A privatisation lesson from an unlikely source

Cameron (Whaleoil) Slater has been having a bleat about how he has been treated by the private insurer Fidelity Life, which has cut off his income protection insurance:

1. Make the lia­bil­ity cus­tomer feel at ease. Their claim has been accepted because due to the over­whelm­ing med­ical evi­dence from their own doc­tors there is no way that we (Fidelity Life) can weasel out of it, the med­ical evi­dence sup­ports their claim.

2. Arrange for the first monthly pay­ment to be made and imme­di­ately go to phase one of the under­mine and destroy your liability’s cus­tomers self esteem

Phase one: Send a pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tor to wait out­side the liability’s cus­tomers house every morn­ing. Do not con­cern your­self with blend­ing in. You want the lia­bil­ity cus­tomer to know that they are under surveillance.

Phase two: Fol­low the lia­bil­ity cus­tomer when­ever they leave their home. Have the PI fol­low them on foot into shops etc and stand there behind a news­pa­per look­ing like an actor from a bad 70’s T.V series. If the lia­bil­ity cus­tomer approaches and makes it clear that they know that they are being fol­lowed, instruct the PI to imme­di­ately scurry back to their car and then ini­ti­ate phase three.

Phase three: At every meet­ing with the lia­bil­ity cus­tomer men­tion how poor insur­ance com­pa­nies have to pro­tect them­selves from lying cheat­ing lia­bil­i­ties cus­tomers but then assure the lia­bil­ity cus­tomer that you are sure that they are in fact ill as that is what their doc­tor reports state after all. How­ever they must under­stand that the poor insur­ance com­pany can­not let down their guard even for a sec­ond, and that if any­thing, no mat­ter how small, changes for them they must imme­di­ately inform the com­pany as oth­er­wise the con­se­quences will be dire as they will assume the worst.

Phase four: By now the lia­bil­ity cus­tomer is scared well aware of the con­se­quences and will inform you when they leave the home and what they do dur­ing the day. Once you have estab­lished that they are leav­ing the home most days and have some kind of rou­tine estab­lished total how many hours they are spend­ing out of the home. Do not worry if this time is spent at the gym, hang­ing out with a friend or going for lunch, it all helps with Phase five.

Phase five: This part is fun impor­tant and will reward the hard work you have put in thus far. It tunes up makes it clear to the lia­bil­ity cus­tomer that Fidelity Life is not a com­pany to be tri­fled with. With no warn­ing cut the pay­ment in half. Say that they have estab­lished that they can work because they are spend­ing x hours away from home. Explain that X hours sub­tracted from the monthly amount equals 50%.

Phase six: When the lia­bil­ity cus­tomer points out that they are not in fact work­ing or earn­ing for that period of time and that the pol­icy does not reduce until they ACTUALLY have a job make sure that you say noth­ing and just wait. The goal here is to starve encour­age the lia­bil­ity cus­tomer so that they will be more atten­tive to job seek­ing despite it being clear that they are fucked in the head suf­fer­ing a men­tal ill­ness. Once they get a job you can then say if you have a job you must be 100% well, if you are well then you no longer are cov­ered by the policy.

Phase seven: If phase six fails after 3 months rein­state the pol­icy and back­date the missed pay­ments. Apol­o­gise and explain that as some lia­bil­i­ties cus­tomers are liars you have been forced to test them to see if they are being hon­est. Ignore any men­tion they make of Doc­tors reg­u­lar reports that state that they are ill. Specif­i­cally call them in to the Fidelity Life Offices and explain to the lia­bil­ity cus­tomer that it would really be bet­ter if they went and got ECT. The short sharp shock will be bet­ter for them in the long run. If they react or tell any­one about this just deny it hap­pened, they are loony tunes men­tally ill any­way and no one will believe them.

Phase eight: Patience is your friend here. After the tune up edu­ca­tion pro­gramme the lia­bil­ity cus­tomer will be sus­pi­cious watch­ing our every move. Wait another year then repeat phases five through seven.

Phase nine: It is now clear that the liabil­ity cus­tomer isn’t get­ting the mes­sage get­ting well, we must move now to slash­ing min­imis­ing Fidelity Life’s expo­sure to the lia­bil­ity cus­tomer. imple­ment Phases 5 through s7 except this time make it 100%, and dig in for the long haul. Con­stantly explain delays in response as “wait­ing for the re-insurer”. The lia­bil­ity cus­tomer will even­tu­ally give up sui­cide seek bet­ter cover elsewhere.

That’s pretty much how injured people were treated by private insurers during the failed ACC privatisation experiment back in 1999-2000, I recall.

Now ACC privatisation is back on the agenda again, thanks to Nick Smith, and Paula Bennett and her Welfare Working Group are even hinting at replacing welfare benefits with some form of income insurance.

Funny how those on the political right don’t seem to get it – until it affects them personally, that is.

37 Comments Posted

  1. @nz native:

    I actually thought whaleoils job was being a stark raving conservative blog writer ……………. and his insurance company was effectively supporting him in his new career.

