ACC, three letters every New Zealander knows. Some think it’s great, some think it’s terrible, love it or loathe it we all have to pay for it. If you’re self-employed or a non-PAYE director then it is advised that you understand it or get someone who does understand it on your side. I might make a huge difference to the survivability of your company.

At the last BBQ of the summer my mate turns up with his arm in a cast. He had ‘pulled’ something at work but it turned out to be more serious and he need an operation, it was fair to say he was pretty gutted. Not just because he had to hold the beer in his off hand but because he had just started his own business and had struck a contract which would keep him going well into the new year. Now he was off the tools for at least 3 to 6 months and had let the contract go. It would be back to square one with his business after the physio.

He was toiling because ACC weren’t paying out because he couldn’t prove loss of earnings, his business hadn’t been going long enough and a contract in the hand wasn’t worth anything.

To add insult to injury we had discussed getting together to sort out his insurance and ACC –  but it was a low priority for him and, let’s be honest if it’s a choice between talking insurance or taking your boys to the rugby, what are you going to pick?

Then he asked me the question, “What can you do for me now?”

There was lot I could do. I could change his ACC to CoverPlus Extra and set it up to pay out an agreed amount. I could also put in place private insurance which will pay his mortgage and his utilities, TV, phone, internet, etc. if he is sick or injured. On top of that I could make sure that his business gets a payout to employ someone to work on the tools when he is unable to work. I then had to explain that it would be difficult to cover his arm with any policy as it would at least need to be fully healed for a year or two.

He’s on the mend now and back full time, possibly too early, but a good insurance policy would have given his family some financial security and the time to allow the injury to fully heal. Hindsight is always 20/20 though.


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