COVID-19 is causing volatility in financial markets and
affecting the value of investments.
Find out more about KiwiSaver, hardship withdrawals
and information about insurance.
KiwiSaver and Insurance
Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme
As well as affecting the health of people around the world, COVID-19 is also affecting financial markets because investors are unsure about the effect it might have on the global economy in the short term.
Since markets have been volatile in recent months, you may have noticed your Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme balance has fluctuated as well.
KiwiSaver is generally designed to be a long-term investment and balances will increase or decrease in value, depending on how markets perform. These movements are called volatility.
While share market volatility is likely to continue for a while, the good news is that markets generally recover with time.
The main thing is to choose the right fund for your life stage, adapted to your tolerance of investment risk, and then stick with it.
To check that your Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme fund is right for you, take a look at our Risk Profiler.
For other things to keep in mind when managing your Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme account, click here.
Alternatively, if you have any further questions you can find our KiwiSaver contact details here.
We also have answers to 10 questions you might have about Kiwisaver and COVID-19.
Applying to withdraw KiwiSaver funds
If you’re experiencing significant financial hardship, you may be eligible to withdraw some of your KiwiSaver funds.
However, it’s important to remember that KiwiSaver is designed to provide you with money to live on during retirement. Any money you take out now could impact upon your retirement savings and potentially affect your standard of living in the future, and the government considers it to be a last resort. Westpac NZ is following this government recommendation, which you can read more about here.
Before you make any hardship withdrawal, it’s important to consider these alternative options and support programmes:
- Government support packages – if you’ve lost your job or your business is expected to struggle, you may be able to get wage subsidies, help with essential costs and other income support. See what support you can get from the government here.
- Loan repayment deferral – if you are struggling to pay a mortgage or personal loan with Westpac or another NZ bank, you may be able to apply for a 6-month loan repayment deferral or reduction to cover interest.
- Financial Mentoring – MoneyTalks is a free helpline available to provide budgeting advice to individuals, family and whanau. They can help understand your financial situation, organise your debt, plan for the future, and get you in touch with a local budgeting service.
- Online tools – sorted.org.nz has a range of tools and information that can help with budgeting, KiwiSaver and tackling debt.
If you’ve already considered the above and none are suitable for your circumstances, learn more about the Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme hardship withdrawal process here.
Life, Income and Debt Insurance
Call us on 0800 738 641 if you need help with your premium payments, want to make a claim or have questions about your policy. We’re here Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5pm. If overseas, call +64 3 372 4855. Our Contact Centre is currently experiencing higher than normal call volumes, so we appreciate your patience.
If your query is not urgent, you can also email us at email@example.com
Existing policies in force as at 20 March 2020
There are no specific pandemic exclusions in existing policies that are issued and underwritten by Westpac Life-NZ-Limited (Westpac Life)*.
If you need to make a claim, our standard process will be followed to determine if your claim meets the applicable claims criteria. This includes assessing your claim against:
- the existing terms and conditions of your policy (including any standard exclusions which apply to your policy), and
- any special terms and conditions relating to your individual policy (including any exclusions or limitations applied specifically to your policy).
The benefits provided, and the terms and conditions that apply to your policy, are set out in your policy document and your policy schedule (if applicable). Please refer to those documents for more information.
*This means the following Westpac Life products: Card Repayment Cover, Disability Income Cover, Flexicover, Gold Disability Income Cover, Gold Term Cover, Lifetime Guarantee, Loan Protection Plan / Loan Insurance, Mortgage Repayment Insurance, Simplicity Life, Term Cover, Westpac Accident Cover, Westpac Bill Protection, Westpac Loan Cover and Westpac Retirement Plan Insurance (together referred to as “Westpac Life, Income and Debt Insurance Products”).
New policies issued from 21 March 2020
We can continue to help you with your insurance needs at this time. Call us on 0800 177 277 and we can help you determine what is right for you.
Please be aware that for applications for new insurance cover or increases to existing insurance cover:
- you may need to answer additional underwriting questions, and/or
- some cover options, such as redundancy and bankruptcy cover, may not be currently available, and/or
- some exclusions may be applied.
Home, Contents, Vehicle and Boat Insurance
Westpac Home, Contents, Vehicle and Boat cover is arranged by Westpac New Zealand Limited (“Westpac”) and underwritten by IAG New Zealand Limited (“IAG”).
As an essential service IAG’s customer service and claims teams remain open and here to support you should you have an enquiry or need to claim.
To lodge a claim please call the claims team on 0800 309 378.
For existing claims we have worked closely with our extensive network of suppliers, repairers and tradespeople to ensure they can operate safely and within the Ministry of Health guidelines for the current Alert Level. We will continue to assess and settle customer claims during this time.
If you’re experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19, we’d like to understand your situation and see how we may be able to help. Please contact our customer service team on 0800 809 378 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and Saturday, 8.30am to 5pm.
Changes to Home Cover for landlords effective 2 April 2020
The option for landlords to add the Rent Protection benefit to new Home Cover policies or to add it to existing Home Cover policies is not currently available. If you’re an existing Home Cover policyholder with the Rent Protection benefit shown on your policy schedule, your cover is unaffected.
The NZ Government is now advising that New Zealanders should not travel overseas at this time due to the outbreak of COVID-19. This may affect customers with Westpac Travel Insurance and travel insurance provided in conjunction with some Westpac credit cards.
- Westpac Travel Insurance is administered by Cover-More (NZ) Limited and underwritten by Zurich Australian Insurance Limited. For information in relation to Westpac Travel Insurance (Cover-More) please refer to this information sheet or contact Cover-More* directly on 0800 500 22.
- For information on overseas travel insurance provided in conjunction with some Westpac credit cards# please contact AIG Insurance (the underwriter) on 0800 465 322 or visit Travel Activate.