Survey shows NZers keen for income protection insurance

ROB STOCK
Last updated 05:00 18/11/2012

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A survey by insurer Asteron has found that a quarter of New Zealanders say they are now more likely to take out insurance to protect their income following the earthquakes in Christchurch.

Asteron says the survey result is being reflected in an uptick in income protection policy sales though nationally, statistics from the Financial Services Council (FSC) show little such movement.

The FSC figures do not yet include Partners Life, but they show a rise in the annual premiums being paid on income protection policies from $250 million at the end of March 2011, immediately after the devastating February 22 earthquake, to $263.2m at the end of June 2012.

The majority of that rise comes from $12.8m in "contractual" premiums increases such as inflation-indexing.

The survey by AC Nielson of 700 New Zealanders is heartening says Asteron, as this country has relative underinsurance compared to other OECD countries, especially as the response to the earthquakes was strongest among younger people.

"The survey overall shows a significant opportunity to increase the country's level of insurance. However, there are still real concerns that the majority of New Zealanders do not own any form of life or income protection cover." Asteron's executive manager of claims and underwriting Nadine Tereora said: "We are more likely to insure our physical assets such as house and car than ourselves, putting us and our family's financial security at significant risk in the event of a crisis."

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