Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I have been in the personal insurance industry for over 20 years now and it still amazes me the attitude of the average person towards life and disability insurance.

Most people don't see it as a neccessary insurance in fact over 70% of people I come across feel it is more important to have insurance on the family car than on themselves. It astounds me that people really believe living without a car would be more devestating on the family than living without their legs - go figure!

People never value their insurance until they need it and when they do they usually complain they should have had more (and I never say, I told you so). Young people of course believe they will live forever and most people don't start thinking of insurance until they start to feel their mortality.

In saying this I am often suprised when a 45+ customer refuses to want to give out medical information or submit to any mandatory medical tests. They can't understand why they just can't get the insurance with out all the fuss. They think that life insurers are not fair and can't understand that after being admitted to hospital with chest pains they are not a good risk. They often argue that they are the healthiest people they know and maybe they are, but if you build your house on a flood plain you will not get flood cover. If you are a young driver you pay more and so it is the same with life insurance.

The answer is simple, no insurer wants to take on a bad risk. The reality is once you are over 40 your risk for everything sky rockets, so the once 30 year old that could get insurance for less than $500 a year becomes the 45 year old who now has to pay $1,500 a year.

Life insurance and medical insurance are similar in that the earlier you opt in the cheaper it will be and the more likely you will be able to get insurance. A life insurance company doesn't have an obligation to provide you with insurance, it is a privilege not a right.

The best advice, when a young person starts their first job they should see a financial planner. Not only will they get a insurance portfolio that meets their needs they can get help with retirement and investment planning. The adviser should review their situation every year and make adjustments to cover etc as life events unfold. This is the best way to get personal insurance - so if you have a young person starting a new career in your family why not encourage them to start planning for their future now.


Diabetes - Alarming Facts

There is an epidemic of diabetes sweeping our nation and if this was a flu virus people would be demanding the government take immediate action. Diabetes effects 150 million people worldwide.

What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a serious health condition that there is no cure for. If left untreated it may lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation.
There are 3 types of diabetes, Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes.

Type 1
This type of diabetes occurs when the immune system damages the pancras which prevents it form producing insulin. This form of diabetes represents 10-15% of all cases and is the most chronic childhood disease. Typically the onset is abrupt and symptoms are obvious. They can include excessive thirst and urination, unexplained weight loss, weakness and fatigue, muscle cramps, blurred vision, skin infections and some tingling or numbness in feet.

Type 2
This occurs when the pancreas is not producing enough insulin and insulin is not working effectively. It represents 80 - 95% of all cases of diabetes. This type develops in adults over age 45 but is increasingly occuring at a younger age. It is also more prevalent in people with a family history of type 2 diabetes who are from particular ethnic bacckgrounds. Symptoms are very similar to type 1 but some people do not expwerience any symptoms at all and many cases are being discovered by simple screening of blood glucose. Others may suffer a complication such as heart attack. Type 2 can be managed with a healthy lifestyle and regular medical checks. Eventually, however, tablets and or insulin may be needed.

Gestational Diabetes
This type occurs in around 5% of pregnancies. In the majority of women, symptoms disappear after birth. However, this type significantly increases a woman's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Women over 25 who are overweight with a family history of diabetes or women who have had past gestational diabetes are at an increased risk.

Recent research has revealed that one in 3 Australians living with diabetes will be dead by 2018. The number of Australians developing diabetes each year could fill the MCG. In Australia alone the annual cost of diabetes is estimated to be around 6 billion dollars and the rate of increase this means that Australia will not be able to fund the medical costs into the near future.

How can you ease the burden?

First and foremost take care of yourself. If you are overweight then do something about it now. Try starting with some moderate exercise, 30 minutes a day at a moderate pace is a great start. Then look at your diet and this means not just what you are eating but how much too. The best way is to keep a food diary for a week. Write down everything you eat, how much and at what time, sometimes people just don't realise how much they are eating until it is all laid out in front of them. Once you have your food diary completed you will be able to see where you can start to make changes. Swapping biscuits or cake at morning tea with a fruit salad or low fat/low sugar yoghurt. Replacing whitebread with wholemeal or multigrain. When you go shopping read the labels, not only do you want low fat but also low sugar (carbohydrate).

Second of all you can protect yourself and your family from the financial burden by making sure you have adequate medical and personal risk insurance. Trauma insurance covers diabetes and can be used to help offset medical expenses incurred by treatment.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kurt Fearnley - Civic Reception

Newcastle paralympian Kurt Fearnley has just completed the Kokoda Trail which is an amazing accomplishment considering he had to crawl the entire 96 km over the last 11 days.

