New Zealand has one of the
world’s lowest life insurance penetrations rates, even by
developing market standards.

Much of the reason can be
attributed to shear consumer ignorance, indicates a study
undertaken by the New Zealand life insurance unit of US insurer,

According to CIGNA, a survey
of New Zealand consumers revealed that many respondents perceived
that life insurance was too expensive, the process too complex and
not rewarding.

In addition, many said they
would not know where to start or who to trust.

Summing up the survey’s
findings, CIGNA New Zealand CEO Gail Costa said: “What the research
really showed us is that people are looking for certainty and ease.
They generally agree that life insurance is necessary and want to
get it, but they neither understand nor trust what they’ve been
offered in the past.”

According to Swiss Re, New Zealand life premium income of
NZ$1.7bn ($1.3bn) in 2009 represented a mere 0.9% of