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12 Jan 2022

An insurance adviser does exactly that - they can provide professional advice to you about insurance protection. They are able to assess your individual needs, or those of your family, assets or business to provide you with professional advice. As insurance experts, they should be able to guide you as to the combination of insurance that will suit your specific situation, your financial goals and minimise your insurance premiums as much as possible. Insurance advisers typically advise on personal insurances for individuals and their families.

An independent insurance adviser is often called an insurance broker (they work across multiple insurance companies and products), whereas insurance advisers are usually specialists that work with one specific company. If you want to manage risk for yourself and your family, then chatting with an insurance adviser could be a great way to ensure you have peace of mind that you have the right insurance policies in place. It can be overwhelming knowing what to ask an adviser when you do have that chat, so here are some key questions to get you started.

1. What should I expect during the insurance adviser process?

Insurance advisers aim to simplify insurance, not complicate the process for you. They are there to listen to your needs, understand how your personal circumstances may change in the future and simplify your decision making process about which insurance product or products may work for your situation. If you’re worried about what the process involves, or how long it might take, do ask them upfront, or read on for a general overview.

Discuss your needs

Your insurance adviser will ask you a range of questions to understand your personal situation and what types of insurance products you may benefit from. This is a great time to ask them about anything you’re unsure of or don’t understand. Common queries can include insurance policy explanations, understanding the conditions of a policy, what the risk coverage includes, the benefits covered in a policy and how you can change the cost of a premium to suit your budget. In This stage of the process is also a good time to discuss your financial goals, as knowing them can help advisers to build a plan that doesnt need to be changed too much over time.

Provide advice on insurance products

An insurance product may have a range of insurance policies available - but which will provide you the best cover for your unique situation? This is where an insurance adviser can really add value - by explaining why one policy is better suited to you than another. They can also advise on the right combination of insurance products so you’re not doubling up on insurance cover.

As part of the advice stage, you’ll also be given a clear outline of what your premiums will be, before you commit to a policy.

Ongoing insurance assistance

Your insurance adviser doesn’t need to be a one off relationship. They can continue to add value throughout the year, as they can help you to navigate the insurance claims process, answer any queries you may have around the policy changes or a change in personal circumstances.

It’s good practice to review your insurance cover every year, and your insurance adviser can help you make sure that your insurance policies are still relevant to your situation.

The process of purchasing insurance can be a daunting one, so hopefully these three steps will help you to be fully aware of what you can expect from your interactions with an insurance adviser.

2. What is your insurance adviser’s experience?

Trust and confidence in your insurance adviser is key to a good working relationship. You want to be assured that you’re talking with someone who understands the industry and has experience in advising others about their insurance needs. We recommend you ask the following questions to get a good understanding of how an insurance adviser might best help you.

  • Insurance experience - how long has your insurance adviser worked in the insurance industry and what types of insurance based roles have they had?

  • Financial qualifications - what relevant qualifications does your insurance adviser hold, that will help them give you the right insurance advice?

  • Professional body membership - is your insurance adviser a member of a regulatory body? For example, a Cigna Insurance Adviser has a degree or qualification in a finance related discipline, regular training sessions about Cigna insurance products and government legislation and regulations. They are regulated by the Financial Markets Authority and are “legally required to exercise care, diligence and skill in the advisory work they undertake with their customers.”

  • Insurance specialisation - like any job, some insurance advisers will have particular experience in certain areas. If you specifically need advice for a complex insurance enquiry for a specific insurance product, let your insurance adviser know as there will likely be someone in the team who can best support your queries.

  • Insurance adviser fees - do ask your insurance adviser about their fees and commission structure. Independent insurance advisers or brokers are often incentivised by certain insurance brands to sell their products, but in-house insurance advisers don’t typically work in a commision fee model.

It’s important to work with a qualified, experienced insurance adviser who you feel has your best interests in mind when selecting your insurance policies. 

3. What type of insurance do I need?

To ensure you keep the cost of your insurance premiums in check, understand what insurance policies you need and don’t need for your current situation. Types of personal insurance you may chat with your insurance adviser about include the following:

  • Life insurance - if you’re keen to provide financial peace of mind to your family were you to pass away or become seriously ill or injured, a life insurance policy may be worth chatting to your insurance adviser about. Think about whether your partner or children could keep up with mortgage payments and other household bills if you were suddenly unable to financially contribute.

  • Income protection insurance - if you’re worried about losing your monthly income if you were injured or ill, income protection insurance could be a policy to consider. Keeping up with those regular bills and outgoings can be more important at certain stages of your life - say when you have dependent children.

