The Importance Of Health Insurance

There's no question that insurance matters. Regardless of what industry one works in, having even basic insurance cover helps protect against those unexpected things that happen in life. However, with the bigger wages and salaries typically offered in mining jobs, it means mining employees may also have more to lose financially. Not only is there potential loss of income for those high wages and salaries to consider but there's also often a higher standard of living involved as well. That may mean paying more for insurance to cover not only loss of those earnings but also to protect that standard of living. 

Mining is a dangerous industry and although mining companies are constantly improving their workplace safety standards, accidents resulting in death or permanent disability can and do happen. Mining companies carry their own public liability and workers compensation insurance that cover employees injured whilst on duty but those will only cover so much. Mining employees therefore should also ensure they're adequately covered by their own health insurance policies.

There are 3 types of insurance experts recommend for mining employees and their families. 

Life Insurance With Total And Permanent Disablement Cover

Top of the list is a life insurance bundle that includes total and permanent disablement cover​.

A life insurance policy will cover the death of the insured person and pay out to the beneficiaries named in the policy. Total and permanent disablement (TPD) cover is designed to cover the insured person should he or she suffer an injury or illness that renders them permanently incapable of ever working again in an occupation for which they have the training and experience. 

Benefits of having TPD cover include being able to:

  • Pay for specialist care and any treatments associated with the injury or illness
  • Pay for any lifestyle changes required (installation of wheelchair facilities etc)
  • Pay any debts, including any incurred medical bills

Income Protection​

The second type of insurance cover experts often recommend mining employees consider taking out is income protection cover or salary continuance benefits. This type of insurance policy is designed to cover up to 75% of the insured person's salary or wage whilst they're undergoing medical treatment for injury or illness that causes them temporary total disablement. Typically, it will cover them until they're medically cleared to return to work.

Reasons for having income protection cover include:

  • Protects ability to earn an income
  • Provides an income stream whilst being unable to work
  • Will cover both short and long term disablement
  • It's often easier to claim income protection than TPD because the insured doesn't have to prove they're permanent disabled.

If taking out income protection cover, ask the insurer if the policy is guaranteed renewable. If it isn't the insurer can cancel it at their discretion and it may prove difficult to find out similar cover.

TPD And Income Protection – What's The Difference And Why Have Both?

The advantage in having both is that TPD will pay out in a lump sum once it's medically confirmed the insured person will never work again whilst income protection pays out monthly whilst the insured is unable to work. Another question people often ask about these 2 types of cover is whether they can claim both at the same time. The answer according to insurance lawyers is that in most (but not all) circumstances you can. However, it also depends on the insurance company, and the policy in question so always clarify things with the insurance company first.

Trauma Cover

The third type of insurance to consider is trauma or critical illness cover (it may also be called 'recovery' insurance). This is a reasonably new type of policy. It pays out in a lump sum once the insured person has received a diagnosis of a typically non-fatal but nonetheless severely debilitating trauma or critical illness. The illnesses covered by the policy will be listed in the fine print and generally includes some or all of the following: 

  • Alzheimer's Disease/Severe Dementia
  • Angioplasty & invasive Coronary Artery treatments
  • Aortic surgery
  • Aplastic Anaemia
  • Bacterial Meningitis
  • Benign brain tumour
  • Blindness
  • Burns
  • Cancer
  • Coma
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Deafness
  • End Stage Liver Failure
  • End Stage Lung Disease
  • Fulminant Hepatitis
  • Heart attack
  • Heart Valve Surgery
  • HIV Due to Blood Transfusion and Occupationally Acquired HIV
  • Kidney failure
  • Loss of independent existence
  • Loss of speech
  • Major organ failure on waiting list
  • Major Organ/Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Motor Neurone Disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Paralysis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Terminal Illness
  • Viral Encephalitis

How much should a good trauma cover be taken out for?

Most insurers who provide this type of policy recommend ensuring that it will cover 2 years of mortgage payments and allows for around $5,000 in medical expenses that aren't covered by a regular health insurance policy. 

What's the difference between trauma cover and TPD insurance?

Trauma cover pays out when the insured receives a medical diagnosis of a critical illness. It's intended to help cover medical expenses incurred by the illness and other significant expenses that may suffer whilst the insured is ill. TPD insurance only pays out when or if there is a diagnosis of permanent disablement that prevents the insured from ever working again in jobs for which they're qualified or have experience.

And the difference between trauma cover and income protection? Trauma cover, as mentioned above, is paid out when the illness is diagnosed BUT there is no requirement that the insured be unable to work. Income protection is only paid out if the insured is unable to work for a specified period of time.

Insurance experts say that typically, someone who has long-term commitments such as a mortgage or other debt, or a family, or who wants to protect their quality of life, may consider life insurance plus the others. Single people with no long-term commitments may not require the level of cover life insurance provides but at the very least may consider income protection and trauma cover. Both are designed to cover the insured whilst they're recovering whereas life insurance and life insurance bundles are intended to take care of the insured's long-term responsibilities in the event of their death or permanent disablement.

What to look for in an insurance company

This is where researching insurance providers is important. The insurance company should be big enough to be able to pay any claims and should have a reputation for paying promptly. If you're sick or injured and unable to work, the last thing you need is an insurance company messing you around and delaying your payments. Especially considering that by the time you may need to claim you'll have probably paid them a small fortune in premiums!

You'll find a lot of 3rd party information about insurance companies online these days in the form of unbiased reviews and feedback from current and previous clients. If you find that an insurer has a ton of negative feedback such as payment delays, constantly disputes claims, is difficult to deal with etc you're probably wise to give them a miss.

Disclaimer: 

This article simply provides an overview of the types of insurance cover available that may be applicable for people involved in mining and is not intended to provide advice around obtaining insurance.  For actual insurance requirements it's always best to speak to a qualified insurance professional.
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Friday, 19 July 2019
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