In the Spotlight... Anthony Brown from NobleOak

When we conducted our 2019 Mozo Experts Choice Life Insurance Awards, we knew we were dealing with something that can have a big impact on Aussies budgets, peace of mind and lifestyle. We take all our Awards calculations seriously, but if there's one category we really double check our figures on, it's this - after all, it’s a life or death matter.

So, when NobleOak was crowned 2019 Mozo Experts Choice Life Insurer of the Year, we took the opportunity to chat with NobleOak CEO Anthony Brown about why finding the right life insurance is so important and why Aussies should be paying attention.

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By Kelly Emmerton· Wednesday 11 September 2019

A more noble approach to life insurance

NobleOak has a history spanning back more than 140 years and was first established as the ‘United Ancient Order of Druids Friendly Society of NSW’, changing its name to NobleOak in 2011.

This history is part of the reason why this year’s Mozo Experts Choice Life Insurer of the Year takes a “more noble approach to life insurance.”

“The friendly society was formed to help members when they needed it most. As the ‘United Ancient Order of Druids Friendly Society of NSW’, our motto was ‘United to assist’,” explains Brown.

“...We continue to live by these words, operating with a genuine desire to better protect our clients and their families.”

When it comes to life insurance, it’s not always an easy task to balance affordable price tags with cover that keeps customers feeling secure. And yet NobleOak offers premiums that are on average 20% lower than the competition* and took out wins across the board in our Exceptional Value award categories.  

So just how does it manage to strike the perfect balance between cost and cover?

“It’s a question we get asked a lot,” Brown says. “Firstly, our clients purchase their Life Insurance directly from us instead of through advisers – no adviser fees equals lower premiums.”

“Secondly, we offer fully-underwritten Life Insurance. By asking comprehensive health and lifestyle questions upfront, we can tailor the policy to the client, so that they know exactly what they are paying for. We call it ‘no surprises cover’.”

Bigger than a life or death matter

Despite what it says on the tin, there’s more to life insurance than just, well, life insurance. In fact, NobleOak provides fully underwritten Life, TPD, Income Protection and Trauma products.

This year, NobleOak was the only winner in the Exceptional Quality Income Protection Award category.

“Income Protection (IP) cover is a great way of ensuring that you and your family have a financial safety net if you can’t work due to a serious illness or injury. You can focus on recovery rather than worrying about whether you can afford your mortgage payments or school fees,” Brown says.

“You could have decades of life left to live, with a diminished ability to earn income.”

One of the important features our expert judges were looking for in this category, was whether or not a policy offered a partial disability benefit - a reduced payment if you’re able to return to work, but only able to do so part time, or only perform some of your previous duties.

“Evidence shows that recovery at work is better than at home, but if you aren’t able to perform all of your duties and your monthly income is less than your pre-disablement income, our Partial Disablement Benefit can supplement your income and support your return to work,” Brown explains.

And NobleOak’s standout cover doesn’t stop there. Another benefit, Brown mentions, is the Recurring Disablement Benefit. 

This nifty little addition to your Income Protection policy means that should you return to work for less than six months and wind up reinjured form the same or a related cause to your original claim, it’s treated as part of the original claim. No waiting period applies, so you won’t have to stress about money on top of your recovery.

It’ll never happen to you… until it does

“It’s human nature to think that bad things only ever happen to other people. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing if and when a major illness or accident will happen to us,” Brown says.

Which is why its concerning that a NobleOak whitepaper from this year revealed that Aussies aren’t exactly prepared for dealing with the fallout of a major illness or injury. As many as 15% of Aussies said selling the family home could be an option to cope with the expenses of a serious illness, while 22% would sell off assets. More than half of Aussies would be relying on savings in an emergency like this.

“The majority of Australians are financially unprepared for the loss of income caused by a major illness or injury, leaving them and their families vulnerable and exposed to financial hardship,” Brown says. 

“How long would you be able to look after your family without a regular pay cheque coming in? How long would your savings last?”

Choosing life insurance

“Great value cover and peace of mind at claim time – that’s the ideal combination,” says Brown.

Sounds easy right?

Well, key to making sure your family is financially comfortable - to pay off debts, maintain a good standard of living, and even to plan for big costs like school fees - if the worst should happen is working out just how much life insurance you need. But that’s sometimes easier said than done.

NobleOak have a life insurance calculator for exactly that reason, helping you to identify the right level of cover, taking into account your debts, living expenses and insurance gaps.

And once you’ve got that down, the next step is to look for a top notch insurer, which you’ll be able to rely on come claims time. One with the title of Life Insurer of the Year under its belt, maybe...

* The 20% savings quoted are the average savings when comparing NobleOak’s premiums for its Term Life cover under NobleOak’s Premium Life Direct product to the average cost of Term Life insurance products offered by other Life Insurance companies, including products available directly from the insurer (8 products included in this comparison) and those available for purchase through a financial adviser or broker (7 products included in this comparison).

Based on premium rates available at May 2019, Strategic Insight has calculated that for Term Life, Noble Oak’s Premium Life Direct product is on average 45% lower than other comparable Direct Offerings (using an analysis of 8 products, Male and Female non-smoker White Collar workers with a Sum Insured of $500,000 and across 5 year age bands from age 30 to age 60).
Strategic Insight has also calculated that for Term Life, Noble Oak’s Premium Life Direct product is on average 12% lower than Advised Offerings (using an analysis of 7 products, Male and Female non-smoker White Collar workers with a Sum Insured of $500,000 and across 5 year age bands from age 30 to age 60 for Advised products).

Life Insurance rates for insurers, including NobleOak, may change in the future and this could change the outcome.