There’s lots of myths floating around about mental health and life insurance. Whether you’ve heard on the grapevine that you shouldn’t tell your insurer about mental health issues when you apply, or if you’re avoiding putting in that claim because you don’t think your insurer will help, we’re here to separate fact from fiction.
The truth is that Chubb Life is here to support our customers when the unexpected happens, and that includes supporting the one in six New Zealanders diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime. Keep reading for more on how Chubb Life protects real customers struggling with mental illness.
One of the biggest myths around mental health is that insurance companies won’t cover mental health issues, or won’t approve your application for cover, if you have a history of mental illness. That couldn’t be further from the truth. At Chubb Life, mental health issues are one of the most common reasons we pay our customers’ claims.
While we can’t speak for all insurance providers, we can bust a few myths when it comes to how we respond to mental health issues here at Chubb Life. We’ll also explain why you might want cover, what sort of cover you might be able to get, and share a few real-life examples about the difference insurance can make.
We’ll focus on our Assurance Extra product range, which has seven different benefits to mix and match to suit your individual needs. Don’t worry if you’re not yet sure what kind of cover you need, our Insurance Advisers are trained to work with customers to provide personalised recommendations.
As we touched on earlier, mental health challenges are really common, with one in one in five New Zealanders experiencing at mild or more severe symptoms of depression and anxiety. Mental illness can have a really big impact on people’s lives and even abilities to work and earn an income.
For customers experiencing mental health challenges, insurance can play a big role in getting the support you need. If you’re unable to work, the right insurance can relieve the financial pressure on you and your loved ones and give you space to focus on your recovery.
We can help you get a diagnosis, and fund sessions with psychiatrists and psychologists to identify the cause of your condition and create a rehabilitation and treatment plan for the best outcome for you and your health.
But it’s not just about the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. When you’re fit and healthy with the right protection in place, you can be confident that should the unexpected happen, Chubb Life will be by your side with financial support. With one big worry taken off your plate, you can focus on maintaining your physical, mental and social wellbeing and enjoying life on your terms.
Reason for claim: Anxiety and depression
Benefit claimed on: Income Cover
Cover level $4,000 each month for up to two years
What happened: After Sarah’s (39) anxiety and depression stopped her from being able to work as a self-employed business owner, she put in a claim on her Assurance Extra income cover.
How Chubb Life helped: While she was off work, Chubb Life paid Sarah $4,000 each month which she could use however she needed – on any debt, household or business expenses.
Chubb Life also paid for a psychiatric assessment to confirm the diagnosis and discover the cause of the condition. The psychiatrist created a treatment plan to help her get back on her feet. Chubb Life also paid for 12 sessions with a Clinical Psychologist, which was partially covered by the Client Membership Benefits allowance of up to $1,000 each year.
The outcome: Sarah was able to gradually begin to return to work.
* Name has been changed
Just like physical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, mental health conditions can affect your long-term risk of something going wrong.
If you have a history of mental health symptoms or a diagnosed illness, your life insurance company will ask questions about your diagnosis, what sort of treatment you've received, and how long you’ve had symptoms.
Once your insurer has all the information they need about your medical history (mental and physical health), they’ll talk to you about what sort of cover they can offer. This could be:
As we touched on above, if you have a history of mental health issues and aren’t honest or leave out important information when you apply for cover, this could affect your ability to claim.
Another reason an insurer could decline your claim is if you didn’t meet the claim criteria. For example with an Income Protection benefit, you can claim if a physical or mental health condition makes you unable to work. If a mental illness affects your life but isn’t severe enough to stop you from working, you won’t be able to make a claim. That same criteria would still apply for a physical health condition like a broken leg.
Some policies also have some specific exclusions, for example Chubb Life’s Income Protection benefit has an exclusion against intentional self-harm. This means if the reason you can’t work is because you deliberately injured yourself, you won’t be able to claim – even if the reason you self-harmed was related to a mental health issue.
According to the Ministry of Health one in three adults in New Zealand have a moderate or high risk of problematic substance use. At Chubb Life, we cover customers if their alcohol dependency prevents them from being able to work – although we don’t cover alcohol-related injuries.
Reason for claim: Alcohol dependency
Benefit claimed on: Total Temporary Disability
Cover level $4,000 each month for up to two years
What happened: Tom* (37) was diagnosed with alcohol dependency which left him medically unable to continue working as a plumber.
How Chubb Life helped: For two years while Tom was unable to work, Chubb Life paid the family $4,000 each month to cover Tom’s lost income.
The outcome: Tom and his wife Hannah* used the payments to cover the mortgage and household bills. This made a real difference as Hannah was on a reduced income as she was on maternity leave, looking after their new baby.
* Names have been changed
Each Assurance Extra benefit covers a specific risk to your financial future. Some of these benefits include cover for mental illness, but other benefits don’t (like our Redundancy or Specific Injury benefits). Here’s how the different benefits can work together to protect against the unexpected, for both your physical and mental health.
While not strictly thought of as mental illness, in many cases trauma and grief have a big impact on mental wellbeing. Sometimes we just need a little extra support going through life’s big changes, like losing a loved one, changing careers, going through a major illness or even positive milestones like getting married, buying property or welcoming new family members into the world.
With our Assurance Extra policy you and your dependent children have access our Client Benefits programme. There’s no cost to you, and you can claim up to $1,000 every year on mental health counselling, grief counselling, budgeting advice, legal advice, wellness advice and career counselling. Going through change can be tough, but the right support can make all the difference.
Accessing Client Benefits is easy – reach out to your Chubb Life Adviser and we’ll take care of the rest.
Discussing your mental health can feel like a big step, but at Chubb Life we want to make sure that you can access the support you need with a life insurance policy that’s tailored to you.
Our team are trained and here to make things easy for you every step of the way, whether that’s asking about your medical and lifestyle history as part of the application, or guiding you through the claim process. We’re here to help.
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