With over 20 years in the risk management / asset protection business, The Burns Group has worked with specific industries, companies and individuals to help plan for the unknown.
Paul founded The Burns Group in 1998, and has become a confidant and advisor to a wide range of clients across property, legal, contracting, trades and financial industries.
In the words of one customer:
Paul possesses the right mix of ideal qualities that make him the ideally suited and capable professional to trust with my objectives. I highly recommend any financially savvy person getting professionally acquainted with Paul.
- W Calder, Wellington
Q: Should I meet with Paul?
A: That is up to you.
Paul’s clients agree that they each have a risk management/asset protection plan (by design or default). They also see how time and circumstances erode the return on their investment, as costs increase and benefits decline / become less relevant.
Paul’s clients also understand that failure to re-evaluate their plans can result in undiagnosed Achilles heels that get worse the longer they left.
Common examples of this are loopholes or outdated clauses being used against them by the ACC or their insurer.
These fish hooks and health issues that creep into their plans can create unintended consequences (like nasty surprises at claim time).
Q: What are common results of meeting with Paul?
A: At the very least, you'll get a few new aces.
With no expectation that you will want to do business with Paul, he will gladly leave you with aces to fill your sleeve - in the form of:
A better understanding of what’s important to you to help you make sound risk decisions that feel right to you.At least 1 (usually 2-3) new concepts that (depending how they’re used) may represent the biggest difference between success and failure.A clearer / fuller (high level) overview of the strengths and weaknesses of your current plans when it comes to tackling the actual risks to your life.
If you decide to meet to find out more, and then decide you don't want to go any further, that is absolutely fine.
Q: I already have an advisor.
A: That's great!
Already having an advisor shows you're the type of person who understands risk, and the importance of mitigating it.
Our decades of experience in the industry helps ensure that you are getting the best from your existing arrangements.
As well-meaning and sincere people’s existing brokers/advisors are, once you’ve met Paul you will have a better idea as to whether you have outgrown the ability of your existing plans and broker/advisor to best serve your future needs.
You’ll be the judge of that though, because Paul believes in “Power to The Person”
Which is why we promise:
To only build onto the good work that anyone else has done for you.You are free to pass on our ideas to anyone else to incorporate for your own benefit.To shape our ideas, concepts and solutions around your situation.
You're free to engage whoever you choose to implement our suggestions or recommendations.
Q: What does the coffee meeting cost?
A: Not a bean.
There is no cost to you. Paul will even shout the coffee!
Q. How is Paul paid?
A: The 1st meeting is totally at his cost.
After that, if you do choose to engage Paul on a professional basis - he is paid either by fee (paid by client and backed up with his “no questions asked money back” guarantee) or commissions (paid by insurers) when his clients engage him to broker new insurance contracts.
About Paul Burns
Paul is a dedicated father of four, and husband of 27 years.
Paul is a bit of a cheeky provocateur and is never satisfied with superficial answers, because he has a habit of getting to the bottom of matters and leave no stone unturned.
While Paul’s not afraid to point out the unspoken elephant in the room (when need be) he’s very sensitive and empathic when helping his clients confront critical and sensitive matters (e.g the risks to their financial security).
Which is why when it comes to business he’s been known to challenge the corporate status quo and not afraid to rattle a bureaucrat’s cage. Especially if he senses that the clients he represents are not getting the full value from their insurer.
For over 25 years, his driving passion has been helping people prepare for the unexpected, and providing high quality support when they do. In a crowded marketplace, Paul has built a solid and loyal client base by focusing on the importance of investing into relationships.
This shows in the growing value and success of his own relationship-driven risk practice.
"My focus is relationships. Making sure people feel comfortable in using the right ideas and information to make sound decisions that feel right to them and helping them when things go wrong. Our business is your business."
- Paul Burns
When disability compensation comes unstuck.
A successful plumbing-gasfitting business owner thought he’d protected his family with his combination of income protection and ACC cover. He thought his combined package would compensate income loss from any disability - remembering ACC does not cover illness or sickness.
