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What its like to make an insurance claim December 5, 2017

Posted by Meike Suggars in General.
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Do Medicare & Health Insurance fully cover cancer treatment? Not always… December 6, 2016

Posted by Meike Suggars in Personal Insurance, Trauma Insurance.
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Our Medicare system is one of the best public health systems in the world. Combined with health insurance, it means most Australians get the medical treatment they need. But not always.

Medical research is constantly advancing so new drugs are being developed all the time. Imagine if there was a drug available that might help you win your battle against cancer, but it was too new to be funded by the government. Imagine if that meant it would leave you hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket?

This is a possibility, and a reality for some Australians, as this article in the Herald Sun from 2014 explains (also available here in PDF).

There is often a large out of pocket cost for patients who want the best care, even with Medicare and Health Insurance. This gap could be funded by using up your savings, taking out an extra mortgage, borrowing from family or friends, or with a Trauma Insurance payout.

Trauma insurance can give you emergency cash if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness like cancer so you can focus on recovery without worrying about money. 

Talk to your financial adviser or contact Suggars & Associates to find out if you should have Trauma insurance.

What is Trauma Insurance? November 3, 2016

Posted by Meike Suggars in Personal Insurance, Trauma Insurance.
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To put it simply, it’s a lump sum of emergency cash that can be paid if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness so you can focus on recovery without financial worry.

Most trauma policies cover around 40 specific medical conditions. To qualify for a payout, your diagnosis needs to meet the specific medical definition outlined in your policy for one of those conditions. The most common Trauma claims are for cancer and heart attack.

Zurich is one of Australia’s largest retail insurers[1] and in 2015 they paid $33,800,000 in trauma claims. For women, 80% of these were for cancer and 9% for heart attack with cancer accounting for 51% of claims for men and 24% for heart attack[2]. Most other Australian insurers have similar statistics.

Trauma insurance can pay a set amount (the insured benefit). Unlike health insurance which requires you to spend money and then get a rebate, trauma is paid as a lump sum and you can spend it on anything you need to deal with your medical condition. You may be eligible to claim on your trauma as well as your income protection for the same medical condition if it prevents you from working.

You don’t need to be working to apply for trauma insurance. This insurance is available from the age of 16 and your policy can remain in force until you turn 70.

What Conditions are Covered?

So, other than malignant cancer and heart attack what are some of the other conditions that are covered? Most policies also cover:

  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Motor neurone disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Major burns
  • Major head trauma
  • Organ transplant
  • Benign brain tumour
  • Blindness
  • Chronic kidney, liver and lung disease
  • Dementia
  • Advanced diabetes
  • Paraplegia
  • Occupationally or medically acquired HIV

Who should have Trauma Insurance?

If any of the following apply to you, then you could consider trauma insurance:

  • You want the best medical care, regardless of cost or what your health insurance/Medicare covers
  • You want to replace lost income while you’re not working
  • You have school-aged kids and you’re the primary carer
  • Your spouse would want to take time off work to look after you if you were diagnosed with a serious illness
  • You have a mortgage
  • You’re guarantor on someone else’s loan
  • You’re single and are solely responsible for your financial security
  • You’ve got children and would want to take time off work if they became seriously sick or injured

piggy bank.jpg

How much does Trauma Insurance cost?

Your premium is calculated based on your age, gender, whether you smoke and of course the amount of cover and features you want. Your medical history can also impact your premium.

Stepped premiums are cheaper in the short term but increase each year with age and can become expensive when you’re most likely to need protection in your 40s. Level premiums are more expensive in the short term but are generally lower in cost over the long term as they do not increase with age so your policy is more likely to remain affordable as you get older.

The following table gives a guide for illustration purposes (calculated on 20/10/2016 – assumes client has not previously suffered a medical condition or disease).

