Include all medical information in insurance application - warns man with crippling nervous disorder whose claim was turned down

When Shane Laker developed a crippling nervous disorder 16 months ago, he badly needed his insurance to kick in to cover his lost income.

But his insurer, Partners Life, turned his claim down, saying he’d failed to disclose some unrelated but material health issues – high blood pressure and obstructive sleep apnoea - which would have made him uninsurable at the time he took out cover.

Shane didn’t believe he’d ever been diagnosed with either issue, but first his insurer, then the Ombudsman, turned down his appeals.

Shane then researched his medical notes and found two important documents which just last week, resulted in Partners Life reversing its decision, and accepting his claim. 

Shane's warning is – if you're applying for insurance – or even after you’ve got it – check with your GP to make sure you’ve included all the key medical information.

Partners Life said they weren’t legally required to reinstate Shane’s cover, but felt it was the right thing to do.

They say they relied on Shane’s medical notes to be correct, and in the sleep apnoea case, they weren’t, and have since been corrected.

They were also satisfied that there was not an ongoing high blood pressure issue, so were able to reinstate Shane’s policy from the time of application.

They are desperately sorry Shane had to go through this experience to get this result, but say they cannot pay claims that they shouldn’t pay, because everyone else who pays a premium ends up paying for that decision.

We re-visit an insurance case that looked hopelessly lost - but wasn’t. Source: Fair Go

Southern right whale and calf a rare spectacle for Otago Harbour onlookers

A southern right whale and its calf drew crowds in Deborah Bay near Dunedin over the weekend.

The pair was first spotted on Saturday afternoon off Deborah Bay, Otago Harbour Master Steve Rushbrook said.

Mr Rushbrook said people gathered along the shore for several hours to catch a glimpse of the rare spectacle.

On Sunday morning, one of the whales was briefly spotted at the end of the Otago Peninsula, off Taiaroa Head but it hasn’t been seen again today, he said.

A guide at the Royal Albatross Centre spotted the whale, giving visitors on his tour the added bonus of viewing another New Zealand species, and filming the mammal breaching.  

A Department of Conservation spokesperson also said the whales haven’t been spotted today.


Jacinda Ardern set for return to duties as Prime Minister as maternity leave comes to an end

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will formally return to her duties at midnight on Wednesday when the acting Prime Minister, Winston Peters, goes overseas.

It will have been almost six weeks since Ms Ardern arrived at Auckland Hospital to have her baby.

Mr Peters said Ms Ardern would be based in Auckland on Thursday and Friday before heading to Wellington this weekend to settle her family into Premier House.

He said the Prime Minister would then be based in Wellington for the following two weeks while Parliament sat with some day trips away.

Ms Ardern has been on maternity leave for six weeks following the birth of her daughter Neve in June.

Today was Mr Peters' last day chairing the Cabinet and also holding the weekly prime minister post-cabinet press conference.

The new-born was on her best behaviour while her parents expressed their gratitude for the messages of support. Source: 1 NEWS

He was asked for his thoughts on his time in charge of the country.

"Well the downside, if you ask me about the hits and misses, the misses were where I had to read so much comment from journalists about the disaster that was about to befall them," he said.

"I suppose the hits are the things for example like the nurses strikes, which I believe we have made a lot of progress on and all the other items we've announced, not the least of which of course is the first tranche of the Reserve Bank legislation changes which are coming and which is a huge and serious issue for this country."

Yesterday evening, Ms Ardern posted a live Facebook stream to give an update on her and her baby.

"We're all doing really, really well still. We have absolutely no routine to speak of, and I can hear now a chorus of parents laughing at the suggestion that you would ever have a routine with a five-week-old baby, but we're doing really well nonetheless," she said.

The PM eventually said it was "pretty special" holding baby Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford for the first time. Source: 1 NEWS