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The Life Insurance Blog

The Life Insurance Blog
The Life Insurance Blog has been created to demystify life insurance for the consumer by providing insight, advice and humour as well as generating debate and conversation about all things to do with life insurance. Whilst life insurance is a serious
Articles: 1, 2, 3


Looking for the lowest life insurance premiums?
2008-06-01 14:23:00
  You know you’re spending too much time looking at other blogs when you notice someone writing a comment about seeking life insurance quotes – online!  The quote was for a 37 year old non-smoking female seeking $600,000 life insurance cover.   It was pleasing to see Pinnacle Life shown as the lowest quote out of nine life insurance companies. But of course this was no surprise to us.  See the post here showing nine quotes.  So we thought it would be worthwhile running a similar exercise for males.   We got ten on-line quotes… monthly premiums shown here - highest to lowest…         Quotes** for a 40year old non-smoking male seeking $600,000 cover.                                   Online                 Via a Broker    AA Life                 $58 .24                    (unavailable)      (This is for $400,000 - the max they offer)   ING      ...
More About: Insurance , Life Insurance
Today is World Smokefree Day – 31 May
2008-05-31 02:07:00
  Why are we talking about this on our life insurance blog?    Because smoking kills…    … and on average you’ll pay 20% to 50% more for your life insurance policy if you’re a smoker. So if you are a smoker… please just think about it…   World Smokefree Day was first held by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1988, and first observed nationally in New Zealand in 1998. World Smokefree Day is an opportunity for smokefree promoters and advocates to work collaboratively to reduce smoking.   Smoking facts Tobacco is the only consumer product that kills people when used as the manufacturer intends. Half of all continuing smokers will die from smoking – an average of 14 years early. Tobacco smoking kills around 4,700 New Zealanders every year. Globally, 1.1 billion people smoke. Each year tobacco causes some four million early deaths. By the year 2030, tobacco is likely to be the world’s leading cause of death and disability, killing more tha...
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No tax relief from the Budget? Pay less for your life insurance!
2008-05-22 22:49:00
Ok, now we know for sure there’s no meaningful tax relief from the new budget.  Don’t feel alone; with the housing slump, economic slowdown, out-of-control petrol prices and other spiralling costs, everyone’s in the same boat.  Hurting big time.  Have you thought to take another look at what you’re paying for your life insurance? Do you know that by switching to Pinnacle Life , you get 20% OFF what you currently pay?  I’d go as far as saying “forget the budget”!!… over the next 5 to 10 years, Pinnacle Life can save you a lot more than Michael Cullen ever could.  Watch this…  You’re 45 years old and you’re paying $120 per month for your life insurance.  Pinnacle Life will reduce that by 20% - that’s 20% saved every year.  Ok, that’s $24 per month for your first year… but…  …given that life insurance premiums increase each year as you age, and the increases get steeper as you age, the savings increase proportionall...
More About: Insurance , Life Insurance , Budget , Relief
Hello “Generation C”
2008-05-21 13:38:00
I was taken aback at a reader’s comment on another blog pertaining to the distribution of life insurance in NZ…  She said;   “In the end, the public will determine how it accesses these products, but it IS clearly an advice process that they want - as evidenced by the number of “web-based” insurance sales outfits that have come …. and gone.”  “Clearly advice based”????     “…web-based insurance… come…. and gone”???  Too much for me to ignore, this was my response;  I’m not sure where you’ve sourced your information regarding how people want to access life insurance products (name withheld), but I need to point out there is an entire generation of young adults in their late twenty’s and thirty’s that are very happy to get online and manage their own affairs. And in the next 10 years we’ll see Gen Y come into the life insurance market and these people have never known life without mobile phones, i-Tunes, Google, ch...
Does high cholesterol automatically stop you getting life insurance?
