Things to Check When Comparing New Zealand Insurance Providers
When shopping for insurance cover, many people are quick to compare quotes on the price of the policy alone. This is not the best practice. It is crucially important to compare the quality of service, financial health and reputation of an insurance provider as well.
In this section, you will learn how to identify a quality insurance provider, what questions to ask and how to find an insurance company rating. When purchasing insurance, there are more things to consider than just price. Policy, insurance company rating, claim history and customer service quality all need to be considered.
- Check to see whether the insurance company is registered with a professional organisation or industry council. New Zealand has three such bodies, two being the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) and the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman (ISO). For insurance brokers or insurance advisors, there is the Insurance Brokers Association of New Zealand (IBANC). You can find out more on these organisations by visiting our insurance watchdogs section.
- Ask friends and family what insurance company provides their policies and whether or not they are satisfied. This is a great way to find out which insurance companies are poor at processing claims.
- Ask your professional advisors, lawyers or accountant friends who they would recommend. Given their experience and contacts, they usually know of the best insurance companies.
- Make a note of how knowledgeable the insurance representative is. How friendly are they? Ask them to explain their claim process and how they handle any problems.
- Look for insurance companies that go the extra mile. Do they have an informative website? Is it easy for customers to navigate and find information? Do they offer other services that make it easier for customers by providing live online consultants to answer your questions? This demonstrates that the insurance company is prepared to go that extra mile for their customers.
- Check the credit rating of the insurance company. The insurance companies (Rating and inspections) Act 1994 requires all insurers selling general or disaster insurance to:
- Obtain a rating from an approved rating agency
- Register their rating with the registrar of companies
- Disclose their rating when entering or renewing a contract of insurance.
Insurance companies that require a rating under this Act must have a current rating at all times — and they must renew their rating annually. These annual ratings are registered at the companies’ office.
There are three agencies that can award the ratings:
- Standard & Poor’s
- A M Best
- Fitch Ratings
This insurance rating assesses the insurance companies ability to pay out on present and future claims. The ratings are represented by a letter, number and/or symbol. An insurance company’s rating can generally be found in its written disclosure.
|AA-||(Very Strong)||BB+||(Marginal)||CCC||(Very Weak)|
|B++||(Very Good)||C+||(Marginal)||F||(In Liquidation)|