Generally, for the consumer more variety and potential options for any service or product is a good thing. But with anything new it is always sensible to check in to it closely to make sure it is something worth considering. We have all heard of Cigna Funeral Cover and the AA Life Funeral Plan etc just because they have been around for a long while, but what of new names that suddenly appear that you have never heard of?
As insurance advisors we are naturally cautious of recommending insurers who have no history in New Zealand. We want to make sure you can be confident the insurer will be around when you need it, at claim time. With no evidence to support a new player we take a safety first approach.
So, if you see a funeral plan insurer you have not heard of before we do suggest a few checks. For example one recent player touting for business is registered in Asia and another has all its calls answered, and made, from Australia. So, ask where your money is going, where is their NZ office, will you deal with a NZ office when making a change or when your beneficiary needs to make a claim. All are simple things worth doing.
Also check their financial ratings; can they pay your claim? Who are they financially backed by or reinsured by? (Some not so well known names are actually fronting for bigger insurers like AIA or Fidelity Life). You can even google them and see what comes up, maybe all you see is negative feedback or lot of compliments?
In New Zealand, when it comes to funeral insurance the names who have been around for a while and who are likely to be trustworthy and around when you need them include; Cigna Life, AA Life, Pinnacle Life, Partners Life, Fidelity Life, State Insurance and AMI Insurance. This list is not exhaustive and other insurers are likely to be just as good but maybe not so well known as yet.
So, if you are looking at funeral insurance and a name pops up that is unfamiliar then make some good enquiries about them before placing your important business with them. With insurance often your best options are the tried and tested ones.
Paul Woollams, Funeral Insurance NZ