Sunday, May 26, 2013

Is Your Current Insurance Sufficient?

After 20 years working in the Insurance industry, there is one thing about insurance of which we am absolutely convinced. Insurance works best when it is used as the funding for a plan that will protect a business, family or estate that is confronted by the disablement process. If you already have an insurance package and you want to know whether your insurance package will really be sufficient for your needs, here are the questions you should know the answers to:


What Will You Need The Cover For?
Specifically, use a pen and paper and write down what the claim proceeds will be used for when they are paid out. If you can't do this now before tragedy strikes then you may be facing trouble later.


Will You Be Able To Claim Soon Enough?
Death cover pays out in the event of actual or impending "medical death". However, we know that 94% of all deaths are due to medical conditions not accidents and 65% are due to degenerative medical conditions such as cancers, heart disease and strokes which can kill slowly over what may be an extended period of time. During this time, unable to work and unable to support yourself, your family or your business, you will be facing tremendous financial strain which your insurance may not cover for. Will the bank or your creditors wait until you are terminally ill before your death cover pays out? This is perhaps the most crucial consideration to take into account when assessing your insurance. We can help you ensure that you are fully covered financially in the face of these worrying statistics as unfortunately, basic life cover is most of the time, simply not sufficient.
 
Is It Enough Of A Claim?
It may sound strange, but a $250,000 insurance claim may not be enough to repay a $250,000 mortgage even assuming you want to repay all of it. You may have additional interest payments, penalties for being in arrears and you may need to pay a Solicitor, Trustee or your Accountant to carry out these transactions for you.


Do You Have The Right Insurance?
This applies to the type of income protection policy you may or may not have, what your health insurance actually covers or the way that permanent disability or critical illness components are structured within the overall portfolio of insurance. These two components may or may not reduce the remaining life cover once they have paid out which could create major problems at the very end of the disablement process.

Even assuming that you or someone close to you will be physically, mentally and emotionally capable of applying the claim proceeds to the predetermined targets is not supported by our experience of dealing with over 160 claims.

What is the best way of answering these questions fully? Use our experienced professional advisers to not only design and review the underlying plan, but to execute it and carry out the tasks they are best suited to handle. If you don't have a plan now, prepared with clear-headed purpose, then any insurance you do have may well be insufficient or not adequately fit to your unique needs. Use our experienced professionals if you need guidance or advice.

For more information on how our team of advisors can assist with managing your insurance program, contact us by calling 09 307 8200 or by email at enquiry@sprattfinancial.co.nz.



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Building a plan to protect your business and estate.

If you are the owner of an estate or you manage a business, have you ever thought about what would happen should a tragic and unforeseen deterioration of your health occurs? As insurance professionals, we have seen it happen all too often. As a result of our experience, the number one piece of advice we could give to home or business owners is to put in place a plan using insurance resources. A well worked and comprehensive insurance plan can re-establish control of your finances, leave your estate in your own hands and restore financial balance for you and your family.
Once something goes seriously wrong with your health, well-being and current financial situation, you should look to achieve the following goals in the face of what may well be your most overwhelming adversity: 


  • To have the greatest possible access to medical advice, treatment and technology so that you can get yourself well, back on your feet and hopefully limit the effect of the disablement process on your career, income, lifestyle and dependents;
  • To be able to control debt as soon into the disablement process as possible. To eliminate or significant reduce outstanding debts and financial obligations.
  • To create a certain source of income that will fund your lifestyle and keep your house and/or your business in your hands.
We can attest to just how difficult this has been for many people who have "gone it alone", mistakenly thinking and backing themselves to carry out many of these tasks and functions after their health has come apart at the seams without the necessary insurance. If you are so sick that you can't actually carry out the many vital roles and functions that still need to be carried out within your business, family and estate, then failure, and devastating failure at that, awaits the unwary and unprepared.
 

Our clear and certain belief is that insurance works best when it is used as the basis for a plan that is intended to protect a business, a family or an estate when tragic deterioration of an individual's health occurs. The three goals listed above can be accomplished by having the right type of insurance in place, customised and personalised to your unique situation.  As insurance professionals, we can help you build the right plan for your unique situation and life circumstances. Our capable team does this everyday and have the soundest professional processes in place. Your personal plan should contain the answer to four questions:
  • What needs to be protected?
  • Who is to do it?
  • What authority do they need to act for you?
  • Where does the funding that you will need come from?
We can help give you answers to all of these questions. With the right insurance, the funds you require in your time of need will be taken care of. We can help source the best and most competitive insurance on the market from the most reputable sources. Use our skilled and experienced professionals, construct a plan and shield against the risk of losing your most important assets.

If you need help with your plan to protect your business and estate, don't hesitate to contact us at enquiry@sprattfinancial.co.nz or by calling (09) 307 8200.




