The Minister of Defence is being asked to urgently intervene with insurers after the tragic death of decorated ex-Special Air Service (SAS) soldier Corporal Steve Askin has highlighted appalling discrimination against former defence personnel who apply for insurance.
“To say I am angry is an understatement because these people have bled for our country and yet insurers think it acceptable to bleed them dry over premiums,” says New Zealand First Defence Spokesperson Ron Mark, a former army officer.
“Steve Askin died fighting the Christchurch fires, but what is not in the public domain, is the way that he and other ex-service personnel are being extorted by insurers. We have written to Mr Brownlee because such treatment betrays our men and women in uniform.
“Former defence personnel are available for call up as reserves so insurers use this to claim they should pay higher premiums than other New Zealanders. One former Special Air Service soldier told us he was quoted $1500 a month for mortgage protection.
“They are not on active duty as reserves, and if called up are covered by the Army.
“The insurance companies cannot use their reserve status as a reason to assume they are a higher risk.
“If they are recalled to active duty then the Army’s own cover kicks in so private insurance is off the hook.
“The trouble is we have the ridiculous and unacceptable Catch-22 at the moment in which good people are actively discriminated against.
“This needs a regulatory fix so that serving or former personnel cannot be discriminated against when it comes to insurance and other services,” says Mr Mark.
Published as per NZ First News.