    Guess his insurance company must have eventually decided he was a liability in that regard too.

  2. I hope he continues to inadvertently expose the ugly face of the right for a long time to come


    I don’t wish to libel Mr. slater, but I hope and pray that one day he will come over to the left with the rest of the moral majority and see the light and be at one with us all!!!

    He may even join the Green Party, so there is hope!!!!

  4. I actually thought whaleoils job was being a stark raving conservative blog writer ……………. and his insurance company was effectively supporting him in his new career.

    It seems he puts an awful lot of effort into his blog ……….. and emotion ……………. very bad ugly emotion.

    Perhaps his insurance company thought his own blog was harming his mental health ………….

    Are rants and ranting good for a person ????.

    I cant judge just how ‘sick’ whaleoil is but his own medicine must be tasting pretty bitter to him right now ……

  5. “So, you pinko, gree­nie cnts out there who want to use my case, and my par­tic­u­lars, be very wary what you write lest it bites you on the arse”

    Oh, that level Frog!

    Rest assured, we won’t!

  6. ‘slander’..?

    pointing out the incongruties of a benificiary-basher..(all in his own words..)

    now needing that support…

    ..is not ‘slander’…

    ..and frog..in this case…the issue is the person…

    impossible to separate the two…

    ..and hey..!..you got the ball rolling..

    ..you made the post..



  7. I know nothing of Cameron Slater. I never read his blog. I do not care.

    I am upset to read all the slanderous bile about him yous are posting. He raised an issue and it is not “Cameron Slater is a …” or “Whaleoil is …”. We should be better than that.


    [frog: Agreed, bliss. Whatever you think of Slater, folks, please don’t descend to his level. Debate the issue, not the person.]

  8. I see Whaleoil has a post up now (beware before clicking on the link, the language there is vile) attacking me; claiming I wrongly suggested he no longer sup­ports the open­ing up of ACC to private competition.

    I made no such suggestion – just the assertion that his case is a classic example we can all learn from about where the privatisation path can lead us.

    Read my post more carefully, Whale. I never suggested your experiences with Fidelity Life would change your mind on ACC privatisation. But hopefully they will change the minds of some of your and my readers.

  9. are you recommending the racist sewer that is kiwiblog..?

    ..the most vile racist polemics are given full rein/enabled there..

    so…farrar pointing his deeply-stained fingers at slater/whaleoil..

    ..is a tad ‘rich’…


  10. Lost his house?
    Now he can move in with Farrar.
    It’d be a kind of sanctuary, similar to those provided for large marine animals.
    The neighbours could start up some kind of whale-watching industry.

  11. I try to stay away from his blog – DPF referred to it as the NZ blog equivalent of The Sun newspaper and sounds about right!

  12. I’m with Phil.
    Slater’s done all he can to belittle and besmirch those in positions of need similar to his own, but without the resources and/or opportunity to take out private insurance.
    To say that he was nasty in his demeaning writings on that issue would be a massive understatement. The venom he stirred up amongst the flint-minded righties that thrill to his trilling reflected the nastiness of his intentions.
    I feel his pain and am pleased he’s getting some back.

  13. His and some other people’s angle is that he took responsiblity to pay for private income insurance, so the costs of that being provided to him are privatised, unlike the costs of the government providing money to solo parents and teh bludgerz etc.

  14. the thing that has me gobsmacked about this one..

    ..is that in slater/whaleoil..we have an individual who has built his reputation(?) by by doing an antipodean ‘take’ on glenn beck/rush limbaugh..

    ..and that role has included a steady diet of marginalising/demonising/stigmatising of sole-parents the unemployed…..and those on sickness/invalid-benefits.

    ..for things like ‘depression’…

    ..and an advocating of tearing away any state support such receive…

    ..and we now have a call for public support/sympathy..

    for the author of these often vile polemics against the weakest/poorest..

    ..and if not all just to pander to his target audience of reactionary scumbags…

    ..he must ‘believe’ the hatreds he preaches…



  15. frog…i got caught up in the moment of finally joining those dots…

    [frog: Off thread again and rest deleted – you admitted above you “got caught up in the moment”. So why continue?]

    [frog: Your next post deleted too Phil. Still not on topic. If you want to argue the moderation policy or other things irrelevant to a thread topic, do it on General Debate.

    Don’t spoil it for everyone else. You are getting perilously close to being put into automatic moderation, which will mean your comments won’t appear until I get around to looking at them to see if they are on topic. Ask jh about that!]

  16. “..(I used to work as an advocate for claimants) I’ve sent a few through for Sue Bradford and more recently Kevin Hague to ask of ACC Ministers over the years..”

    i know who you are toad..

    you used to be bradfords auck ‘secretary’..eh..?

    and it was you who put together the ‘secret-dossier’..

    ..that got me blacklisted from the green party…

    ..eh toad..?