2008-05-19 13:48:00
  Q.  “I have a friend that couldn’t get life insurance because of their raised cholesterol. Is it usual for life insurers to not offer a policy to people with raised cholesterol?” (name withheld)    A.  The short answer is, “yes” and “no”.   If you didn’t find that useful, read on!  When you apply for life insurance, your application is assessed on its merits.  No two applications are the same. It also comes down to the individual (underwriter) that assesses your application - so there is a human element in the assessment as well.  Even if two individuals have the same cholesterol reading, there are a raft of other factors that influence the decision. For example, one individual could be an overweight smoker with a family history of heart disease and the other could be of normal weight (for their height) with no family history.  There’s more. One individual with high cholesterol may not even know their last cholesterol reading, or when it was take...
More About: Life , Insurance , Life Insurance , Stop , High
‘Instant life insurance’ one year old today
2008-05-15 00:27:00
Today is the first-year anniversary for Pinnacle Life ’s instant online life insurance, launched on 15 May 2007.   As a world-first, Pinnacle Life broke new ground moving life insurance into the digital age, joining airplane tickets and CD’s.  The launch was profiled in the NZ Herald.   There was interest from as far away as the UK.  In this article we particularly liked the quote… “If a small New Zealand life insurer can do it, why don’t UK insurers do it”.   And we’ve had great customer feedback… These are the 7 things customers like most about Pinnacle Life;   ·         Great website!!!  ·         That the products are easier to understand because policy documents are written in plain English  ·         Being able to buy up to $800,000 online without a medical exam or tests  ·         Being able to see a copy of your actual policy in ‘draft’ online before you commit yourself  ·        ...
More About: Today , Year
Neurotic men have shorter lives
2008-05-14 00:06:00
Relaxation is good for your health.   Ok, we know this. But now there’s research. Every time you worry, feel anxious or overreact (as you do) you could be shortening your life. Instead, like good wine, try mellowing with age and reacting to things with more patience. This could increase your life expectancy… good for your life and good for your life insurance.    A study of over 1,600 men, aged 43 to 91, was conducted to examine how “neurotic” men did over time. The researchers used a personality test and defined a “neurotic personality” as someone who worries too much, feels anxiety or depression and reacts to stress negatively. The researchers followed the men for 12 years. They compared men who were either highly neurotic or who increased in neuroticism over time to men who were mildly neurotic or decreased in neuroticism over time. At the end of the study only 50% of the men with high or increasing neuroticism were alive compared to 75-85% of the other g...
More About: Lives
‘Birth insurance’ arrives in Australia – but to no applause…
2008-05-04 14:56:00
Much debate has emerged surrounding a new life insurance style product for pregnant mothers recently launched in Australia and reported here in the Sydney Morning Herald.  We couldn’t find the policy details on the insurer’s website so we’ll just have to rely on what’s been reported… The product is aimed at women aged 16 to 40 and pays out up to $50,000 if there are complications during pregnancy or if the child is born with defects such as Down syndrome or blindness. Whilst on the surface such a product sounds like a good idea, the insurer appears to have come under fire from all sides, with criticism leveled at the way the product has been designed, the pricing and even it’s very purpose.  For example, the NSW Midwives Association has reportedly criticised the policy, saying the insurer is marketing fear to expectant mothers” and “Insurance companies are going to go where they can make a buck …” whilst the president of the Australia...
More About: Birth , Applause
Spare a thought for asthma suffers - today is World Asthma day
2008-05-01 10:47:00
    So why are we writing about asthma on our blog?   Because asthma kills between 100 and 200 New Zealanders every year and because New Zealand has one of the highest prevalence rates of asthma in the world.   Around 15% of adults and 20% of children aged 6-14 have asthma. This equates to 1 in 6 New Zealanders – almost 700,000 people in total. That’s like all the people living in Wellington and Christchurch!!   And that’s precisely why most (if not all) life insurance companies want to know if you’re an asthma sufferer before offering you a life insurance policy. If you are, they’ll generally follow a line of further questioning or tests to try and predict if you are likely to die from asthma.    But insurers would also admit (if you could corner them over a beer) that identifying high-risk asthma suffers is a challenge. One of the key indicators is supposedly the number of previous life-threatening asthma attacks you’ve had. Yet in a US study of aroun...
