If you have a life insurance policy in place and you’d like to discuss it further please don’t hesitate to get in touch by clicking the contact us button or by filling out our online form.


. The information is general in nature and should not be considered as personal advice

Life insurance claims data

The FSC & KPMG have recently released claims data relating to the life insurance industry in 2019. The data is split across gender and the proportion of claims paid.

The data demonstrates how important life insurance is to the Australian community especially given the prevalence of cancer, mental health and accident related claims.

These figures hopefully dispel the myth that insurance companies don’t pay claims.

Key observations:

Life (97% of claims paid)

-Cancer was by far the number 1 cause of death claims in men (39%) and women (61%)

-Accidental death is much more prevalent in men (20%) than women (7%).

TPD (90% of claims paid)

-Mental health comfortably tops the list for men (24%) and women (27%)

Income Protection– (95% of claims paid)

-Accident is the top cause of claims for men (38%) and women (28%)

-Mental health was only fifth on the list for men (10%) but a clear second for women (22%)

Trauma/Critical Illness (86% of claims paid)

-The highest cause of claim was cancer at 58%

Life insurers paid out over $12 billion dollars in claims in 2019 and this is expected to rise in 2020/21 as we further realise the impacts of Covid-19.





5 things you need to know about life insurance

Life insurance offers important protection for millions of Australians, making it critical to understand the benefits as well as the latest news.

Life insurance comes in many different forms such as life cover, Trauma/Critical illness insurance as well as Income Protection and Total and Permanent Disability. Each of these play an important role in protecting you and your loved ones when it is needed most.
Unfortunately many people remain unsure how much life insurance they need. Throw in constant regulatory change and many Australians may not have the cover they assume they have or some may even be holding back on purchasing life insurance.

Below are 5 things we think you need to know about life insurance.

# 1 : People making life insurance claims are younger than you think

The average claim age for life insurance is only 66 years for men and 63 years for women, according to data provided by life insurer Clearview.
This shows the importance of insuring against the unexpected, whether that be a terminal illness or death due to an accident or illness.

# 2: Insurance claims involving advisers are more likely to be accepted

A comprehensive 2016 life insurance survey by the corporate regulator, Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), found claims were denied in just 7% of claims when a financial adviser was involved.
Life insurance claims through a superannuation fund (known as group insurance) were declined in 8% of cases while direct life insurance (sold through a call centre or over the internet) were declined in 12% of cases. One insurer via direct sales declined 29% of claims while one insurer via a superfund declined 23% of claims suggesting a skilled financial adviser can be invaluable not only to ensure you have the right amount of cover in place but to ensure the cover is provided through a reputable insurer with a good claims record.

# 3: Most life insurance claims are processed quickly

More than 130,000 life insurance claims were processed in 2017-2018 by the major insurers that have signed up to the new life insurance code of practice.
The industry reported that 89% of income related insurance claims were decided within 2 months whilst 92% of non-income related claims were decided within 6 months.

# 4: New legislation may close your insurance if it’s attached to super

From July 1, 2019 super accounts with insurance that are inactive for 16 months have had their insurance cancelled.
Many superannuation funds automatically include life insurance, unfortunately many people are unaware that they have it or have not taken the time to consider whether the amount of cover is sufficient.

# 5: Life insurers want a regulatory overhaul so they can offer rehabilitation benefits

Employment provides people with the money they need to support their lifestyle. However, those who are incapacitated and unable to work lose more than just an income, it can also dent their self-confidence and happiness.
Life insurers are lobbying for change to legislation which would allow them to fund treatment for Australians at risk of long term incapacity where they are not covered by private health insurance or stuck on public healthcare waiting lists.
Research suggests such reforms could benefit up to 10,118 people per year while 87 people could be prevented from becoming totally and permanently disabled. Early intervention by insurers could also cut return to work times from 18 to 13 weeks.

Income Protection under super during Covid-19

As the economic impact of Covid-19 continues to emerge, one thing superannuation members must be careful of is how their Income Protection policies will be affected should the need to claim arise. This is especially important for clients who have Income Protection which is owned under super. This applies to both group insurance and retail Income Protection policies that are wholly paid for from superannuation.

To have an Income Protection benefit (sometimes called salary continuance for group cover) paid under super, that member must meet a condition of release. For Income Protection policies that condition of release is ‘temporary incapacity’. Temporary incapacity means that the member has ceased employment due to injury or illness. This means that if the member/insured person is unemployed at the time of suffering illness or injury they will not meet the ‘temporary incapacity’ condition of release as the illness or injury is not the reason for ceasing employment. And therefore no claim can be paid.

