Shaken and stirred – and doing what’s important
The September 4 Canterbury earthquake proved to be the dress rehearsal for a far more devastating event, which, on February 22 shook the city of Christchurch and its people, causing death, destruction to vast areas of the central business district and eastern suburbs, and placing enormous strains on infrastructure.
From the devastation, remarkable stories of survival and of community generosity and kindness have emerged. It’s been a time for impromptu family reunions, regular check-ins with friends and neighbours, and community playgrounds alive with the sounds of families spending time together.
Our condolences and kind thoughts go to those who have lost a loved one, colleague or friend; to those whose homes have been damaged or deemed unliveable, whose business or employment activities have been disrupted – we recognise this is a time of great uncertainty for you all.
At Eric James HQ it’s business as usual, our Ferry Road premises are undamaged, although our neighbours down the street haven’t fared so well. While we’re outside the Red Zone, our PO Box is no longer accessible (please address all correspondence to us at 5/211 Ferry Road), the gridlocks to get here are challenging and we thank staff for their dedication and ability to work through challenging personal situations to show up daily to serve our clients. We also wish to thank our clients, colleagues and friends from throughout New Zealand, who have reached out to us with offers of support. Yes! You have helped.
What a difference 20 seconds makes
It is sobering to realise that ‘it will never happen to me’ has happened. Our immediate priorities become (1) food on the table (2) a roof over our heads, and thinking (3) ‘are our insurance premiums up to date?’
If you think you need more health, trauma or life insurance, please don’t wait until you receive an annual call from us. Protect yourself and those you love against the unexpected by phoning Eric James and Associates today.
Is your cover keeping pace?
Life doesn’t stand still – so it is important your insurance cover keeps pace with your changing lifestyle.
Have you got married recently, or divorced? Had a baby? Taken out a home loan, or increased your mortgage? Perhaps you’ve taken responsibility for the full-time care of a family member.
Changes in your personal circumstances usually mean changes in your financial circumstances, and many of us wouldn’t even realise the impact of this in terms of our insurance cover. After all, we put insurance in place for peace of mind, and then we forget about it. That’s what it’s for. But, if you’ve had any changes, it’s a good idea to review your insurance to ensure it remains relevant to your circumstances today.
It could be that you need to ‘top up’ your existing cover. Of course, there will be an increase in your premiums for improved levels of cover and, depending on the insurer you may need to provide evidence of the special events mentioned above.
There may also be limitations, such as the time period in which you can make an increase to your cover (typically one event every year) or the amount you can increase your cover by (generally up to 50% of the original sum). An age restriction may also apply.
Talk to an advisor at Eric James & Associates for information and advice on hassle-free top-ups.
Why we ask questions about your health
Here are the reasons why we ask questions about your health and lifestyle when you apply for insurance cover.
Insurance relies on good faith. You are insured on the basis of what you tell your insurer. It’s your duty to provide truthful and complete information about your health and medical history. Non-disclosure can become an issue at claim time because, when you make a claim, your medical history may be investigated more closely.
Answer questions as fully as you can, including information relating to all and any conditions you currently have, or have had in the past. If you don’t disclose something that might affect your premium, the terms of your cover, or an insurer’s decision to provide you with cover, this can lead to delays. At worst, your claim may be refused or your insurance cancelled.
If you’re unsure of the relevance of any information, it’s best to include it on your application form, just to be safe. If you don’t know something, say so. Your insurer will then need to obtain the information from somewhere else, e.g. your doctor, your dentist, your employer, ACC or other government departments. Under the Privacy Act 1993, you must be asked for consent before information about your medical history is sought.
And please keep us up to date. If your circumstances change during the period between making an application and receiving your policy documents, be sure to let us know. Your obligation to disclose everything you know about your health doesn’t end until your policy has been issued.
Many Kiwis underinsured
Forty-five percent of New Zealanders have just enough savings to cover one month of outgoings, according to recent research by Dun and Bradstreet. For the large number of households where income is generated through personal effort, disablement or death leads to financial risk.
An American study found that the poverty rate of women in the US rose from 9% to 42% over the two years following the death of their husbands and that one-third of all families between the ages of 22-39 suffered at least a 40% drop in the standard of living as a result of the death of the primary income earner.
In a country such as New Zealand, that endeavours to provide a minimum standard of living for all its citizens, the cost of underinsurance is ultimately borne by society – not just in the cost of providing a minimum income for families that have not made provision for themselves, but in all associated costs that can arise from families living under financial stress – poorer health, lower education and higher mortality.
The big question is: why are New Zealanders prepared to spent almost twice as much on gambling such as a weekly lottery ticket, than on life, trauma and disability insurance premiums, when the amount of claims paid by life insurance companies is double that of the value of prizes paid in gambling?
You gotta wonder!
More prize winners
Congratulations to Cherie Duane and Stuart McKenzie of Riccarton, who were the Christchurch winners of our December barrel draw. Cherie is seen here (picture left) receiving her cheque for $1000 from Eric James advisor Mike Fenton. Auckland December barrel draw winner Treena Tetava of Epsom (picture right) is seen here with daughter Charlotte receiving a cheque from our Auckland Sales Manager Rick Willis.
Have you moved?
We appreciate that some of our Christchurch clients will receive this newsletter via a mail redirection service. If you have relocated, please advise us of your new address so we can update our records. Best wishes to you all.