More About: World , Today , Asthma , Thought
Life insurance? It’s too late, mate…
2008-04-24 11:29:00
Let’s face it – it’s hard to get enthusiastic about buying life insurance when you’re young and healthy. Have a laugh with this YouTube video…. Hopefully you won’t leave it this late to get your own life insurance sorted out! Also see this previous post on buying life insurance when you’re young!   
More About: Life , Insurance , Life Insurance , Mate , Late
How much life insurance do you need?
2008-04-17 21:54:00
Part of the job of a financial adviser is to help an applicant for life insurance work out how much life insurance they need. But here’s the issue… after an applicant’s ‘needs’ are calculated to several decimal places, do you know how much life insurance they end up actually buying?   Here’s the problem for most people.  Their insurance needs are not just life insurance, they are also for medical insurance, trauma insurance, income protection insurance, house and contents insurance and car insurance. That’s a lot of insurance. So it often comes down to where your priorities lie and after considering all your insurances, how much of each you can actually afford. For anyone looking for some help in calculating their life insurance needs, there are many ‘calculators’ available that you can plug in your details and the calculator will give you a number to use as a guideline. Here is one of them… see calculator
More About: Life , Insurance , Life Insurance
Are insurance rates for males & smokers really so much higher?
2008-04-10 08:04:00
Q Hi there, I want to buy life insurance for both my husband and I. As a 31yr old female non smoker, the initial quote for me comes up at just under $21 a month. My husband is a 29 yr old male who smokes only a few cigarettes a week but for insurance purposes must be declared as a ’smoker’ and his initial quote comes in at $53 a month. It seems amazing how much extra that is, so I checked how much I’d be charged if I was a smoker and my quote went up to $31 a month. Can I ask why he would be charged $22 a month more than me, even though he is younger? Is it really that risky being male? A few dollars difference I could understand but 70% more than a female smoker? Please can you explain this? Many thanks, (Name withheld) A Life insurance rates are designed to reflect your actual risk of dying earlier than the average of your population. Premium rates are calculated using ‘actuarial’ tables based on actual mortality experience across tens, even hundreds of thousands of live...
More About: Insurance , Higher , Rates , Smokers
‘Doggie’ Life insurance launched in Thailand…
2008-04-01 06:06:00
We saw this report a couple of weeks ago… Bangkok “Thai dogs are now eligible for life insurance, under a new policy that offers payouts to owners if their pets die, a veterinarian said on Monday. About 2 000 dogs have already been granted life insurance policies since the programme began last year, veterinarian Sombat Pipattanamatha said. Locally bred dogs can receive coverage worth up to 10 000 baht ($320), while foreign pedigrees can get up to 500 000 baht, he said. “Dogs are now like family members, and we think they should be well cared for,” Sombat said. Sombat, who consults with the company that developed the policy, said he is now working on plans that would provide benefits to dogs in non-fatal accidents and that would cover injuries to humans in dog attacks. Pet insurance is available in other countries, but the idea of providing high-end [life insurance] services to animals is gaining popularity in Thailand as the growing middle class spends more o...
More About: Life , Insurance , Life Insurance , Launched
Why you need life insurance…LOL
2008-03-30 11:17:00
Most life insurance adverts play on your guilt. You know… leaving your family in dire straits if you die. Well… not his advert!   Whilst highly improbable, this is one of the funniest life insurance adverts I’ve seen in a long time. Click here and see it on YouTube 
More About: Life , Insurance , Life Insurance
Only 48% of Kiwis have life insurance
2008-03-25 04:02:00
AIG last week released the results of a survey of 380 people which canvassed views on a range of personal financial issues, including life insurance. Some interesting points to ponder… ·         48% of Kiwis have life insurance - compared with 80% of Australians (taken from a similar survey carried out in 2005), 67% of Singaporeans and 53% of Hong Kong residents. ·         Two primary reasons were given by respondents for not purchasing cover: 1) a lack of funds and 2) the belief that insurance is not worth the cost. ·         Of those respondents that said they were uninsured, 71% said they would use their savings if the need arose and the rest would rely on family support or equity in their property while 50% of these respondents said they could not survive more than 6 months without their usual income. One of the conclusions reportedly drawn by AIG was that “the resistance to insurance take-up stems largely from the incorrect assumption th...