With unemployment levels expected to rise significantly due to Covid-19, this may impact a number of people.

Most retail insurers now offer the option of paying a small portion of Income Protection outside of super. This means the should the need for a claim arise the superannuation trustee does not have to get involved nor does the insured person have the meet the conditions of release.

Whilst there are both advantages and disadvantages to owning insurance through super, it is important to make sure the policy is set up correctly.

. The information is general in nature and should not be considered as personal advice

Coronavirus and Life insurance

As the well know coronavirus sweeps across the world, it continues causing major disruptions to the way we live. Given the amount of enquiries we have had from existing clients as to whether they would be covered, I thought I would clarify a few points to give both clarity to existing clients and people who are currently searching for the right Life Insurance, Income Protection etc for their needs.

Protectinsure works with a range of life insurance companies who have clarified their position in terms of what is and what isn’t covered. One clear point they have made is that retail life insurance policies do not have an exclusion on pandemics. Any exclusion that applies to a policy is agreed to by the client before the policy starts by way of signing an exclusion letter (otherwise known as a special acceptance letter). This applies to all retail risk insurance policies including Life Insurance, Income Protection, Trauma insurance, TPD insurance and Business Expenses insurance.

For Income Protection policies one thing to remember is the most common waiting period is 30 days. Whilst existing retail policies are covered for coronavirus, any new policies may be subject to exclusions and new applicants may be required to disclose travel plans to affected countries as this may impact on their risk assessment.

This information was provided to Protectinsure by a variety of insurers. This is general in nature.

The End of Agreed Value Income Protection Policies

Whilst many people may not understand the importance on Agreed Value Income Protection, it is an important feature especially for self-employed Australian who tend to have fluctuating incomes.

Disability insurance (commonly known as Income Protection) in Australia has recorded losses of over $1 billion over the past 12 months across all insurers. This takes the total losses to over $3.4 billion in the last 5 years.

The Australian Regulatory Authority (APRA) has proposed the following changes:

-Avoiding offering Income Protection policies with fixed terms and conditions of more than 5 years.

-Ensuring effective controls are in place to manage the risks associated with longer benefit periods

-Ensuring Income Protection benefits do not exceed the policy owners income at the time of claim

-Ceasing the sale of agreed value Income Protection policies

APRA have said that there is now a genuine risk that risk insurers may start withdrawing from the market hence the proposed changes.

What is Agreed Value Income Protection?

Agreed value means that the insurer has endorsed your insured value (monthly benefit amount) so when it comes claim to claim there is minimal to no financial information required. The insurer will go on your income at the time of taking out the policy. Of course a medical professional will still have to sign off that you cannot work due to injury or illness. The other option is what is called an Indemnity contract. This is the most common contract on Income Protection policies and means that the claim amount will be limited to 75% of your income for the last 12 months (24 or 36 months for some insurers). This can be a problem for clients who are self employed and have an income that fluctuates yearly as the previous 12 months may be less than what their insured amount is. The indemnity contract will be the only option available from April 1, 2020 if APRA’s changes go ahead.

What can you do?

If these changes go ahead it’s highly likely that Agreed Value policies that went into force before March 31 will stand. Agreed Value Income Protection is not right for everyone although if you haven’t had your policies and financial situation reviewed recently now may be the perfect time.


This information is general in nature and should not be considered as personal advice

The Downfalls of Group Insurance through Super

Whilst default insurance through super has its advantages, it also has many downfalls that most people are unaware of.

Recently I spoke to a new client who was perplexed that his Salary Continuance  (similar to Income Protection) through Qsuper super had changed from a benefit period of 3 years to 2 years. They also increased their premiums considerably. Unfortunately for my client there was nothing he could do other than to move the insurance elsewhere as the group cover through super can be changed anytime by the insurer who has a contract with that fund. Whilst he is still healthy and was able to seek financial advice from an insurance broker like myself, not everyone is so fortunate as they may have health problems which prevent them from being able to move their cover leaving them worse off with no option to move to a better product. In this case he was able to take out a fully underwritten Income Protection policy with a benefit period to age 65 for a slightly cheaper premium than his Qsuper policy which only covered him for 2 years.

