The Value of Life Insurance?


This morning I received an email from Pinnacle Life about their critical illness policy rejecting my application. Based on their defining critical illness in the following:

critical illness definition is a lump sum payment if the insured person suffers any one of these critical illnesses or conditions for the first time

Pinnacle Life

I applied for the critical illness cover as part of a life insurance policy with Pinnacle Life. Unfortunately, with ongoing cardiac problems, since 2009, none of what is defined in their policy is considered a first time. After talking with a Pinnacle Life representative clarifying what the policy definitions mean I understood the outcome in my email. I was expecting this outcome, nonetheless. I had gone through this process with other insurance companies in similar circumstances. The difference since my last enquiry with an insurance company, 5 years ago, my health has improved since then.

Respectively insurance companies can only make their assessment upon the information presented to them by our GP and medical practitioner. What they don’t see is the improvements to my health since 2009. And the bigger picture beyond the clinical notes and information from health consultants used by insurance companies. That is by no means an indication and measurement of my holistic wellbeing.

Isn’t it Ironic?

Sadly though, it is ironic that we work all our lives to pay into an insurance policy. Only to be devalued and told we have no value to the insurance companies. Our money is only worth as far as we can prove how healthy we are. Where we were once considered an investment possibility to becoming a high-risk liability. What is even more disheartening is that we allow insurance companies to measure our sense of worth in life. How does one measure our sense of worth and value based on insurance companies’ policies and checkboxes?

My email was reminiscent of other insurance companies with the same response as Pinnacle Life. The difference was Pinnacle Life was recommended by another insurance company. But then again based on their policy definitions and fine print the outcome was no different to other companies. It almost felt like my life was only a check box from these insurance companies. But then again that’s how insurance policies work.

Knowing Your Value

When I think about it, no insurance company can put a value on what I feel and experience in life. How does one measure our love for others and self-worth and turn that into a policy? One day we may wake feeling like a million dollars. Everything is fine and going your way. And then insurance companies say: “well, no, according to our structure and checkbox, you are not valued”.

I’m reminded of two experiences I had with insurance companies. When my mother turned 65 years old, she was bombarded by insurance companies seeking her patronage. Why? because her retirement became a breeding ground for insurance companies trying to exploit the elderly. My mother questioned and asked why they are calling her when she never heard from them prior to turning 65. Her superannuation income became the cue for insurance companies to call and sell their services to her. She turned them down because she already had a life insurance policy coverage.

The second experience I had was with my personal bank ‘Kiwi bank’. They also rejected my application back in 2017 for similar reasons around my health. The response from the bank’s representative gave me a very rude and judgemental response to my application. I understood that I didn’t meet their criteria due to my health issues. But it felt like I was just another statistic less worthy of their business. I never forgot their response and the attitude behind their response. To this day I am seriously thinking of changing my banking system taking my services elsewhere.

Where to now?

So where to from here? I’ve dedicated myself to doing more research looking at community-based life insurance systems that better suits my needs. I’m going to research how other Māori insurance-related providers might have a system that speaks my reality and needs around my health and ethnicity. I’m going to blog more about the entire process. In this blog, I wanted to reflect upon how we determine life’s value in juxtaposition to other determining factors. Whilst looking at what are the indicators that determine that method of measurement particularly with insurance companies. So, watch this space.


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"Get Your Talk On" is a platform to encourage discussion, networking, among LGBTQIA+ people.

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