Thursday, May 29, 2014

Five Sticky Situations Insurance Could Bail You Out In

1. Being diagnosed with a chronic condition.

As described in one of our earlier posts, at the age of 21 I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. Luckily, my conscientious mum had organised me health insurance cover before this happened, and all of my surgery and specialist costs since then have been completely taken care of by Southern Cross. Doing some loose calculations, those costs would have been upward of $20,000 so far, with unfortunately more to come in the future. If I had waited and investigated getting insured after I was diagnosed, I would have either had to cope with a large policy loading or my pre-existing condition may have been excluded entirely. So, having insurance already, before I was diagnosed kept my premiums affordable, and spared me a debt in the tens of thousands.

2. Being disabled in an accident and being unable to work.

Some accidents or conditions can be lived with and managed, and won't affect your ability to earn a living. But many of them will, either for a finite period of time or you may be unable to return to your profession indefinitely. If you have Total Permanent Disablement Cover (which is very affordable in terms of premiums) or Income Protection, you won't have financial burdens adding to your stress during already trying times while you recover. You can focus on getting well, and your family will be secure while you do.

3. Losing Your Job/Being Made Redundant

Unfortunately, it happens everyday. People lose their jobs or are made redundant and left with a whole bunch of worries, including meeting the bills, paying the rent all while finding another job quick smart. As covered a little while back, redundancy cover is a cheaper form of income protection which can protect your income while you search for new employment after being made redundant. As long as leaving your employment wasn't voluntary on your part, you can be covered! Read More Here.

4. Having a crucial person within your business fall ill.

Some of us have more to worry about than just themselves. If you own or manage a business, you may be relying on many key people underneath you to keep your business running, keep it profitable and ensure its managed properly on a day to day basis. If one of these people, say a co-director, a production manager or a reliable member of staff suffers a serious illness, condition or injury, you could be just as stuck as if one happened to you yourself. Key Person Insurance Cover is designed for this circumstance to protect your businesses profits if one of your most crucial employees goes down. 

5. Being stuck overseas due to flight cancellations, injury or natural disasters.

Another one that happened to me recently! After American Airlines cancelled my connecting flight back to Los Angeles, I was left stranded in Pensacola, Florida with no way to make my flight back from the States to Auckland. My case was comparatively minor to cases of people in my life I've known of, but paying for the extra nights hotel, meals and transportation would still have set me back close to $1,000 without travel cover. Other's I've known have had it far worse as the Icelandic Volcano eruption a few years back grounded flights all over Europe for the better part of a week, forcing them to watch as their extra costs skyrocketed. Trust me, being overseas hoping that your plans and schedules will all fall into place seems a lot more of a stretch to me than it did before. 

Thanks for reading! Visit for more info.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Partnership with Master Plumbers

Spratt Financial Services is extremely proud to be a partner of Master Plumbers and offer its members the best in insurance. Our specially designed Master Plumbers Insurance Plan designed in collaboration with AIA Insurance means that if you are a Master Plumbers member, you'll get a better deal on your insurance than you'll find anywhere else on your own!

For more information on our Master Plumbers Insurance Plan, contact or visit our website at Remember, if you're in need of the best plumbing service, you can trust Master Plumbers, just like we do. You can find the closest one to you with this handy search straight from the master plumbers website: Find a Master plumber near you!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Redundancy Cover: How it Works.

Redundancy Cover (also sometimes known as Loss of Job Cover) is a more specific form of income protection that will protect you from the loss of income that you could suffer if you are made redundant or lose your job involuntarily. As a more specified and less broad type of cover, redundancy cover is far cheaper in monthly premiums than general income and mortgage protection policies, making it a sound option for those who want to be protected but cannot afford the premiums for more costly Income Protection cover.

In general, payment will begin 30 days after you are made redundant or lose your job. From there, monthly payments will help you manage your expenses for a period of up to 6 months to allow you enough time to get back on your feet. Furthermore, you can still claim on your redundancy cover even if you have received a redundancy payment from your employer when you were let go. This will not effect the amount paid out or the frequency of the payments in any way. You can claim TWICE in total for any redundancy cover benefit, meaning that you are covered for a period of 12 months in total, as long as you have been employed a certain amount of time in between the two six month claim periods.

The sum assured of a typical redundancy policy will be calculated as follows:

- 40% of your income before tax.
- 110% of your mortgage payment.

Whichever of these figures is higher will be your sum assured, and when you claim on your policy that is the amount you will be paid each month to help you maintain your lifestyle while you look for the next job that's right for you.

One of Redundancy Cover's benefits is that it allows you the security to take the time to find the job that's right for you and not having to make impulsive decisions based on financial strain.

Unlike other forms of insurance, Redundancy Cover is NOT age related, and premiums will NOT increase each year due to age. This means that you will know that redundancy cover will always be affordable and will fit within your budget as the years go on.

Recently, we have had a client who was extremely thankful for the redundancy cover we had arranged for him. Out of the blue, he lost his manufacturing job after having only recently acquired a new house and with it a large mortgage. When he claimed, the redundancy cover kicked in and covered all of his mortgage payments for him, allowing the family to live comfortably off the income of his spouse. Without it, he told us, he would have been forced to lose his house that he had worked 15 years to be able to afford a downpayment for. The prospect of that rightly terrified him, and with a shortage of specialised manufacturing work in his region, it took him until the fifth month after his redundancy to secure new employment. Now, he has resettled in his new job, has kept his house and the family finances are in good shape. All it takes is a single thing to go wrong and he could have lost everything he had worked so hard for, we were extremely glad that he didn't. He was too.

Redundancy cover does work, and it is not expensive. Regardless of whether you have other forms of insurance or none at all, redundancy cover could be a very important boon to your life and won't set you back all that much. If you have any questions of just how much you'll pay, or you wish cover to be arranged for you, we can help. Just drop us a line anytime.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Staying Healthy: Can Chocolate Prevent Obesity and Diabetes?

I know, just by reading that headline you must be excited. I know I am! But is it too good to be true? Or is it the legitimate, scientific reason to eat a bunch chocolate that we've all been waiting for?

In a mouse study, led by Andrew P. Neilson at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University,  the researchers found that there was a certain antioxidant in cocoa that for all intents and purposes prevented mice from gaining weight. It also significantly lowered their blood sugar levels. Even better, this isn't the only study that's out there that suggests the benefit of chocolate for your health. 

Medical News Today recently reported on a study claiming that eating 70 g of dark chocolate every day could reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, the medical term for the thickening and hardening of the arteries. Other research claims that hot chocolate could be useful in preventing memory decline in old age. The paper concludes by finding: 

"There is a strong correlation between neurovascular coupling and cognitive function, and both can be improved by regular cocoa consumption in individuals with baseline impairments. Better neurovascular coupling is also associated with greater white matter structural integrity."

Yum. And healthy? It seems so, in moderation at least.

What is it about chocolate that contributes to weight stability and helps prevent diabetes, and how can we maximise that effect? The data from the study at first suggested it is the flavanols that chocolate contains that help provide this benefit. However, study participants then consumed both dark chocolate and regular chocolate with added flavanols and both displayed the same effects. This may suggest that another ingredient or bodily reaction to the chocolate is helping cause these effects.

In any case, I doubt that many of you need an excuse to eat chocolate, but here's as good of one as any. Best to stick to moderation though, these benefits were shown in human subjects with a consumption of 70g of chocolate per day.

Other articles in our Staying Healthy series: