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12 Jan 2022

Insurance can be a complicated topic to get one’s head around. Never the top of anyone’s to-do list, it’s usually considered a ‘have to do’ task, rather than a ‘want to do’ task. Imagine getting support to make your insurance decisions and turning that bottom of the list task into an annual task you look forward to - all because you’ve simplified the process and know you’re making good decisions!

Getting good advice can simplify many important decisions. Whether you seek the support of a financial advisor for your personal and business finances, or chat to a mortgage broker to help you get the best deal for your home loan. Well, insurance is no different. Choosing the right insurance cover for you, your family or your business can be as straightforward as engaging with a qualified Insurance Adviser. Their job is to understand your individual needs and find the right type of insurance (or insurances) to fit your situation.

What is an Insurance Adviser?

There are a few different types of Insurance Advisers. We will outline your different options below, as it is good to understand the key differences.

Cigna Insurance Adviser

Our experienced team of Cigna Insurance Advisers are regulated by the Financial Markets Authority which means they are legally required to exercise care, diligence and skill in the advisory work they undertake with Cigna customers. Our qualified advisers have wide ranging financial services experience and undertake regular training to ensure that they are across the latest regulations and legislation. As experts on Cigna insurance products, they can help you understand the finer points and nuances of Cigna insurance policies and ensure you make the right decision for your individual insurance needs.

Cigna insurance advisers do not work on commission, so you can be assured they are providing you sound advice in relation to the Cigna product suite.

Insurance Broker

An insurance broker is also regulated by the Financial Markets Authority but is able to provide advice across multiple insurer brands. An insurance broker essentially acts as a ‘go-between’ between you and your insurance company once you make your insurance policy decision. Although an insurance broker can provide advice across multiple insurers it is worth understanding that they also receive commission payments from insurers too.

This process is more transparent than ever so there is no harm in asking an insurance broker about this before you engage their services and understand any commission structure they operate under. 

Independent Financial Adviser

For some people, engaging the services of an Independent Financial Adviser can be useful. Independent Financial Advisers can review your wider financial situation, in addition to recommending insurance based on your individual needs. Importantly, Independent Financial Advisers are qualified and regulated by the Financial Markets Authority. Because they act independently, Independent Financial Advisers do not receive commission from insurance providers, but they do usually charge for their services.  

At Cigna, some of our Insurance Advisers may also be a qualified financial adviser but they are not the same role. If this is a service that you also require, tell our team when you get in touch.

What does an Insurance Adviser do?

A key role for an Insurance Adviser is to simplify all things insurance for you. From answering your questions, to helping with the paperwork, an Insurance Adviser should support you to make the right insurance decisions, and help you through the process as well. An Insurance Adviser can use their experience to help show you what you do and don’t need, and will often deal with complex insurance arrangements too. People often find that engaging the services of an Insurance Adviser can save them both time and money - that’s a win!

An Insurance Adviser can help you understand and maximise certain elements of your insurance policy. They will also do the legwork when it comes to making a claim, or reviewing your insurance requirements each year.

Your policy conditions and details

Does your policy fit your unique situation? An Insurance Adviser will ensure they understand your income and employment status, your financial goals, any dependents you have, your health and family’s medical history to ensure they’re offering you tailored advice and that the insurance policy conditions fit your situation.

Your risk level and coverage options

Understanding what risk level you need in a policy can be difficult to understand if you’re new to insurance or if your situation is a little complicated. That’s where experienced advice from an Insurance Adviser can help you understand and navigate what level of risk is right for you.

Your premium options

Your specific insurance needs and your budget often determine your premium options. Your premium can also be impacted by any policy add ons you may need for your specific insurance needs, which will alter your premium. An Insurance Adviser can be hugely useful in understanding what you do and don’t need in your policy.

Your policy benefits

Understanding your policy benefits can sometimes be the hardest part of locking down your insurance. Letting an Insurance Adviser remove the guesswork can be a huge weight lifted from your shoulders. Wading through the differences between two similarly worded policies can be better left to the experts sometimes.

