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By Peter Collis.
Published on the VCOSS Voice on 30 September 2015.
One in five adults in Australia do not have general insurance cover for their contents, car or home. This lack of cover places people living on low incomes in a precarious financial position where even minor mishaps affecting key assets, like cars and fridges, can result in significant financial hardship.
A car accident can make getting to work a real challenge (particularly in regional areas), theft of a computer makes online business or study impossible, and a damaged fridge means you can’t keep fresh, healthy food in the house.
Sadly, when this type of misfortune strikes someone without insurance, they feel they have to choose between going without or taking out a high cost payday loan or ‘rent to buy’ deal to replace the damaged or stolen item.
So it’s easy to see how someone can slip into financial hardship trying to replace an important family asset.
That’s why Good Shepherd Microfinance has been working with Australia’s biggest insurance companies to create affordable, simple and effective insurance policies for people on low incomes.
The first of these insurance products to hit the market is ‘Essentials by AAI’ – a collaboration between Good Shepherd Microfinance and Suncorp.
Good Shepherd Microfinance and Suncorp worked with external advisors and conducted a successful pilot across selected community organisations throughout Australia that provided valuable learnings for the co-creation of a safe, affordable, and tailored product for people on low incomes.
For the first time in Australia an insurance product will allow people to ‘mix and match’ cover for contents and cars, with premiums starting as low as $4.00 per week.
Key features of the new product include cover options for contents of $10,000 and $20,000, and up to two cars valued at $3,000 and $5,000. Unlike other products in the market, policyholders will also have access to standard two excess-free claims with a low $100 or $300 excess applying to subsequent claims. The cover provides protection against a vast number of events including flood, storm & cyclone, fire, burglary, and vandalism.
Importantly, Essentials by AAI also comes with flexible payment options including fortnightly direct debit and payment via Centrepay.
We’re confident Essentials by AAI will have a positive impact on the lives of people who have previously been excluded from insurance products due to barriers like affordability and suitability.
We’ve enjoyed working alongside Suncorp as a corporate partner. Both partners have learned from each other and, together, we’ve created something positive that will be sustainable for both the client, the program and the partners.
National Program Manager – Insurance, Good Shepherd Microfinance