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Managing Your Policy

Your insurance policy is a valuable document. It’s important to keep it up to date. Below are the 10 most important things that might require your attention from time to time:

Policy Ownership

The ownership of your life insurance policy not only determines the person to whom any benefit is paid, but by law it governs the claims process which must be followed, and therefore the time required to pay a claim.

If your life insurance policy is owned either jointly or solely by another person (such as your partner), then on your death the insured amount is paid directly to the other person, without the need for Probate or Letters of Administration to be granted by the High Court. This is particularly helpful if the primary purpose of your policy is to provide for the financial upkeep of one or more of your dependants.

If, on the other hand, your life insurance policy is owned solely by yourself, then the claim proceeds must be paid to your estate. This cannot occur until the High Court has granted Probate or Letters of Administration, a process which can at times take several months to complete and delay any intended payment to one or more of your dependants. However, it may well be your intention (for whatever reason) that the claim proceeds are to be paid to your estate and therefore disbursed according to the terms of your will.

If you die without leaving a will the claim proceeds may be disbursed in a way that is entirely at odds with what you intended. In the first instance, a grant of Letters of Administration must be made by the High Court to a person who will act as the administrator of your estate. Your estate must then be dealt with in accordance with section 77 of the Administration Act 1969, which distributes your estate according to the family members who survive you. For example, if you have a spouse and children, your estate is disbursed in the following way:

  1. Your personal chattels (as defined in section 2(1) of the Administration Act 1969) pass to your spouse;
  2. The first $155,000 (plus interest) of your estate passes to your spouse;
  3. One-third of the remainder of your estate passes to your spouse, and two-thirds must be held in statutory trust for the benefit of your children.

It is therefore important that the ownership of your policy reflects your intentions as to how any claim proceeds are dealt with, and to whom they are paid. You can change the ownership of your policy at any time by completing a Change of Ownership Form PDF and sending it to us, together with the original policy document.

Contact Details

If your contact details change at any time, then please contact us. The four contact details we need are:

  1. Home address;
  2. Postal address;
  3. Email address; and
  4. Phone number.

Change of Name

If you have changed your name, please complete a Change of Name Declaration Form PDF so we can record that on your policy, and send it to us, together with a copy of one of the following:

  1. Birth Certificate (if reverting to your maiden name); or
  2. Marriage Certificate (if changing to your married name); or
  3. Name Change Certificate (issued by the Department of Internal Affairs).

Annual Review of Cover

Every year, prior to the anniversary date of your policy, you will receive a letter which provides information about your policy. The letter will detail the increase in cover which will automatically occur on and from the anniversary date as a result of the inflation adjustment which is built into your policy.

Each year on the policy anniversary date your cover is increased by the percentage increase in the Consumers Price Index for the year ended on the previous 30 September. This increase in cover is provided to you without any requirement to supply health, occupational or other information. However, if you do not wish the inflation adjustment to be applied, then simply contact us.

Any increase in your cover which occurs as a result of an indexation increase will attract an additional premium at the same rate as the underlying cover.

At policy anniversary time, you should review the amount of cover you have. This only takes a few minutes, and it will ensure that your cover remains up to date and relevant to your circumstances. Ask yourself the following questions.

Since I last reviewed my cover, has there been any significant change in:

  1. My rate of earnings?
  2. The rate of earnings of my partner or spouse?
  3. My borrowings or financial assets?
  4. The number of my dependants?
  5. Any other cover I have?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then use our life insurance calculator to check whether you might need more cover or less.

Also, do you have adequate health, trauma, income protection and permanent disability cover?

Special Events Increases

If any one of six events occurs in your life, then you can apply to increase your cover without providing any health or occupational information. The events are:

  1. Becoming married;
  2. Having a child (by birth or legal adoption);
  3. Taking out or increasing a home loan because you have purchased a new home, a new residential investment property, a vacation home, or a bare block of land zoned as residential;
  4. Financially supporting a dependant child through a first course of full-time tertiary education;
  5. Becoming responsible for the full-time care or payment for long term care of a close relative (as defined);
  6. Becoming divorced.

Learn more about special events increases, and contact us if you would like to increase your cover.

Change of Mode of Payment

You can change your method and frequency of premium payments at any time. The options are:

  1. Direct Debit PDF, for fortnightly, monthly or yearly payments;
  2. Credit Card/Debit Card PDF, for fortnightly, monthly or yearly payments;
  3. Cheque, for annual payments only.

If you would like to change your method or frequency of premium payments, then just complete any required form and notify us.

Change to Non-Smoker Rates

If you are currently paying smoker rates for your policy, and you have quit smoking for at least 12 months, then you can complete a Non-Smoker Declaration PDF and contact us to change your rates to non-smoker rates. The premium difference if you do this is substantial. For example, the premium for a male age 35 with $500,000 in life cover reduces by 49% when changing from smoker to non-smoker rates.

Lost or Destroyed Policy

Your insurance policy is a valuable document. If you have lost or destroyed your policy, you can easily have it replaced. Just complete a Lost or Destroyed Policy Document Form PDF and request us to replace it.

Policy Contract

You insurance policy consists of more than just the policy document. The policy contract consists of the following (and only the following):

  1. The policy document, including the most recent policy schedule and endorsements, and any alterations made to the policy document as permitted under the policy;
  2. The benefit appendix of the policy;
  3. Any application forms and declarations made by you concerning the policy;
  4. All statements which anybody who is insured under the policy has made to Sovereign;
  5. Any provisions which any legislation states must be included in the policy contract, unless those provisions can be contracted out of, in which case they are not included;
  6. The policy illustration enclosed with the policy.

Disclosure of all relevant information at the time at which you apply for your policy, or any increase to it, is very important. If, after you receive your policy, you recall a material fact which you inadvertently failed to mention at the time of application, then just contact us.

Policy Cancellation

If for any reason your circumstances change and you no longer require your policy, then complete a Policy Cancellation Form PDF and request us to cancel your policy.