  • Funeral cover insurance - no one likes to think about dying, or funerals, but many people take out funeral cover insurance to support their families needing to come up with a significant cash outlay at a challenging emotional time. Fast payouts are key to providing practical support for your family members. And with typical NZ funerals costing $10,000, funeral insurance cover can be a sensible choice for some families.

  • Business insurance - the range of business insurance policies are wide ranging and will greatly depend on whether you’re a sole trader, or have a team of people working for you. If you fall ill or are injured and your business depends on your working contribution to generate income, there are insurance policies such as Key Person Start-Up Cover that can protect against this scenario.  Business Overheads Cover can be another option to ensure those day to day costs are managed in the event of your injury or illness too. Businesses vary greatly and the needs of their directors vary greatly too. An insurance adviser can help you navigate the right mix of business and personal insurance cover to ensure you’re well covered.

4. What benefits will I get from my insurance?

It’s important to understand the benefits of each of your insurance policies. Of course these will differ from policy to policy, but we’ve detailed some of the topline benefits you could expect, and encourage you to discuss these with your insurance adviser.

  • Life insurance - your life insurance policy should have different tiers so that you can choose a plan you can afford. Cheaper premiums may mean less cover or a more restricted policy so make sure you understand these variables. Other benefits include plans tailored to your lifestyle and life stage, easy to update your cover when you need to, and a change of mind policy (cancel your policy shortly after you agree to it, if your circumstances change).

  • Income protection insurance - your income protection insurance should also have a range of plan options so you can choose the one that meets your personal needs and budget. You’ll be able to focus on recovering, rather than how to pay your bills.

  • Funeral cover insurance - your funeral cover insurance should have a simple acceptance criteria and fast payouts for claims. Typically sold to 50-80 year olds, funeral cover premiums should be low cost and may be discounted for joint policies too. Look into policies that stop premium payments at a certain age too.

  • Extra benefits - many insurers offer additional services to support the insurance policies they provide. Cigna has a number of additional benefits for their clients: fitness and nutrition advice, counselling services, addiction advice, financial, legal and career advice.

5. What are my insurance cover exclusions?

All insurance policies have exclusions. Your insurance adviser can talk you through the exclusions for each policy so you can make an informed choice. We don’t recommend agreeing to a policy before you understand the exclusions that apply. Lower premiums can mean more exclusions or varying cover, so this will be part of your decision making process - what you need to be covered for and your available budget. Typical exclusions that may prevent you being able to make insurance claims can include pre-existing medical conditions, drug use, criminal activity and so on. Check with your insurance adviser for specific details regarding the policy you’re interested in.

6. What if I need to change something on my insurance policy?

By having an insurance adviser, you simplify any changes you need to make to your policies by having a single point of contact for changes or queries. Your insurance adviser also understands your history and your future financial goals so can help you make the right insurance decisions as your needs or life circumstances change. Simply chat with your insurance adviser about how and when to get in touch if you have a question, a change or a claim to make.

When to contact your insurance adviser

  1. Contact Us - no need to go through the main call centre line, call your insurance adviser instead.

  2. Discuss - not sure about something? Need an element of your insurance explained? Want to better understand an exclusion? You can ask for advice any time.

  3. Make a policy change or insurance claim - if your circumstances change or you need to make a claim, let your insurance adviser support you through the process.

  4. Processing - not sure how your policy is progressing, or need to know the status of your insurance claim? Call your insurance adviser.

  5. Confirmation - your insurance adviser will be across all of your insurance particulars. Ask them for details or copies of policies as you need them.

7. How much will your insurance cost you?

Insurance policy costs can vary widely, so it’s important to understand what you’re paying for and what benefits you’ll get in return. Sometimes the cheapest policy won’t cover your needs and you’ll need to pay a little more for relevant cover. Your insurance adviser will be able to provide different insurance cover options for you, at different cost levels.

Understanding how your insurance costs will change as you move through different life stages or by making lifestyle changes may be useful to commit to the insurance costs you have today. You can also seek more general financial advice from a qualified independent financial adviser to ensure you can afford the insurance you need.

Before engaging an insurance adviser it can be helpful to understand your insurance requirements and financial situation so you can be specific about your needs when talking with an insurance adviser.

Ready to talk to an insurance adviser?

Your needs, the needs of your family, or your business are all unique. Making sure you get the right level of cover for your personal or business situation is an important decision. Cigna can support you to make the right insurance decisions.

Are you keen to know more about protecting yourself, family or business? A Cigna insurance adviser can provide advice about personal  insurance or business insurance policies today. Contact us to talk to an insurance adviser or learn more about our range of insurance products.