22 February 2022
Talking with loved ones about serious life-changing issues such as illness, will and estate planning are conversations most Australians avoid yet new research has revealed 80% of people feel relief when they do tackle tough topics.
The research, commissioned by leading direct life insurance company Insuranceline, found 96% of people hold off having uncomfortable conversations, with one in four waiting two years and almost half (48%) waiting more than six months.
Money, health and serious illness, and estate and funeral planning, are top of the list of topics Australians avoid, with the research revealing concerns at bringing out feelings of stress and anxiety in themselves or loved ones is a major driver of this avoidance behaviour. Six in ten respondents believe that learning to deal with uncomfortable or confronting discussions will help them be better prepared in the long run.
Psychologist Jacqui Manning said the Insuranceline research highlights a worrying disconnect between what people recognise are important conversations to have with loved ones, and their ability or willingness to do so. Insuranceline has worked with Manning to develop a simple downloadable guide, How to talk about the heavy stuff: serious illness, death, and funeral planning, to support Australians to start these challenging conversations.
Ms Manning notes that “Australians’ avoidance when it comes to these tough conversations around serious illness, funeral and estate planning could mean many Australians are inadvertently placing themselves and their loved ones in compromised financial situations down the track by avoiding these tough discussions.
"Whether it’s a conversation about money, death or funeral and estate planning, these topics can naturally bring up feelings of stress and anxiety (60%), as well as worry or fear. It is one of our brain’s natural responses in those circumstances to avoid something—it’s classic ‘fight or flight’.
"While we see nine in ten Australians recognising the importance of having these conversations, it’s clear that many don’t feel they have the tools or coping mechanisms to help them confront certain topics that make them uncomfortable.
"This becomes more of a concern as people get older, where critical conversations with family or loved ones on things like estate and funeral planning, or medical and care preferences, become increasingly important to have, in the event something unfortunate or unexpected does happen," Manning said.
The research also found six in ten people said reducing the financial and emotional impact on loved ones as much as possible is a priority to them when faced with unfortunate circumstances, while 88% indicated as they grow older they are more conscious of the value of having conversations on uncomfortable or confronting topics with loved ones.
Close to half (46%) of respondents admitted they’re likely to be emotional and find it difficult to contain emotions in these moments, however three in four (75%) said they would feel more comfortable engaging in uncomfortable or confronting conversations if they felt they had the right resources and support.
Commenting on the guide, Manningsaid: “It’s clear that when it comes to tackling these topics, more help is needed, and this guide contains simple tools and techniques that can help Australians have these difficult discussions, lifting the burden and ensuring critical conversations are had with those who are important to us.”
For more information and to access the guide, head to https://www.insuranceline.com.au/.
The survey was conducted by PureProfile on behalf of TAL, in February 2022, with a nationally representative sample of 1,018 respondents in Australia aged 18-65+ years old.
Insuranceline is Australia's longest standing provider of Funeral Insurance* and follows one simple philosophy: the belief that everyday Australians should have access to straightforward life insurance they can trust. Backed by TAL, Insuranceline is here for the heavy stuff, helping Australians through the difficult conversations around death and serious illness so that people can be better prepared.
* Insuranceline is the longest standing provider of Funeral Insurance in Australia, based on: Strategic Insight, Actuaries & Researchers. Funeral Insurance means a policy with periodic premium payments that provides a lump sum to help pay for funeral and associated expenses when you die and excludes pre-paid Funeral Plans and Funeral Bonds.
This is general information only. Read the PDS at insuranceline.com.au before purchase. The Target Market Determination is also available here. Promoted by Insuranceline, a trading name of TAL Direct Pty Ltd ABN 39 084 666 017 AFSL 243260. Insurance issued by TAL Life Limited ABN 70 050 109 450 AFSL 237848.
2023 © Insuranceline
^Offer available to Insuranceline customers who complete an application for an Insuranceline branded and distributed Life Insurance, Income Protection or Funeral Insurance policy between 1 October 2023 and 31 March 2024 (inclusive) and are issued with a policy with a commencement date prior to 00.01AM (AEST) 1st of May 2024. To be eligible policy holders must hold the policy for 4 consecutive months and pay 4 months’ premiums in full. One Gift per customer. View full terms and conditions.
**Bonus 10% more cover is calculated on the fifth anniversary from the Policy Commencement Date. Each adult life insured will have an extra 10% of the average Funeral Insurance Cover amount held during the previous five years added to their Funeral Insurance benefit. Terms and conditions apply. Refer to the PDS for more information.
#Claims paid figures relate to all Insuranceline life insurance policies in the 2021 financial reporting year (1 April2021 to 31 March 2022). All claims on Insuranceline policies are assessed against the relevant policy terms and conditions. These terms and conditions, as well an explanation of the claims process, can be found in the applicable Product Disclosure Statement. Claims are administered and settled by the insurer, TAL Life Limited.
***Insuranceline is the longest standing provider of Funeral Insurance in Australia, based on: Strategic Insight, Actuaries & Researchers. Funeral Insurance means a policy with periodic premium payments that provides a lump sum to help pay for funeral and associated expenses when you die and excludes pre-paid Funeral Plans and Funeral Bonds.
The information provided on this website is general advice only which means it does not take into account your individual needs, objectives or financial situation. For this reason, you should consider whether it is appropriate for you, and before you decide to buy or to continue to hold an insurance product, you must read the relevant Combined Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and the Financial Services Guide (FSG). The PDS/FSG contains important information which will help you understand the product, including what's covered and what's not covered and to decide whether it is appropriate for you. The Target Market Determination (TMD) for the relevant product, where applicable, is also available.
If you are considering cancelling a policy you already hold in order to replace it with a new policy, make sure you read the terms and conditions of both policies before you make a decision. The cover terms may be different, you may lose benefits accrued under your existing policy, and waiting periods may apply to the new policy. Changes in your personal circumstances (such as your age, health, and employment) that have occurred since your existing policy was originally taken out may also affect your new policy. As your application for a new policy may not be accepted, and some policies may be unable to be reinstated after they have been cancelled, you should consider waiting until your new policy is confirmed before you cancel any existing cover.
Promoted by Insuranceline, a trading name of TAL Direct Pty Limited (of Level 16, 363 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000) ABN 39 084 666 017 AFSL 243260. TAL Life Limited ABN 70 050 109 450 AFSL 237848 issues the life insurance benefits. St Andrew's Insurance (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 89 075 044 656 AFSL 239649 issues the Involuntary Unemployment Cover.