Non-smoker office worker $100,000 Premier Trauma cover with reinstatement
– stepped premium
Female Male
Age 18 $20-30/m $20-30/m
Age 30 $25-35/m $25-30/m
Age 45 $65-85/m $60-80/m
Age 55 $130-190/m $180-270/m

To find out the best way for you to get trauma cover, speak to a financial adviser as there are different options available from different insurers and some will protect you better than others. They will be able to provide you with a firm premium quote specific to your needs, which may also include other types of insurance such as term life, TPD and income protection.

The information contained in this document is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

[1] Source: https://www.pwc.com.au/publications/assets/insurance-facts-figures-may2016.pdf

[2] Source: https://www.zurich.com.au/content/dam/australia/life_insurance/marketing/Zurich-Australia-facts-about-zurich-claims.pdf

Dreamboard – Greg April 23, 2015

Posted by Meike Suggars in Dreamboard - Client Stories, Income Protection.
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DreamBoard - Suggars & Associates Client Stories

Meet Greg, aged 35 & on income protection claim since November 2014

I can’t recommend Suggars & Associates highly enough. I have had income protection insurance for over 10 years and I’d like to take this opportunity to tell my story.

A little over 6 months ago, I was in a serious motorcycle accident where I was fortunate enough to have only broken my leg. I needed two surgeries and am still in the process of rehabilitation to the point where I can get back to work. My accident could have been much worse and there is so much that I have had to deal with but my finances was not one of them. I hate to think how much additional stress I would have been under if I didn’t have my policy.The peace of mind that came along with the successful claim was more than worth the price I had paid for my policy over the last 10 years.

Not only this but the team at Suggars & Associates have walked me through everything that needed to happen and has continued to support me through the ongoing process.

Again, I would definitely suggest Suggars & Associates. The peace of mind is worth every penny and hopefully you never have to use it.

ASICs Financial Adviser Register April 13, 2015

Posted by Meike Suggars in General.
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In 2015, ASIC launched its Register of licensed Financial Advisers. All financial advisers authorised to give financial advice must add themselves to this register, as a condition of their license to provide financial advice. This measure was a part of the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) regulations the government put in place in 2014.

You can find our listings at https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/investing/financial-advice/financial-advisers-register by entering Suggars into the search field.

Or you can view them (as at 13 April 2015) here:
ASIC Financial Adviser Register – Meike
ASIC Financial Adviser Register – Jeff

Additional information about financial advisers will be added to the Register over the course of 2015 including qualifications, experience and association membership.

Who to call if your wallet is stolen May 23, 2014

Posted by Meike Suggars in General.
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We’ve all heard horror stories of identity fraud and the associated financial loss – the internet makes it so much easier these days! One of the most common events that gets the identity fraud ball rolling, is the loss of your wallet or purse. Think about it – everything about your identity is contained in that little bundle of cards and papers. Your address. Date of birth. Banking details. License and Medicare numbers… It makes the fraudsters task so easy.

Here are a few tips that can help limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

Lost Wallet

Photo: Roland Tanglao

1. Cancel your credit cards immediately, but the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Take a photocopy or scan of the front and back of all your cards and keep the copy where you can find it, and where it’s secure.

2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your wallet/credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a likely first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

3. But here’s what is perhaps most important of all: Call the three national credit reporting organizations – Veda Advantage (previously Baycorp), Dun and Bradstreet and the Tasmanian Collection Service – immediately to place a fraud alert on your Tax File Number, your passport number, and driver’s licence number. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorise new credit. It effectively renders your identity useless to anyone trying to use it for financial gain.

4. Ask for a new license number when you replace your driver’s license. Normally, they just provide you with a new copy of your old license but this means that the stolen copy is still effective as a form of ID for applying for credit. By cancelling your license and issuing you with a new license number, this problem is solved.

