‘Danger year’ for financial exposure uncovered

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The average age of taking up trauma insurance protection is 40, according to statistics from life insurer Asteron Life. However, the average age of cancellation or lapse of trauma cover is just four years later at 44.

Asteron Life trauma insurance portfolio statistics from February 2013 show that the average age of Australians being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease is 49.

“Forty-nine is the common age to claim for trauma insurance due to mature onset diseases like cancers, cardiovascular diseases and stroke. However, it’s startling to think that, just a few years prior to that, allowing protection to lapse means many customers may unwittingly leave themselves and their families financially exposed,” says Asteron Life executive manager Mark Vilo.

Vilo says customer education is key, and Jim Minto, managing director of TAL, agrees:

“Tools that don’t attempt to sell a product but that help round out peoples’ information are in short supply and they need to be increased,” says Minto.

“As a result of being better informed many people will go to an adviser, to find out more information, to ask more questions, more details.

“I think at the end of the day, the industry needs to turn the lights on on this one.”

Minto says the industry needs to look at interactive tools to allow people to expand their knowledge online without going through a whole bottom-up analysis. He says that some firms are already doing this, including insurers and super funds, but acknowledges that individual firms might struggle to build these sorts of tools.

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