Retail Income Protection which is purchased through an insurance broker/financial adviser can also be paid for via super if this is the preferred option for the client. All Income Protection policies are underwritten before going into force and cannot be changed by the insurer as long as the premium continues to be paid. They are also non-cancellable and cannot be cancelled by the insurer except if they are not paid up to date. They are also generally tax deductible outside of super and have a maximum benefit period up to both 65 and 70 unlike Salary Continuance through super which generally only pays for a maximum of 2 years.

Whilst Life & TPD insurance through super normally provides a small amount of protection it is not enough when you consider the cost of raising a child and the average Australian home loan amount.

Trauma insurance is a policy that pays out a tax free lump sum amount on the diagnosis of a trauma event such as cancer, stroke, heart attack etc. Trauma cannot be taken out within super but can be attached to retail life insurance policies whether they are paid for via super or personally by the insured.

Whilst group insurance does have a role to play protecting people who otherwise wouldn’t seek financial advice, it has many disadvantages and is inferior to a fully underwritten retail life insurance policy.

If you have insurance through super and would like a review please give us a call on 1800 737 926 or email

Insurance Broker Brisbane, Gold Coast & Sydney

As we head into the future, Australia’s life insurance market is evolving. Cities across the country like Melbourne & Brisbane are growing, with more people finding themselves with incomes worth protecting. People realise the financial risks posed to their family in the event life takes a turn.

The problem: It’s not all good news. More people are buying life insurance and have the income to protect their family, yes. But they’re not all spending it wisely. One study by Rice Warner Actuaries in 2011 estimated that 95% of Australians didn’t have life insurance of a satisfying standard. There are a few trends that are making financially smart people go for the wrong option. One of the biggest reasons is how they go about choosing the packages they pay for.A study from Noble Oak done at the start 2017 found that more people are getting life insurance advice from the internet. A third of Australians get their information strictly from the internet, while 25% follow friends and family members. Just a quarter of life insurance customers are using real financial advisors like brokers. On one hand, it’s a good thing that people are willing to take direct control of important financial decisions. On the other hand, it doesn’t always work out great for them. The Life Insurance Customer Group recently published that people who do go directly online for life insurance without a broker get rejected from claiming on their policy 71% more often than those who use advisers.

The solution: It’s no small issue that more Australians are ending up under-insured or paying for coverage they don’t need. The boom in direct life insurance sales is helping some, but putting a significant amount of people at risk. For those people and for the people who aware of the risks of going directly to providers, life insurance brokers could be exactly the kind of friend they are looking for. From the head of the family looking to protect their loved ones to the business owner enjoying the growth of industry in urban centres like Brisbane who wants their key people looked after, there are advisers suited to helping life insurance customers of all kinds. Let’s take a look at the benefits and why they make brokers a much wiser choice than buying direct.

Avoid under-insurance: Price is a significant concern when looking at the different levels of coverage available. When people hear that going for direct insurance deals can be cheaper, they might be tempted to ignore the implications and take what deal they can get. The reason these deals are cheaper, however, is often that they don’t provide the coverage that customers really need. Any benefits of a cheaper deal evaporate when a claim is rejected because you weren’t covered when you thought you were.

When you buy with the advice of a broker, the only reason you are going to be paying more is that you’re going to be getting the right level of cover. Good life insurance brokers won’t try to tempt you with low-cost deals that you get no use out of. In fact, some research shows that brokers can often find better deals thanks to the different rates they often get from providers.

Focus on the consumer: It always pays to be sceptical of the services you pay for, including life insurance. Businesses are profit driven and we don’t want to assume that a consumer will be prioritised over profit. For brokers, their profit isn’t based on selling you something and leaving. It’s based on providing advice not just when you’re buying insurance, but long after. A broker will make sure that you’re happy with the deal well after you’ve already signed up and will help you find alternatives if your needs change.Brokers represent the options different companies provide, but they work for you, not the companies. They have one objective and one profit motive: your best interests.

Interpreting the jargon: 1/3rd of Australian households don’t have life insurance. There are some who don’t think about it all that often, but more are aware of the need for protection but simply unable to properly navigate the market. Direct life insurance sellers are making some efforts to simplify the jargon but it’s not enough and in doing so, they risk missing the intricacies of a policy that could prove to be a deal-breaker.

Advisers like brokers are vastly more experienced at accurately translating jargon to make things much easier to understand for customers of all kinds. Brokers are easier to get in touch with, too, answering personal queries and specific circumstances where direct providers tend to falter.