More About: Life , Insurance , Life Insurance
Play the ‘Longevity game’…
2008-03-22 23:10:00
The reason we have life insurance is because we don’t exactly know when (or how) we will die. It could be tomorrow or it could be in 50 years time.  It may be an accident or it may be through illness.  We don’t know.  And so we buy life insurance… just in case… to provide a lump sum of money to those that depend on us being around. So wouldn’t it be helpful if you knew when you were likely to die? Now you can play the ‘longevity game’.  Answer a few questions and viola… it calculates how long you’re likely to live for.  So… how accurate is it?  Not sure, but I sure had a lot of fun with it.
More About: Play , Longevity
“Black Widows” kill… then claim life insurance!
2008-03-20 03:07:00
How about this life insurance story? LOS ANGELES, California Two elderly women dubbed “the Black Widows” are accused of killing two transient men with a car in order to collect on their life insurance to the tune of almost US$2.8 million. The prosecutor said the women befriended the two homeless men and took out life insurance policies on their lives, then drugged them and ran them over to make it look as if they had been killed in hit-and-run accidents. Olga Rutterschmidt, 75 and Helen Golay, 77, each pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder for financial gain in the deaths of 73-year-old Paul Vados in 1999 and 51-year-old Kenneth McDavid in 2005. The prosecutor told the jury the women found the men in a homeless shelter at a Hollywood church, set them up in apartments and supported them for two years, all the while taking out multiple insurance policies on their lives valued at US$5.7million, costing them $64,000 in life insuran...
More About: Life , Insurance , Life Insurance , Kill
A ‘money chat’ forum for NZ consumers where you can discuss lif
2008-03-16 00:04:00
NZ Money Talk is an online financial chat forum with a growing New Zealand readership that is really worth a look. The site has been going for over 6 months now so there is plenty to read.  You can chat or read the discussion posts in the following forums:  ·         Mortgages ·         Credit Cards and Loans ·         Pensions and Retirement Planning ·         Savings and Investments ·         Tax Talk ·         Insurance & Life Assurance ·         Other Money Matters ·         Student Loans / Finance for young people    There are some good questions posed and answers provided by other consumers as well as industry experts.  Pinnacle Life is proud to be associated with this forum. Readers purchasing a Pinnacle Life policy online through the NZ Money Talk website will automatically get $10,000 free accidental death cover.    
More About: Chat , Forum , Consumers
‘Instant’ life insurance launched – first in Australia
2008-03-07 07:30:00
Australian consumers can now buy up to $1,000,000 life insurance cover online, in less than 10 minutes. SYDNEY 7 March 2007  Congratulations to Australian group, Once Australia, who today extended its on-line product range by launching ‘instant life insurance’.  The new website, launched through its subsidiary Once Life Pty Limited ( is Australia’s first website to offer instant life cover backed up by electronic underwriting, utilising the same technology as Pinnacle Life which launched a similar product last year in New Zealand. The insurance product is straightforward and easy to understand, underwritten by St Andrews and reinsured by Hannover Re, the largest reinsurer of life insurance in Australasia. HOW IT WORKS   The entire process from application to policy approval is fully electronic with consumers receiving their policies online, instantly. Visitors to the simple immediate-fulfilment site are greeted by an intuitive interface, w...
More About: Insurance , Australia , Life Insurance , Launched
On the good oil - you can live forever!
2008-03-04 03:26:00
Always one to shirk the hard yards, I tend to look for secret potions and mystical remedies for longevity. Something one can buy off a shelf in the local supermarket is a real win!.  So a YouTube search on longevity that suggested a cup of oil a day can bring you 120 years, sounded like booty from heaven. So I clicked on the hyperlink E and after a long download time (probably routed via the CIA) I learned her secret through the English version of Al Jazeera. It seems a cup of olive oil a day and staying away from alcohol is the magical potion for this Isreali woman who by all accounts is 120 years old. A cup of oil I can contemplate, no alcohol… herein lies a problem.  So now that I know I’m never going to make it to 120, lets be positive. For one, I calculated that Ms 120 has over 400 family birthdays to attend including her children (9), grand children (120), great grand children (250) and great-great grandchildren (30). Ad...
