When starting your career as a newly licensed pilot or an air traffic controller, it is easy to believe that, because you are fit and healthy, you do not need professional insurance. NZALPA considers it well worth the investment, but over the years we’ve seen it all - whether it is people applying for insurance too late in their career or not properly understanding their insurance cover. To help prevent you from falling easily into these pitfalls, I’ve prepared the four rules to remember when considering your insurance cover.
RULE 1: Apply for insurance as early as you can in your career
When deciding whether to underwrite an insurance policy, an insurance company will consider an application from the date you signed up. The earlier you apply for insurance in your career the less likely you are to have medical issues, and subsequently will be offered insurance at a lesser premium.
As you continue through your career it is more likely that your health will lessen and aches, pains or illnesses will creep in. If you don’t have insurance before this happens and then want to apply, often the insurance company will exclude cover for these issues as they are classified as pre-existing conditions.
RULE 2: Be honest when declaring your medical conditions
Insurance policies can be considered void if an incorrect declaration is made.
When applying for any insurance you must treat your medical declaration seriously - as you would your Civil Aviation Authority medical. We’ve seen members who have needed to claim from their Mutual Benefit Fund (MBF) after they have become unwell, and have been turned down cover as their medical records show that the medical issue claimed for wasn’t declared when the member initially applied for insurance.
RULE 3: Understand what you can and cannot do under your policy
It is essential that you understand your policy and know the ins and outs of what it covers or the implications of any amendments to the policy. We have seen many occasions where members have not understood the rules around their policies and consequently have not been covered. Refreshing yourself on the details of your policy, like how many days you have to inform the MBF if you lose your medical cover, or knowing exactly what you are and aren’t covered for, is essential if you ever have to make a claim.
It is also recommended that you talk to your insurance broker, or the NZALPA Welfare Support Officer if you are in doubt.
RULE 4: When in doubt we are here for advice
There are a number of points of contact within NZALPA for members with any medical questions or claim queries. The NZALPA Welfare Support officer, Pamela Hutton, has an extensive knowledge of dealing with insurance claims.
A list of all of the policy scheme contacts is in the Members’ section on the NZALPA website, for any queries about premiums and policy details.
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