Knowing you, knowing needs: One of the biggest reasons that people end up with inadequate coverage is because of the nature of direct insurance deals. A lot of providers taking that route aren’t as thorough when it comes to finding out your income details, your attitude to risk, and things like your medical history.A life insurance broker will want to know these details because they know how it impacts your needs and the different deals on offer. This includes the provision of policy riders like double indemnity, which has the insurer paying out double to your loved ones in specific circumstances. Most buyers don’t know that many of these optional riders even exist.

When to use a life insurance broker: The benefits of using brokers are clear. If you’re starting a family and you need to know that they’re going to be looked after, you should use them. If you have a specific job or lifestyle brings about a certain level of risk and you’re concerned you might need specialised cover, you should use them. If you’re running a business and you rely on key people and losing them could negatively impact the business, you should use them. There’s a lot more to gain than there is to lose by getting some expert advice on your insurance choices.

Contact The Insurance Quoter today. 1800 737 926

The Enduring Relevance of Trauma Insurance

Trauma insurance provides much-needed financial protection against serious medical conditions. Jeff Scott traces the origins of trauma cover and highlights the value it provides cancer sufferers and their families.

Trauma insurance was first introduced in South Africa in 1983 by Dr Marius Barnard to give people much-needed financial protection against serious medical conditions like cancer, heart attack, stroke or an accident.

In the 34 years since, trauma insurance remains just as important as ever.

Looking specifically at cancer, it’s a disease that does not discriminate. It can strike anyone, at any time.

Anyone who has battled cancer or watched a loved one suffer from the disease knows how destressing it is. From diagnosis to treatment to remission (for those who live to be cancer-free), the process is often long and painful which is why appropriate trauma cover is so important.

Encouragingly, the overall cancer mortality rate continues to fall due to early detection and more effective treatments but this means more people are living with cancer.

There are numerous forms of cancer treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy. These treatments can be used in isolation or in conjunction with one another to try and reduce, minimise or eliminate cancer.

In the past 25 years, the five-year cancer survival rate has improved significantly to 68 per cent for men and 69 per cent for women.

However, the survival rate varies depending on the form of cancer.

For example, men have a 95 per cent survival rate for prostate cancer and women have a 90 per cent survival rate for breast cancer but the survival rate for lung cancer (14 per cent for men and 19 per cent for women) and pancreatic cancer (8 per cent for men and women) is dramatically lower.

It’s estimated that the average personal, financial cost of cancer is approximately $114,500 although the financial burden of brain cancer and leukaemia is much greater; $325,000 and $258,000 respectively. On the other hand, the average financial cost of prostate and breast cancer is around $64,000 while melanoma costs around $32,100.

Financial costs, which include treatment and medicines plus both loss of personal income and loss of income for spouses/carers, are a crude way to look at the impact of cancer which also has an enormous psychological and social impact but as Dr Marius Barnard famously stated in 1983: “A medical doctor can a repair a man physically, but only insurers can repair a patient’s finances”.

Fortunately, trauma insurance policies issued in Australia today have a much wider application than the original policies issued in the early 1980s. The first policies were designed as a form of health insurance to cover medical bills and doctors’ fees but individuals today enjoy greater benefits and choice.

Lump sum payments can be used to pay for non-traditional treatments, modifications to their residence or to compensate a spouse for taking time off work to care for a sick partner.

ClearView LifeSolutions continuously monitors and improves its cancer definitions and exceeds the Financial Services Council’s standards for Minimum Medical Definitions.

The statistics

  • Around 134,000 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer (72,000 men and 62,000 women) in 2017 and around 48,000 people will die from cancer.
  • From birth to age 24, the top 3 diagnosed cancers are leukaemia, lymphoma, and brain cancer. In this age group, over 1,600 new sufferers are diagnosed each year.
  • The top 3 diagnosed cancers for people between the ages of 25-49 years are breast cancer, melanoma and colorectal cancer. In this age group, there 16,000 new sufferers are diagnosed each year.
  • The top 3 diagnosed cancers for people between the ages of 50-64 are breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. In this age group, there are about 38,000 new sufferers are diagnosed each year.

– Jeff Scott is head of product at ClearView Wealth.


“Cancer in Australia 2017 – In Brief”, Cancer series number 102, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra, Cat. no. CAN 101.

“Cancer Council – A guide for people with cancer, their family and friends – Treatment” – Cancer Council of Australia, August 2016.

Cost of Cancer in NSW – A report by Access Economics Pty Limited for The Cancer Council NSW, April 2007.


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