Craig Nolly and Richard Toon - Abacus New Plymouth

Craig comes to us. He’s listened to our goals, our investment needs and our insurance needs & he’s sold us products that fit best to suit our lifestyle.
Louis & Barbara Kuriger

Craig has really looked after us, He’s gone and got the best deals. That’s his job.
Ross & Shelley Clark

Dealing with a specialist company like Abacus is vital. That relationship thing is absolutely important because you know someone is going to bat for you.
Steve Day, MD Pace Engineering

I am truly grateful to Jamie and consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to have received the benefit of his astute advice and assistance.
- J. F. Pickett

It has felt very good to know we have Richard and the team at Abacus Group Ltd on our side.
- Brian and Tracey Downes

Richard bent over backwards in his endeavours to help us every step of the way through the claim, making the process as simple as possible.
- John & Carole Lynskey

Holiday of a lifetime became a descent into hell

Abacus Values
Aug 14, 2016

Australia's heart attack insurance scandal forces rethink in New Zealand

New Zealand banks are reviewing their life insurance policies as a result of a heart attack claims scandal involving Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Earlier this year Commonwealth Bank of Australia was shamed into changing its definition of what constitutes a serious heart attack after a man died, was resuscitated and still had his claim turned down.

CBA's insurance arm would not pay out because the level of a hormone called Troponin in the man's body had not reached a level required in the policy wording, which led to an apology from chief executive Ian Narev.

But insurance policies sold in New Zealand by ASB, which is owned by Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac and ANZ all have definitions of heart attack including Troponin levels reaching the same level as CBA's policies used to have.

One insurance expert, who reviewed 17 New Zealand insurance policies after the CBA scandal, found seven would have been unlikely to pay out after a heart attack of equivalent severity to the Australian man's.

The kinds of insurance that pay out after heart attack are loan protection insurance, and critical illness cover, both of which people buy to ensure they can continue to pay their bills should they be struck by serious illness.

Naomi Ballantyne from non-bank insurer Partners Life blew the whistle on restrictive heart attack definitions in 2013.

Ballantyne said policies sold by insurance advisers typically contained less restrictive definitions of a major heart attack than those sold by banks, but predicted media coverage would prompt banks to change their heart attack definitions.

In a statement ASB said a review of its policies was underway.

"This review is likely to lead to some definitions for these products, including the heart attack definition, being updated and will be complete within the next two months," ASB said.

Any heart attack claims made until then would be judged against any new heart attack definition it introduced, the bank said.

Westpac said it had been reviewing its insurance definitions and expected to announce "some changes in the near future as a result".

ANZ said: "We're following the issue in Australia closely and will consider potential changes to our policy definitions if this is the best move for our customers."

Insurance expert Russell Hutchinson from Quality Product Research studied which New Zealand policies would have made full, partial or no payout in the Australian man's case.

He found Partners Life and eight other policies would be likely to have made a full payout. ASB, Sovereign and Onepath (owned by ANZ) would be likely to have made a partial payout, and policies including Westpac's would be likely to have made no payout at all.

Hutchinson said it could be hard for the public to understand and compare policies.

"The way other countries have dealt with this varies. In the UK, the Association of British Insurers determined a set of minimum wordings. Insurers are allowed to innovate above the minimum standards, but not go below," he said.

- Stuff

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Our Blog

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    Aug 16, 2018
    Craig Nolly and Richard Toon are in Cuba, celebrating 30 years in business together and 20 years since they formed Abacus Group, an insurance advisory business. Their wives Caroline Nolly and Grazia Toon are with them. Then a catastrophe strikes Craig down and he nearly dies.
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    Aug 16, 2018


    The provincial hospital in Matanzas where Craig had three emergency surgeries looked good from the outside, but standards, experience and facilities were extremely lacking.

  • Grazia with the Toons-abacus-9bb970c7bf440ec7406f6ceae5be0d8f.jpg
    Aug 16, 2018


    Richard: “Remember virtually nobody could speak English and we had no Spanish. There was also an underlying culture we didn’t know about until later, that you just had to go along with the system. Being loud and pushy wouldn’t work, we just had to be very patient.