More About: Live , Forever , Good , The Good
“Pinnacle Life wins international award for website” - Scoop Bu
2008-02-15 10:56:00
Pinnacle Life has won an international IMA Award for the design and implementation of its online life insurance website The IMA recognise the highest standards of excellence in website design and development by companies and individuals for outstanding achievement. Read story in Scoop
More About: International , Website
Pinnacle Life wins international award for on-line insurance website
2008-02-12 03:16:00
Pinnacle Life has won an international IMA Award for the design and implementation of its online life insurance website The IMA recognise the highest standards of excellence in website design and development by companies and individuals for outstanding achievement. Sponsored by New York-based IMA Inc., an organisation comprising leading international web designers, marketers and other web-related professionals, the competition seeks to elevate the standards of excellence on the Internet. Visit Pinnacle Life’s world-first website was launched in May last year offering qualified consumers the ability to get a life insurance policy entirely online – using ‘electronic underwriting’ with no human involvement in the process. Pinnacle Life partner Steve de Jong says “It’s an honour to have our hard work recognised by the IMA. We feel strongly that we have a world-class website and this award helps validate that...
More About: International , Website , Insurance
A reader’s question…
2008-02-08 03:26:00
Received this:   “It is interesting to see an online option for Pinnacle Life. However, a few life insurance company I’ve contacted have provided me with reasons not to go with this sort of arrangement instead highlighting their plus points of: * Point of presents = established support * Payability in the event of an incidental = supported by past records, etc. * Pinnacle Life being relatively new and may have issues/supporting the client since it’s be reinsured with Hanover Re and not directly and any issues cannot be decided on Pinnacle (Pinnacle being sort of the middle man in the process) but instead would have to go back to Hannover Re.  What are you thoughts on this? And why is choosing Pinnacle Life better than the traditional providers?”  Thanks for your views Ernest and thanks for asking for ours.  If you phone an old paper based insurance company, you’re unlikely to get… “Sure, Pinnacle Life is great, we think you should get your policy from them&he...
Wife collects $1.2million insurance, husband returns from the dead. Can she
2008-02-06 11:55:00
This interesting life insurance story broke in the Herald a week ago about a New Zealand man who faked his own death and whose wife subsequently cashed in on his $1.2million life insurance policy.  Now there’s a raging debate about whether or not his wife can keep the windfall. According to the Herald story, the man (whose identity is suppressed) went missing in late 2002 after his car was found abandoned at a disused quarry at Port Waikato. Last year, his wife had the High Court declare him legally dead and collected on his life insurance. But the man was found alive in Christchurch after he applied for a passport under his own name (duh). Police initially accused his wife of two counts of fraud, but reportedly now believe she was innocent and legitimately believed her husband was dead. Ok, so now we have the Herald quoting insurance experts saying his wife may be able to keep the money “because she appears to have made the claim in good faith thinking that he had gen...
More About: Insurance , Wife , Dead , Husband
Does your occupation affect what you pay for life insurance?
2008-02-03 01:17:00
This weekend there was an article in the Sunday Star Times entitled “Thousands dying of work-related cancers”.   This raises the obvious question… does your occupation affect what you pay for life insurance?  Surely if life insurers know that some occupations increase your probability of an earlier-than-normal death, then you’d expect a life insurance policy to cost more for those occupations… wouldn’t you? Well, the answer to this question is “yes and no”.  Let me explain.   Yes for ‘accidental’ risks associated with your occupation   Insurance companies always ask if you work in a ‘risky’ occupation. Most insurers will have a definitive list of what’s risky and their lists are very similar. In fact, most dangerous occupations are pretty obvious… a bomb disposal expert… a professional hunter… a professional mountaineer… an off-shore oil rig worker… etc.  If your occupation is one of these, expect that your lif...
