A message from MBS insurance regarding the impact of COVID-19.

A message from MBS insurance regarding the impact of COVID-19.

“We have received some enquiries from our clients around the impact of Coronavirus. There are no exclusions to Life Insurance, TPD, Trauma or Income Protection that would prevent payment of a claim related to a Coronavirus for existing retail insurance policy holders.

We have seen and received announcements confirming this for policy holders of AMP, MLC, BT, AIA, CommInsure, OnePath, Zurich, Clearview, TAL and Asteron. Nick Kirwan, Senior Policy Manager at the Financial Services Council stated on the FSC website that no-one should be concerned about their existing life insurance policies.

We are aware of some Industry or Corporate Super Fund policies that do exclude pandemics and/or epidemics. If you or a family member have one of these policies, please reach out to your Adviser.

As is always the case, we are driven to provide protection at a time of need and deliver better outcomes for our clients. If you experience any downtime, it may be the ideal opportunity to have your insurance portfolio reviewed.  If you wish to speak with your Adviser, it will be more efficient to email them directly or at enquiries@mbsinsurance.com.au.

Our team has been set up to work from home, so the business will continue as usual however limited staff members will be answering phones.”

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‘Lifestyle assets’ – the next ATO target

‘Lifestyle assets’ – the next ATO target

As the ATO cracks down on taxpayers with their recent data matching program rollout,  this will now allow the matching of “lifestyle assets” such as yachts, fine arts and thoroughbred horses by requesting insurance policy information from 30 insurers which will assist to automate compliance activity.  The existence of an insurance policy could alert the ATO of the taxpayer’s wealth and identify where the taxpayer has non disclosure their all their assets.   

The ATO expect 350,000 taxpayers to be impacted by this review as they reveal undisclosed or unreported income from the 2015-16 financial year to today. Deputy Commissioner Deborah Jenkins says, “If a taxpayer is reporting a taxable income of $70,000 to us but we know they own a three million dollar yacht then this is likely to raise some red flags,” Deputy Commissioner Deborah Jenkins said. 

The ATO is looking for: 

  • under-reporting of income and mismatches between lifestyle assets and reported income,  
  • the purchase of assets in a company name but where those assets are used for private purposes (incorrect claims or non-reporting of GST credits, FBT, Division 7A, capital gains tax), and
  • lifestyle assets purchased by self-managed superannuation funds that might breach the sole purpose test. 

Unsure what that may mean for you and need some advice? Get in touch today 02 9415 1511 or email reception@primeadvisory.com.au. 

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Agreed value income protection to be a thing of the past…

Agreed value income protection to be a thing of the past…

Are you currently or moving towards self-employment? Do you receive a base salary but have fluctuating income with bonuses and commission? – this is a MUST read.

Recently, APRA has imposed sustainability measures on the life insurance industry with a particular focus on the income protection product due to significant industry wide losses over recent years. As of April 1, 2020, new ‘agreed value’ income protection policies will no longer be available in the market. This has significant ramifications for those who are self-employed or who are likely to become self-employed in the future, as well as those who have significant bonus portions to their income.  Given its pertinence for many in our client base, we wanted to reach out to you to ensure that, at the very least, you understand these implications and ensure that any existing policies are reviewed or that you look to implement cover that will protect you in the long term.

What is the difference between agreed and indemnity? 
To give you some context, there are 2 types of income protection policies – ‘agreed value’ and indemnity – and there is one fundamental difference.

Agreed value contracts are offered by insurers having seen a client’s recent history of earnings at the time of application and they ‘agree’ that they will offer a certain sum insured based on those earnings.  In practice this means that in almost every instance, whatever the client earns in the future is irrelevant as the insurance policy will pay out whatever sum is in place at the time of a claim regardless of their earnings at that time.

An indemnity contract on the other hand does not require financials upfront but whenever a client goes to claim on that policy, they need to produce evidence of their recent earnings to justify the level of cover they have in place and are indeed paying for.

Indemnity contracts may be perfectly reasonable for PAYG employees with steady (and generally increasing) incomes but self-employed clients with potentially fluctuant incomes from year to year typically want the certainty that what they’re paying for is going to be received at claim time when and if they need it.  They do not want to be exposed to the scenario where they have a period (before claiming) where they’re working a little less, have taken some time off or have just had a leaner period of earnings and for that to form the basis for an insurers payout figure.  Moreover, many of our clients have ‘level premium’ policies in place for sustainable premiums and long term savings and the certainty of an agreed value contract over that time is extremely comforting.

What now?
For the reasons cited above, we believe that it’s important that you are made aware of this imminent development and have a chance to make any necessary changes to existing cover or implement new cover if nothing is in place.  Also, be aware that any ‘agreed value’ policies in place before April 1 of this year will remain in place and can be amended in any way moving forward. If would like your cover reviewed, please give us a call 9415 1511 to have one of our insurance experts give you a complimentary review, or email us.

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Why Your Insurance Premiums Could Skyrocket!

Why Your Insurance Premiums Could Skyrocket!

As you may be aware, from 1 July 2019, new ‘Protecting Your Super’ laws came into effect. They were brought in to ensure that super account balances are not being unnecessarily eroded by fees and insurance premiums, particularly for accounts that have a low balance or have been inactive for a certain period. One of these measures relates to automatic cancellation of insurance cover for inactive super accounts and this is triggered if there have been no contributions for 16 consecutive months unless the member ‘opts in’ to keep the insurance.  Forefront in the government’s mind in making these changes were younger people who had yet to consolidate several superfunds opened during their fledgling careers and who also potentially were less likely to require insurance cover at that time.

These changes will have enormous flow on effects for the premiums of those with insurances remaining within the superfund environment. Insurance, fundamentally, is a risk pool – a large group of individuals that allows the higher costs of the less healthy to be subsidised by the relatively lesser costs of the healthy. This fundamental principle will be impacted greatly by these sweeping super laws. As mentioned earlier, a significant proportion of the automatic cancellations will be those younger people who hadn’t consolidated multiple funds. These premiums represent a significant chunk of the healthy ‘subsidisers’ and that means that superfunds will be forced to increase premiums to ensure that their total book remains viable.

We are already seeing corporate, retail and industry superfunds make substantial increases to premiums – see the example below from an industry fund,

 

Cover Type Payout Amount Premium p.a. now Premium p.a.  after 1st August 2019 % increase
Life Cover $2,068,438 $1,551.33 $2,876.16 85%
Total & Permanent Disability $2,068,438 $1,572.01 $3,366.18 114%

 

The great concern is that for many people, insurance inside super remains out of sight and mind. These increases to insurance premiums must be duly considered and can no longer be ignored. MBS Insurance are our in-house insurance broking division and have access to every insurer in the market. We encourage all clients to conduct a review of their existing cover to ensure that it is both competitive and appropriate to their circumstances.

Simply send your PrimeAdvisory Accountant or Financial Advisor a copy of your latest super statement for MBS Insurance  to provide a one-page review for your peace of mind.

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Trauma Insurance: a small outlay for a lot of peace of mind

Trauma Insurance: a small outlay for a lot of peace of mind

Trauma insurance is often labelled the middle child of the personal insurance family. It’s overshadowed by its better-known siblings but it’s a quiet achiever that will do the heavy lifting when the circumstances require it.

Read the full article

 

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