Uplink ALPA - The Voice of Aviation

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter.

Strong uptake of Group Disability Insurance by NZALPA members

Ensuring family members and financial responsibilities are protected from the impact of an unintended sickness or accident is an important decision.

NZALPA has worked closely with Apex Insurance Brokers to negotiate a Group Disability Insurance (GDI) scheme to provide cover for members who have lost their Medical Certificate due to sickness or injury. It has been developed specifically for NZALPA members to reflect unique industry conditions and circumstances, at competitive rates.

With the recent departure of Ross Cammell from his role as trustee, the GDI programme is looking for a third person to join current NZALPA-appointed trustees – Herwin Bongers and Peter Mouat.

Apex Managing Director James McGhie says GDI is well received  by participating members and there has been a strong uptake of people signing up to the scheme.

“There is at least a 50 percent uptake among NZALPA members and at any one time there is between six and 10 people on a claim. It is a vast scheme that is recognised as an important tool for protecting income if the unforeseen happens,” McGhie said.

“Members who have had to go on claim report that it removed the anxiety associated with income loss, and allowed time to develop a plan while still being able to pay the mortgage and protect their family’s future with the support of NZALPA behind them.”

There are a few key considerations that should to be taken into account to ensure members make the most of the policy.

“Choosing the correct benefit level is important, as the maximum amount permitted under the GDI plan is 90 percent of your net income,” McGhie said. “Annual reassessment of protection needs will also ensure inflation and rising costs are not eroding the value of your benefit levels.”

The benefit period is for a maximum of two years, and members can elect a stand-down period of between 30 and 730 days (two years). The plan provides wide flexibility to choose a qualifiying period that meets individual needs.

There is also an added advantage for members that sign up to NZALPA’s Mutual Benefit Fund (MBF), as well as GDI, to make the most of their disability insurances. Members of both schemes can reduce their GDI premiums should they choose to utilise the longer two-year qualifying period. Rather than using GDI for the short term after disability or illness, it is utilised later in the process if the Medical Certificate cannot be regained. Members should discuss this with the insurer or their financial adviser if they wish to explore this further.

The most important thing to remember is that disability, accident and sickness does happen and generally when people least expect it,” McGhie said.

“Many still take the attitude of ‘it wont happen to me’. However those who have found themselves grounded after losing their Medical Certificate soon realise that joining GDI is a small price to pay.”

BY THE NUMBERS

The GDI scheme statistics now show, as at 15 June 2017:

Year 2014-2015

  • 8 claims reported
  • Payments made year to date: $124,060.53
  • 1 current claim
  • 1 member died
  • 6 licences returned
  • Nil waiting on their stand down period
  • Estimate for claims and reserves: $160,000, should no more claims be reported

Year 2015-2016

  • 16 claims reported
  • Payments made year to date: $242,049.66
  • 2 current claims
  • 6 licences returned prior to the full benefit being completed
  • 7 licences returned prior to completing the stand down period, no payments were made
  • 1 member retired prior to the full benefit being completed
  • Nil waiting on stand down period
  • Estimate for claims and reserves: $470,000

Year 2016-2017 (so far)

  • 7 claims reported
  • 4 licences returned
  • 1 current claim
  • 2 claims on various stand down periods
  • Early claims estimate: $500,000

Please note the statistics above are still being gathered as claims may still be reported in all years due to the high stand-down period (up to 730 days).

  • If you are interested in becoming a Group Disability Insurance trustee, contact reception@nzalpa.org.nz for more details.

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