Sunday, May 12, 2013

New Zealand's Unique Investment Advantages

As New Zealanders, we should wake up each morning thankful to live in such a beautiful country. Our scenic wonders are unmatched and we are internationally regarded as a prime and sought after tourist destination. However, our environment and our people aren't all we have to offer. New Zealand also offers unique advantages in business, and our investment environment is safe and prosperous. This article will investigate why New Zealand is a great place for your investments.

Key Awards and Statistics

An under reported fact is that New Zealand has recently ranked first in the world in three investment categories:

1. Protecting Investors (World Bank Doing Business Report 2013)
2. Starting a Business (World Bank Doing Business Report 2013)
3. Lack of Corruption (Transparency International Corruption Index 2012)

Anti corruption agency Transparency International continues to rank New Zealand as Number One for honesty and integrity in its public sector, having now achieved this status for seven consecutive years. Thus, New Zealand offers an unmatched record of safety for your investments that currently no other country can match.

Our economy is in a stronger position than many western economies, having weathered the brunt of the world economic crisis and emerged in a healthier state when compared to states in the European Union and the USA. Whilst no economy can be said to be invulnerable, we are relatively isolated from the travails in Europe and the US and have strong ties to emerging and thriving economies in Asia.

We boast a wide range of free trade agreements with other nations, a simple tax code (the third lowest in the OECD in terms of time taken for taxpayers to comply with tax obligations, December 2010) and an absence of import tariffs or Government subsidies, facilitating both domestic and foreign investment.

List of Nations New Zealand has Free Trade Agreements With:

- China
- Australia
- Vietnam
- Phillipines
- Cambodia
- Brunei
- Indonesia
- Hong Kong
- Myanmar
- Thailand
- Malaysia
- Laos
- Singapore
- Chile

Negotiations are also under way with India, Korea, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and New Zealand is a key driver behind the Trans Pacific Partnership.

A 'Can Do' Culture

If you need an environment that fosters success, banishes negativity and finds innovative solutions all built upon a foundation of entrepreneurship, dedication and hard work, New Zealand is the place. As a smaller nation of less than 5 million people, New Zealand achieves big on the world stage even with fewer resources than its chief competitors. This is a testament to the attitude of the New Zealand people and the positive business environment they have cultivated, in which more is made from less and we seldom take no for an answer!

Esteemed Position and Strong Currency

Finally, New Zealand is among the top 20 rated sovereign nations in the world. Standard and Poors gives New Zealand an AA+ Local Currency Rating, an AA foreign currency rating and an AAA T&C assessment. Furthermore, the New Zealand dollar is trading very strongly against the $US the Pound Sterling and the Euro, meaning that making New Zealand dollars through investments will go a long way in the international marketplace.

Source Credit: http://www.nzte.govt.nz/en/invest/new-zealands-investment-advantage/

If you are interested in making investments and taking advantage of our country's unique advantages, email Ross Wallace (Authorised Financial Adviser) at ross@spratt.co.nz.









Sunday, May 5, 2013

Highest health insurance payouts 2012.

"Southern Cross' biggest health insurance payout last year was for a spinal surgery costing $160,000, its latest statistics reveal.

Another spinal surgery cost $151,000 and $100,000 was paid out for a larynx removal.

Cancer, heart disease and spinal conditions were the causes of the highest health insurance claims paid by the association.

All of the patients who made the top 10 highest claims were aged over 64. The oldest was 76.

Chief executive Peter Tynan said it demonstrated the value of insurance. “No one wants to be ill but, if the unexpected happens and you need timely access to treatment, it can be very comforting to have the financial aspect taken care of.”

Those aged under 30 put in a high number of claims for tonsillectomies and dental procedures, for women aged 20-39 endometriosis surgery was common and for people over 50, hip and knee replacements, cataract extraction and skin lesion removals were in high demand.

Tynan said: “If they choose to self-insure, people should have realistic expectations of what they’ll need.”

A survey carried out by Southern Cross last year revealed that 79% of New Zealanders thought they would have to pay for some of their elective healthcare in retirement. But only one in five had started saving and many thought that savings of less than $10,000 would be sufficient."


Original Article Here.

It's always interesting to get a look at figures such as these. Imagine the burden of having to take on those kind of costs by yourself after retirement. The point about self insurance is interesting too, and it plays into a point I have discussed at other times on this blog. New Zealander's sometimes can lack perspective on just how prohibitive illness can be. This is due to a combination of factors, such as inadequate proliferation of the statistics and case studies involved, as well as a strong, independent, yet sometimes wrong headed 'she'll be right' sort of attitude. This attitude has seen Kiwis take on and achieve incredible feats, but it doesn't work so well when applied to your health, your ability to earn and protecting your family or your business from very real risks.

We certainly hope these risks are taken into account and that some of these figures demonstrate that savings of less than $10,000 certainly won't be enough if serious illness rears its ugly head.