Here are some numbers which you might need to contact if your wallet etc. has been stolen :

1. Visa Card Australia – 1800 621 199
2. Visa Card International – 1800 450 346
3. Lost Travelers’ Cheques – 1800 127 477
4. MasterCard Australia – (02) 9466 3700
5. MasterCard International – 1800 120 113
6. Bankcard Australia – (02) 9281 6633
7. Medicare – 132 011
8. Centrelink Fraud – 137 230
9. Seniors Card – 1300 364 758
10. Passport – 131 232
11. ANZ FREECALL – 1800 033 844
12. Bank West – 131 718
13. Citibank – 132 484
14. Tamworth Coles/Myer Source -2340 1300 306 397
15. Commonwealth – 132 221
16. CUSCAL- MyCard 1300 135 538
17. GE Capital – 1300 369 904
18. Members Equity – 1300 654 998
19. National Australia Bank- 132 265
20. St George – 1800 028 208
21. SydneyVirgin – 2000 1800 080 000
22. Westpac – 1800 230 144
23. Woolworths Ezy Banking – 137 288

Feel free to add any other useful numbers in the comments below!

“Insurance semantics misleading clients” March 6, 2014

Posted by Meike Suggars in In the media.
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Meike was featured today, 6/3/2014, in IFA Magazine in an article about Australian’s misunderstanding the insurance they have within their super.

“Poor life insurance terminology by superannuation funds is creating a false impression among clients that they will be covered in the event of an illness, says a risk adviser.

The comments by Suggars & Associates adviser Meike Suggars back up recent Zurich research which show Australians are ‘mis-informed’ about life insurance – and are either uninsured or ‘mis-insured’ as a result.

Ms Suggars said her clients are often misled to believe that the life insurance in their super fund will pay them in the event of illness.

“I think that’s because often a superannuation insurance statement will say that it includes terminal illness,” Ms Suggars said.

“But there is no further explanation in the statement as to what that means,” she said – adding that semantics and terminology are often at the heart of the confusion…”

Meike Suggars in IFA Magazne

IFA Magazine, 6 March 2014

Read full article here.

Increase on complaints for non-payment of life insurance by super funds March 5, 2014

Posted by Meike Suggars in Disability Insurance (TPD), Life Insurance, Personal Insurance, Superannuation.
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Life insurance payouts refused by super funds

As reported in Herald Sun 1 March 2014


Download the article here: Herald Sun article Super Headache dated 1 March 2014

“‘Cheap shot’ at upfront commission” November 27, 2013

Posted by Meike Suggars in In the media.
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Meike was quoted today, 27/11/2013, in Wealth Professional in an article about insurer sustainability and commissions.

Ever-savvy customers are shopping around for the best life insurance deals and advisers are getting “blamed” for being greedy with upfront commissions.

Last week, Suncorp managing director Patrick Snowball told a business lunch in Sydney that adviser business models have become reliant on high upfront commissions and this is unsustainable.

But Suggars & Associates risk adviser Meike Suggars, who has been in the risk industry for four years, told Wealth Professional if she had not been able to take upfront commissions she would not have been able to start up her business.

She disagrees upfront commissions are too high, and says although it is easy to blame advisers, the issue of insurance sustainability is much bigger than just commissions…”

Meike Suggars discusses commissions

Wealth Professional, 27 November 2013

Read full article here.

“Australian adviser shows skills in Nepal” September 26, 2013

Posted by Meike Suggars in In the media.
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Meike was featured today, 26/9/13, in Wealth Professional, in a story covering her recent holiday and volunteer work in Nepal.

“Sometimes when you get a bit fed up with the system at home, it pays to take a look further afield to reposition your perspective.

Risk specialist Meike Suggars learnt that lesson this year. Suggars is an authorised rep for Synchron, and partner at Suggars Associates with her father Jeff Suggars. She joined the business in 2009, following seven years in marketing, as part of her dad’s succession plan. However, before taking over the business completely, Suggars thought she would see a bit of the world….”

Meike in the Media - "Australian Adviser shows skills in Nepal" Wealth Professional 26 Sept 2013

Wealth Professional, 26 September 2013

This article also featured on www.southasiarevealed.com