More About: Life , Life Insurance
“Pinnacle Life boosts ‘instant’ life cover” - Good
2008-02-01 06:49:00
    Pinnacle Life has increased its electronic underwriting limits by 60%, enabling it to now offer life cover up to $800,000 instantly online.   See full story on Good Returns…
More About: Cover
Pinnacle Life now offering $800,000 immediate cover
2008-01-31 04:29:00
Press release 31 January 2008 Pinnacle Life today increased its electronic underwriting limits by 60% enabling it to offer life cover up to $800,000 instantly online.    “This opens our instant life cover product to a wider audience” says Ed Saul, a partner of Pinnacle Life. “You can now insure your life for $800,000 without a medical and get your policy straight away.”  Pinnacle Life first launched its internet-based life insurance product with electronic underwriting in May 2007 with a limit of $500,000. The buying process from application to policy issue is fully automated, with consumers receiving their policies online. Applicants are led through a series of typical insurance underwriting questions covering their health, lifestyle, occupation and pastimes. Those with no indicated health risks can complete the process – from quote to policy document - in less than 10 minutes. “We previously offered cover to $500,000 thinking it would be enough for our market”...
More About: Cover
How to save 20% on your life insurance premiums…
2008-01-20 06:39:00
Here’s something a lot of people don’t know so we thought we’d mention it on our Blog. If you already have a life insurance policy, you can reduce your life insurance premiums by a whopping 20% simply by switching your policy across to Pinnacle Life .   Pinnacle Life offers a guaranteed 20%-off whatever you are currently paying. For some people in their 40’s and 50’s that can be a lot of money.  Consider a 48 year-old male smoker - for example – they’re probably paying over $140 per month for $350,000 life cover.  Switching to Pinnacle Life would save them around $340 per annum… for the same $350,000 life cover!  How do Pinnacle Life do it?  Simply by running an efficient, online business. So if you’re interested in saving 20% on your premiums every year for the life of your policy, just go to the Pinnacle Life website and chose the option that says ‘switch to Pinnacle Life’.  
More About: Insurance , Life Insurance , Save
What will the proposed tax changes for life insurance companies mean for co
2008-01-16 10:48:00
Ok, this is a boring read (I admit it ok?) – but important for you (the consumer) to note if you are in the market for life insurance in future. Background In 1990, New Zealand enacted new tax rules for life insurance products. Consequently, life insurance companies today are taxed at a lower rate compared with other companies. The proposed tax changes are ostensibly to ‘remedy’ this situation. Proposed tax changes The NZ government is proposing to change the basis for taxing life insurance companies. Click here to read the government’s discussion document which proposes that new tax rules will fully apply to all new life insurance policies taken out from 1 April 2009.  The government has called for submissions from interested parties, closing 12 Feb 2008, so there’s still a chance that further changes to the proposal will be made. My assessment With only 4 mil people and around 15 life insurers (if you include the banks), the life insurance industry in NZ is very, very c...
More About: Companies , Life , Insurance , Life Insurance
Why should New Zealanders buy life insurance on-line?
2008-01-01 22:25:00
We thought we’d start the New Year reminding New Zealanders exactly why buying life insurance on-line is a great idea. Obviously this assumes you need life insurance… which you do if you have a family that is financially dependant on you… because you don’t know when you’re going to die. Also assumes you’re ‘online’ and you like to do your business quickly and efficiently. That’d be just about everyone today – you’d think? If you already know it’s a great idea, click here to buy life insurance online now… do not pass go etc….  Otherwise, read on… Here are the 5 best reasons I can think of to buy your life insurance online; #1: Because it’s quick and easy to do Isn’t that why most people do their business on the internet?  Click… click… click… click… done!!  If you can find an easier way to buy life insurance, tell us… and we’ll spread the word.  It used to take days, weeks or even months buying through an agent.  Now it ta...
More About: Life , Insurance , Life Insurance , On-line , Line
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