There will be a featured article in this Saturday's The Herald detailing the monumental effort! Which leads to me to suggesting that Newcastle City Council should host a civic reception and give Kurt the keys to the city.

Surely if we can acknowledge the achievements of our other sporting teams such as the Knights and the Jets we can formally acknowledge this fantastic individual for the courage and determination he has shown.

I would like to urge all who agree with this to contact their local member for council and/or state member or click on the NCC link and leave a comment of support.

Come on Newcastle let's get behind Kurt.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to Reduce Your Insurance Premiums

In these tough economic times many people start cutting back on non essentials. Unfortunately many people consider their personal insurances as being non essential and this could not be further from the truth.

Personal Insurances including life, trauma and income protection insurance provide a safety net for you and your family in times of personal crisis such as suffering a critical illness or injury. Think about it, if you had to stop working tomorrow and couldn't return to work for more than three months, how will you pay your mortgage, your car loans and day to day living expenses? I challange you to sit down and work out just how long you could financially survive!

Many think they will be covered by worker's compensation or sick leave, but what happens if your accident is out of work or you suffer an illness? How long can your boss afford to pay you?

There are many other strategies available to help reduce the cost of insurance. You can now use your superannuation to fund your premiums either from your employer guaranteed contributions or from existing funds in the account. If you make after tax contributions to your super and are entitled to a co contribution from the governement, these can be used together to pay your premiums.

Self employed people can claim a tax deduction by paying through their superannuation and they may be able to claim the government co contribution to help fund the cost of keeping their insurance.

Other ways to reduce the cost include using salary sacrifice through superannuation, approaching your employer to organise some group insurance at your place of work, paying premiums annually instead of monthly and reassessing your level of cover.

Of course you can always shop around and compare prices but not all insurance policies are created equal so it is important to get a licenced adviser to guide you through different products.

The bottom line is that illness and injury happen every day despite the state of the economy. It is important you understand all of your options and get qualified advice. Most advisers will not charge you a fee for this service so it really is important to take advantage of their expertise.

Nobody wants to get sick or injured but we have little control over these events but at least you can take back some control by protecting yourself and your family from the financial strain that often results.


PS. I am more than happy to help anyone who is struggling with paying their insurance to reassess their needs and their options.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Osteoporosis Day

Well Tuesday was World Osteoporosis Day! The day is used to highlight the very real problem of Osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become brittle due to a decrease in bone density. One in three men and one in two women over the age of 60 will get osteoporosis, they are quite staggering statistics and as I am hurtling towards that age group myself I thought I would look into the causes.

Your bone's health depends on a number of factors such as your genes, your level of hormones, your diet and lifestyle. As we get older our hormone levels change and we tend to be less active and often don't eat well because we are on some crazy diet or we just don't have time!

So what can you do to ensure your bones are getting the best chance to last the distance? Check out the Osteoporosis Australia website you'll find lots of information on how to reduce your risks and treatments as well.

Remember you want to enjoy retirement so make sure you take care of those bones now!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Australia's Under Insurance Crisis

Australians are the most under insured nation in the developed world. In fact we place more importance on insuring our cars than on ourselves!

I would like everyone who reads this to ask their partner, parents or children whether they believe your car is more important than you, because in reality that is what the industry figures state.

Can you believe it, that we as a country value the family Holden or Ford etc more than our own physical and financial well being. It seems ridiculous but it is true.

So why do we undervalue ourselves?
My belief is there are many misconceptions about life and income insurance that lead to our complacency about the risks we face throughout life.

1. It won't happen to me
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you are more likely to suffer an accident or sickness that will prevent you from working than ever requiring your home and contents insurance, and all of you will die - it is unavoidable!

2. Insurance is too expensive, I just can't afford it
Insurance can cost from as little as the cost of a cup of coffee a day. Think about all the little incidental purchases you make in a week, it all adds up. The truth is Australian's cannot afford not to have insurance. The cost of under insurance is estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

3. It is too hard
Most Financial Adviser's do not charge you for helping and guiding you through the application process. Yes there are some forms to complete but it never stopped you from applying for a home loan or a car loan, stop being lazy and just get it done - once it is in place you don't need to do it again unless you want to change companies or change how much insurance you have.

4. I have my super and some investments to rely on
Well my answer here is why won't you retire today? You really need to think, if something happens to me tomorrow which bills will stop coming in? If I can't ever work again how will I live for the next 20 - 40 years or maybe even longer?

The truth is you have over a 60% chance of needing your income protection at some stage of life before the age of 65. You cannot support yourself on your savings and assets otherwise you still wouldn't be working now. If you can afford to buy lunch one day a week you can certainly afford to protect yourself.

