So what is it that sometimes cuts our lives unexpectedly short? According to mortality statistics1 prepared by the Ministry of Health, the following are the top five causes of death in New Zealand, and the percentage by number of each:

# Cause of Death % Description
1. Diseases of the circulatory system 31.2% Includes heart disease, hypertension and stroke
2. Cancer 30.3% Includes lung, bowel, breast and prostate cancers
3. Diseases of the respiratory system 9.2% Includes emphysema, bronchitis and asthma
4. External causes 6.2% Includes self-harm, motor vehicle accidents and falls
5. Diabetes 2.7% Includes impaired glucose regulation

Note the high percentage occurrence of the top two causes, and the large reduction after that. Together, cardiovascular disease and cancer cause almost two-thirds of deaths in New Zealand.

5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk

Not everything is within your control, but some of the most important risk factors are. You could avoid becoming a claim statistic by modifying things you are able to change. Learn how to reduce your risk in 5 effective ways.

BMI Calculator

BMI means Body Mass Index, and it provides a measure of the proportion of body fat to total body weight. It is an important tool used by health professionals and others in weight management. Use our BMI calculator to learn your own BMI.

HeartScore® Calculator

HeartScore provides an overall measure of cardiovascular health. It does this by combining the absolute and relative risks of experiencing a cardiovascular event in the next 5 years. Calculate your HeartScore now.


If you are a smoker, quitting is the best thing you can do to lower your risks of developing cardiovascular disease and cancer. It is also the most effective way to lower your premiums. Learn more about the benefits of quitting smoking.


  1. Ministry of Health, 2 April 2020. Mortality 2016 Data Tables. Ministry of Health: Wellington.