Product of max newyork life insurance. Financial product: Southern Cross life insurance,

Life insurance from Southern Cross Product of life insurance.

Southern Cross is the country's largest health insurer by a country mile, but is has been expanding its portfolio of other insurances it sells to people.

As well as its health insurance policies, parts of the group sell travel insurance, critical care insurance, pet insurance, and now life insurance.

It's head of product Chris Watney says it is a natural extension for the group, which is a not-for-profit owned by its members.

The insurance is actually provided by Cogna, a separate company. This is important to understand. Southern Cross is merely a marketer of the policies, and does not guarantee Cigna, and makes it clear it can't be held liable if Cigna doesn't pay a claim. Southern Cross earns commission off every sale.

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There are no shortage of people and organisations selling life insurance, and most of the policies are similar, though as any insurance adviser will tell you, there can be differences that may be the difference between a claim being paid or not.

The biggest risk of buying life insurance is failing to provide the insurer with all the information it needs to price a policy for you.

Failure to tell it something material can lead to it declining a claim, which could leave a policyholders' dependents in penuary.

Now, Southern Cross may know a lot about you from your claims history, but it is not the underwriter, and people applying for insurance must not assume Cigna knows.

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Cigna knows only what each applicant tells it.

At claims time, however, it will get poilcyholder's medical files, and if it finds non-disclosures, then it may not pay the claim.

Southern Cross is specialising in selling life insurance online- a model that has proven very successful for travel insurance. The highest level of cover it will provide is $1million.

 Customers in "good health" will be eligible for a 10 per cent "healthy living discount" and if people have a health insurance policy with Southern Cross, they'll get another 10 per cent off.

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Another seller of life insurance doesn't change much, but it does broaden access, and make buyign life insurance easier. People need to think carefully about how much life insurance they need, and whether they are covered for other big risks covered by things like trauma and income protection insurance.

Southern Cross is a retailer of insurance, not an adviser, so the onus is on the DIY insurance-buyer to do their homework on what risks they need to cover.

Posted by at 11:01PM

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