Most people don't think about personal insurance until they need it and by that time it is usually to late to get it! Don't put it off, just call to speak to an Authorised Financial Adviser and find out just how easy it is!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Here's an uncomfortable question when did you last see your doctor for a prostate exam?

It's incredible how many men put off or just plain refuse to see their doctor about their prostate! Prostate Cancer kills more men in Australia than Breast Cancer kill women and yet we still refuse to talk about it.

Today I found out that one of my staff members has just had a family member diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 39. In her family alone 6 men have been diagnosed with it over the last 10 years and 2 have died.

Guys, this is real - there is no escape from it, you need to start having a PSA test from about the age of 35 if you have a family history and about 45 if not.

The women in our lives go through much worse in order to keep an eye on their health from being probed and squished by all sorts of contraptions. It's just a blood test & could save your life!

So go on what are you, a man or a mouse! Get to your doctor this week and get checked.

Have a good weekend

Thursday, September 3, 2009


  • In Australia the average life expectancy is now 81.4 years.
  • In the last 12 months 116,000 couples were married, but over 47,000 were divorced.
  • 10% of Australian workers are currently unable to work due to a disability or illness.
  • 1 in 5 Australian adults will suffer from mental illness.
  • 7.4 Million Australians are overweight.
  • 100% of Australians will DIE!

I know, it seems like such a morbid thought but like the saying goes "There are only two certainties in life - Death & Taxes". It is funny though that something that is so certain makes us so uncomfortable to discuss with our loved ones, yet we all will have to face our own mortality sooner or later (later I hope)!

Most of us have seen the Will kit ads or the funeral plan and life insurance ads and even ads for the local funeral home. If you are like me they make you feel a little uncomfortable - like it is their personal responsibility to remind us all that death must conquer all. Just as I am getting comfortably deluded that my happy life will go on forever just as it is - proves that insurance salesman are human after all!

Our natural aversion to thinking about our own death often means we a unprepared and leave a mess for our families to deal with after we are gone. This is why it is important to consider Estate Planning.


Estate Planning is planning for the process of passing on our assets and possessions to our beneficiaries and planning for their future with out you. It involves creating a Legal Will that reflects the wishes of how you would like your assets distributed and a Financial Plan that ensures your wishes can be met. If you are a business owner there are a whole lot of other issues that also need to be considered such as succession of the business and how any debts will be paid.


A will is a legal document that sets out who received your assets after you die. It may also include your wishes regarding your funeral arrangements and appoint a guardian for any dependents under 18 years of age left without a parent. Your solicitor can help you draft a legal will and if necessary will work with your financial advisor to make sure the appropriate structures are in place to carry out those wishes.


Have you considered your family's need for immediate funds following your death?

Does your estate have sufficient funds to meet your family's future income needs?

Does your estate have sufficient funds to clear any accrued debts?

Do you need to consider personal risk insurance to fund any short fall in your estate to meet your wishes?

Do you have a current and effective Will?

Have you chosen a responsible and trustworthy executor?

Have you considered the timing of the distribution of funds?

Have you taken steps to minimize the risk of you will being challenged?

Have you appointed guardians for your children?

Have you decided who to grant powers of attorney to?

Have you identified capital gains or any other tax issues?

Have you considered whether certain beneficiaries should receive an income stream as opposed to a lump sum?

Does the trust deed of your superannuation fund pay your beneficiaries a lump sum or a pension?

Do you need to make a binding death nomination to ensure your superannuation benefits pass to your intended beneficiaries?

Have you considered if you want to protect your assets if your spouse remarries after your death?

Have you allocated special bequests for valuable items such as jewellery and family heirlooms?

Have you noted any special arrangements, such as care for a disabled child or a child from a previous relationship?

Have you considered how your business or business partnerships will survive you?

As you can see Estate Planning is much more than just a Will. Most people are suprised by just how long this list is, but it is important to think about all of these things and to seek qualified professional advice from your solicitor and financial planner.

It is unfortunate but many family feuds have started with the death of a loved one who had no estate planning or an inadequate will. If you really love your family then take the time to make plans. Dealing with the death of a loved one is hard enough without all the worry and uncertainty.

Please remember this is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as financial, taxation or legal advice. Before acting on the basis of this information, you should consider the appropriateness to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. I recommend that your obtain qualified legal advice.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Welcome to Wayne's World!

This is very exciting, journeying into the cyber world of blogging and tweeting.....not sure exactly what I am doing yet.

So anyone out there that has any tips or hints for me, would be much appreciated.

Let's hope someone will actually get around to reading this, otherwise it may take sometime for me to figure it out on my own.