    [frog: Threadjack, Phil, and kind of creepy. Commenters have been put into moderation for this sort of thing recently. You are warned. Stay on topic. If there is not a relevant thread, put it on the General Debate thread.]

    sorta explains yr unrelenting hostility/attacks here..and at kiwiblog…eh..?

    ..and you are one of those cigarette-smoking/carnivorous ‘greens’…

    eh toad..?

    ..such a part of the problem..



  17. @insider 5:24 PM
    Doesn’t seem to have worked for Slater yet. Or maybe he hasn’t gone there.

    Given that I understand he is now on sickness benefit, he may be eligible for legal aid, and could go down the judicial review path. But that is dependent on having so little income and assets that you can qualify for legal aid (which he may have if his assets are in a trust), or so much in assets that you can afford the legal fees yourself.

  18. I would go with the ‘no fault’ system myself. it’s more publically accountable something the NAT/ACT backers don’t like!!!

  19. James, Slater has the ability to do this because he has a high profile blog (and a high profile and wealthy Dad).

    If some mug like me faces similar issues, I doubt that a few posts here or on Slater’s blog are going to make the insurance company sit up and take notice.

    At least with ACC we can get MPs to ask Parliamentary Questions of the Minister because there is Ministerial responsibility. As someone with a keen interest in ACC claimants’ rights (I used to work as an advocate for claimants) I’ve sent a few through for Sue Bradford and more recently Kevin Hague to ask of ACC Ministers over the years.

    You can’t do that with an insurance company. Someone with the profile of Slater might be able to embarrass an insurance company into behaving fairly, but your average mug doesn’t stand a chance.

  20. Slaters post is actually an example of the market working to correct bad behaviour by a participant.Slaters using it to take on the company he says has wronged him.He may well force a change in its methods by using the market tools of protest,free speech.withholding furthrt custom and the persusion of others not to deal with this company thereby causing change.

    Try that with ACC or any other stagnmant State monopoly….

  21. @insider
    Leaky buildings was actually about the checks and balances being removed through inappropriate deregulation and delegation.

    Of course the public sector can stuff up big-time, and sometimes the road to accountability can be tortuous, as it is with leaky buildings. But at least there is a road to accountability.

    When the private sector stuffs up big-time, whether they can be made accountable usually depends on how much you can afford to pay for legal representation, and whether what you may get in relief is worth it.

  22. Acknowledged that I did vent a bit more necessary.

    Personally, I’ll take my chances with the no-fault system, with all it’s faults!

    Interesting that you would imply that it could be a matter of choice 😉

  23. I dunno, I think there are examples of systems run for the public good that make decisions about individuals that are pretty cruel/insensitive. The big bureaucratic bungles where decision makers evade responsibility behind collective decision making. LEaky buildings might be one such.

    PS income protection insurance is tax deductible even for PAYE tax payers

  24. Regardless of Slater’s entitlement, his piece does highlight just how incredibly unaccountable private insurers are.

    I’m not suggesting ACC don’t treat people badly (they often do in my experience), but at least they can be held accountable through their statutory complaints system, the review and appeal process, the OIA, and Ministerials.

    With private insurers, as Slater is finding out, there is no effective accountability at all.

  25. Rather than badgering Slater, tempting as that may be, let’s focus on the real problem – the flawed idea that a system based on the profit motive is ever going to be as humane as one based on a no-fault motive.

    Personally, I’ll take my chances with the no-fault system, with all it’s faults!

  26. StephenR the point of this thread seems to have gone over your head ……

    Sure Slater is a high profile person, so we get to hear about his insurance ‘problems’.

    ……….. most examples of insurance companys screwing people over we dont get to hear about unless they make it onto fair-go.

    They ( insurance companys ) are there to make money and they have the resources of big corporations which means they can and do engage in “legal games’ which leaves your average kiwi battler with no show …..

    That particular problem is directly related to our legal system being set up for the rich, the government and business’s.

    The legal system is far to expensive for your average person which leaves any battle with an insurance company very one sided …….

  27. When i’m older and with some assets/kids/goldfish that rely on me, having income protection insurance will be necessary, so would be nice if the government would give me a wee tax credit for that, but as it stands i’ll probably have to pay twice through taxes and through my own income, much like health insurance. Any tax credit will probably be condemned as ‘favours for the rich’ – *sigh*.

  28. The income protection was on the grounds that he was mentally unfit to work – a guy that high profile probably SHOULD be getting harrassed by his insurance company. Check a Kiwiblog thread on him for more more more 😀

  29. I actually think Slater’s heart is in the right place, unfortunately he is as mad as a box full of monkeys…

  30. well the question has to be asked ……………. is cameron slater a malingering bludger ? 😉 .

    I just ask that because he has always been the first to slag off and use big broad smeary negative stereotypes against those on welfare or who receive help from the state.

    I could have told slater that insurance company’s are about as moral and scrupulous as the dishonest people who make false claims against them.

    The points being …………… Insurance company’s are rouges who you cant trust

    ……. and whaleoils getting a bit of whats called karma ……..

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