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.