What to look for in an Insurance Adviser

Being in the insurance business, we wanted to share our top five tips on what to look for in an insurance adviser.

1. How experienced is your Insurance Adviser? 

Ideally, you want to talk with someone who has a minimum of 3-5 years in the insurance industry. You want to be reassured that their recommendations are sound, well researched and come from having helped many others in their insurance policy selection. If they have less experience but you would like to work with them, check what recent qualifications they have, and whether they work with a more senior Insurance Adviser to provide their advice.

2. Does your Insurance Adviser have a particular speciality?

There is no point seeing a health insurance specialist to discuss your business insurance needs. Just as you wouldn’t see a mortgage broker to chat about your superannuation investment portfolio! For many people, most Insurance Advisers should be able to help with straightforward queries, but if you have a complex insurance matter relating to your personal situation or complicated business insurance requirements, we strongly recommend you request a specialist in that field. For business owners, it can be useful engaging with an Insurance Adviser that handles both personal and business insurances. Company directors can have wider ranging insurance needs than employees.

If you do want more wide ranging financial advice, this is when it could be useful to request an Insurance Adviser with a broader financial adviser background.

3. What qualifications does your Insurance Adviser hold?

There are certain qualifications that Insurance Advisers are expected to have in New Zealand to work in the industry. Insurance Advisers will hold a National Certificate in Financial Services (Level 5) and may hold a Graduate Diploma in Business Studies (Financial Planning or Personal Risk Management). Two other qualifications to be aware of are whether your Insurance Adviser is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU).

Cigna Insurance Advisers are regulated by the Financial Markets Authority and as such, are legally required to exercise care, diligence and skill in the advice they provide.

4. Does your Insurance Adviser have any professional body memberships?

We’ve already mentioned the Financial Markets Authority, but membership of the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) is another important membership as its members are governed by the Fair Insurance Code, which sets industry best practice for its members.

Professional body memberships do provide peace of mind that whichever Insurance Adviser you are using is bound by industry regulation, high service standards and a code of conduct, such as the Fair Insurance Code.

5. Check your Insurance Adviser’s testimonials

 Just as you might check online reviews when buying from a new online retail store, you can perform your own due diligence by checking testimonials for your Insurance Adviser online, or requesting them before you engage with them. Understanding that other clients were happy with the service provided, or what specific expertise was offered can help you make a well balanced decision.

What to expect when talking to an Insurance Adviser

Are you feeling that an Insurance Adviser may add value to your insurance decisions? Here are some final pointers for how an initial conversation and ongoing relationship with an Insurance Adviser should play out.

  • Insurance Adviser / Client relationship - your Insurance Adviser should outline the process they’ll go through with you and understand your specific needs. That first conversation is your opportunity to understand their qualifications and if they work on commission.

  • Understanding your risks - you should have an opportunity to outline your short term and long term risks which can establish the insurances you’ll need.

  • Your overall financial situation - an Insurance Adviser will need to understand your income, assets, liabilities, investments and current insurance coverage to provide you the best advice.

  • Your insurance recommendations - your insurance advice should include insurance strategies, specific products and answer any questions you have.

  • Choosing the right insurance - your Insurance Adviser will guide you through the insurance process to get your policies set up. They’ll also work with your accountant and lawyer if needed.

  • Regular insurance reviews - regular check ins are important to ensure your insurance still meets your needs, and that your circumstances, lifestyle and financial goals haven’t changed significantly.

Regardless of whether you need personal or business insurance, an Insurance Adviser can help you navigate the world of life insurance, house insurance, income protection insurance and funeral cover insurance. Why not engage an expert, and save time and money, all the while knowing you’re making the best, informed choice? And at the end of the day, you’re not obligated to proceed with an Insurance Adviser’s recommendations. But their job is to understand your needs and goals and find the best insurance fit for you.

Cigna can support you to make the right insurance decisions. Are you keen to know more about protecting your whanau? A Cigna Insurance Adviser can provide advice about a life insurance or business insurance policy today. Contact us to talk to an Insurance Adviser or learn more about our insurance products.