Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Insurance Claims Statistics and Facts

Below are a collection of facts and statistics around claims and policies which may help you navigating the tricky waters of insurance:

1. 16% of Life Insurance claims are paid out early for Terminal Illness.

Some may be unaware that your life insurance can be paid out before the policy holder's death in the event that they are diagnosed with terminal illness. This happens in 16% of life insurance claims and can assist the family in making important financial decisions and quickly ease the monetary burden during this difficult time.

2. Life Cover Claim Reasons:

26% Heart Related (Cardiac Arrest, heart disease etc)
26% Cancer
12% Pneumonia
6% Stroke
2% Self Inflicted
1% Diabetes
1% Accident
11% Other
15% Unknown Causes

3. 50% of Trauma/Critical Illness Claims are due to Cancer

Heart related illness in this category accounts for 16% of claims, whilst Angioplasties and Strokes account for 5% each. Trauma cover is a separate form of cover which pays out a sum assured upon your diagnosis with a critical condition.

4. Muscular and Limb Injuries account for 47% of Income Protection Claims from one leading insurer.

5. The average age where Income Protection policies are cancelled is 46.

An extremely unfortunate fact, in light of the fact that...

6. The average age that Income Protection policies are claimed on is 47.

As we get older, we get more susceptible to injury and illness. Think carefully before making any big decisions about your insurance because being left without an income and a family depending on you can be a crippling financial burden.

Any questions about your insurance? Try out our new contact form!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Staying Healthy: Losing Belly Fat.

Staying healthy is always a good idea. Not only can it lead to a longer time on this Earth with a far better quality of life, it can have financial benefits too. The better shape you're in, the less you'll be paying for your insurance as your lessened risk to the insurer results in lower premiums, more cover being available to you and less exclusions for certain health conditions.

In this edition of our staying healthy series, we're going to look at effective ways of ridding yourself of that troubling belly fat. An ample waistline puts you at higher risk of serious health conditions including heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes and strokes. Excess abdominal fat triggers a change in the bodily hormone which controls blood vessel contraction, increasing the risk of dangerously high blood pressure, strokes and cardiac arrest. That's reason enough to shed those pounds right there.

Men are at higher risk for heart disease than woman, based on higher incidences of stomach fats.

1. Change your diet.

The calories your body consumes from protein are far more easily burned than the ones consumed from carbohydrates. In fact, up to 30% of the calories you consume from protein will be burned during the process of digestion. White meat from poultry and seafoods are good sources of leans protein for snacks and for meals. Try to substitute as many carbs as possible for healthier proteins and you'll make the task of burning that belly fat a whole lot easier. 

2. Stop over-eating.

It sounds like the simplest thing in the world, but our meals are often way too big, and if you're eating more calories than you're burning, you're gaining weight. It's as simple as that. Try using smaller dinner plates to avoid filling up; if it can't fit on your plate, you won't be eating it! Fill up your smaller plates and leave the rest as leftovers for another day. Also, try drinking a lot of water before eating. The water takes up space in your stomach so you won't have to consume as much to feel full. Eat little nutritious snacks in between meals so you won't feel the need to gorge at lunch or dinnertime. 

Smaller plates means less chance of over-eating. Try it out sometime!

3. Start walking!

Walking is an easy, low impact form of exercise that targets a broad variety of muscle groups, gets you active, burns calories and nearly everyone can do it! I personally have been walking a lot the last few months, over 25 km a week. Start by doing a half hour or a set distance per day at a time suitable to you (I find right when I get up before work is my preferred time) and then gradually build up over time as your fitness level improves. Apps like Runkeeper can be great motivational tools as they track your walk and tell you the distance travelled, amount of calories burned and a bunch of other cool stats.

4. Get the right amount of sleep per night.

A selection of studies have shown that the ideal sleep to prevent gaining of visceral belly fat is usually between 6 and 7 hours. People who got less than 5 as well as people who slept for more than 8 hours per night showed more visceral fat gain over a five year period.

Aim for 7 hours of sleep per night - that seems to be the weight loss sweet spot!

5. Don't just do crunches!

I know that when I start gaining a bit of weight around the middle, my first instinct is to start doing crunches. Whilst this may result in stronger abdominal muscles, it won't do much to handle the layer of belly fat on top. Better exercises are ones that work multiple muscle groups at a time. Try planking or the aforementioned walks or runs.

6. Manage your drinks intake.

Minimise soda, sugary drinks and milkshakes. Maximise water, tea and diet soda. Just a simple step like cutting out that can of Coke from your day can have an impact on your calorie intake and your weight loss. Everything counts!

Other entries in our Staying Healthy Series:

Sunday, November 2, 2014

New Zealand Insurer Brings back Full Replacement cover for houses.

Tower Insurance has gone against the prevailing wind of house insurers to offer a full replacement option for houses destroyed by fire. Most insurers in the industry moved to a sum assured model at the beginning of 2013, meaning that they would pay out an agreed upon value (the sum assured) if the house was damaged or destroyed by fire. The sum assured model often sometimes not provide sufficient funds to totally replace the value of the house, just going most of the way.

“Being able to provide full replacement for fire means one less worry for homeowners in the traumatic event of a fire,” Tower CEO David Hancock said. “Tower can guarantee your home will be fully rebuilt if it’s destroyed by fire, regardless of the cost or the sum you’re insured for.”

Providing a full replacement option should set Tower apart in the fire and general insurance marketplace and give customers another option for covering their houses which is always a good thing. Tower says that they made the move to bring back full replacement in light of comments from their customers who found the sum assured format confusing. “People want to know that if the worst happened they can at least know that they will get their house back the way it was.”

If Tower's move proves successful, and they can maintain affordability, it will be interesting to see if other insurers follow suit. What do you think of Tower's move? Do you find the current home insurance confusing? Would you rather go with a full replacement option?