His understanding was that if he suffered an injury, ACC compensation would kick in. He believed his income protection policy would pay an additional amount on top of his ACC compensation.
The owner was injured at work, and to his horror found the ACC compensation neither offset the loss of business revenue, nor was enough to provide for his young family.
When he went to claim on his income protection, the insurance company legally declined his income protection benefit - as it was fully offset by other compensation (ACC in this case).
The plumbing business owner received nothing from his income protection insuranceACC compensation did not cover the loss of business revenueDue to the long-term health issues caused by his injury, no insurance company will wish to insure him. He is stuck with his existing inferior income protection (through ACC)
The Burns Group answer
We would have recommended:
1. An agreed value ACC Cover Plus Extra with the ACC. If the agreed value was significantly lower than the standard/default ACC cover, he would have saved significantly on ACC levies. This saving of levies could have been diverted to…
2. An ‘agreed value’ monthly disability package with a private insurer (covering illness and injury) - payable in addition to any ACC compensation. This would have compensated for:
a. His own personal income, and
b. Loss of business revenue
Attempting to cover both the loss of business revenue and loss of family income through ACC and private insurance should a business owner or shareholder become ill or injured, are complex areas of much potential confusion. Using the expertise of an experienced insurance broker to make sure all possibilities are covered for the best price is a wise move.
When being a loyal long term client of a health insurer can backfire on you.
A long-term loyal customer of a well-known health insurer was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His oncologist recommended a new, advanced (though well-proven) and expensive form of treatment.
The health insurer did have new policies which included this new treatment. But unfortunately, the old policy excluded the new treatment option.
To survive his prostate cancer, he had no option but to forego his health insurance. Instead he had to find $30,000 of his own to pay for the advanced treatment.
The Burns Group answer
If he was a client of The Burns Group he would have had the option of health insurance which backdated any upgrades/new treatments to existing clients. Under such a policy, any new treatments (even if not included on the old policy itself) are automatically included.
Having someone on your side who understands the difference between various insurance companies’ policies can make a major change to the cover you’re able to obtain for the same, or sometimes even less, premium.
How a second opinion removed a 75% insurance premium loading.
A busy mother, wife and high earning legal professional required comprehensive insurance coverage. In case of major health problems, she wanted to be able to cover her loss of income and be able to pay off her mortgage.
Her mother and maternal grandmother had both had breast cancer, though she had no symptoms of the disease herself.
Supposedly to cover the extra risk presented by the family’s history of breast cancer, the original insurance company placed a 75% premium loading on her policy.
This loading would have greatly reduced her ability to afford the type of comprehensive coverage she wanted.
The Burns Group answer
The Burns Group found a more accommodating insurance company that waived the 75% premium loading. Our client is now able to afford the broad-spectrum, in-depth insurance cover she originally required.
When you have the right person in your corner, who understands exactly what different insurance companies include in their premium packages, this knowledge can make a huge difference to the cover provided. Non-aligned insurance know-how is valuable in its own right.
The value of a good insurance broker being in your corner at claim time.
The owner of a successful trade-based contracting company borrowed heavily to establish a property investment portfolio to fund his retirement and family future. He wanted mortgage protection insurance to repay his debts in the event of a major health problem or death. However, because he was diabetic, the only insurance he was able to obtain was death/terminal illness cover.
Within two years of the cover being put in place, our client was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological condition that threatened his life. He was forced to prematurely close the business.
All the unrealised value and goodwill built up in his contracting business disappeared overnight.
As ACC didn’t cover his condition (and because his wife was earning a part-time wage) he was only entitled to $200 per week sickness benefit. This $200 per week was the cost of his medication.
With no income and no ability to service the mortgages on his property portfolio, he could no longer afford to pay for his children’s extracurricular activities. His wife had to give up her Polytech studies to find a full-time job and they had to put their home on the market. They needed the money to simply survive.
The Burns Group answer
Our client’s wife approached The Burns Group to inquire if there was any possibility of an advance payment on the life insurance. We negotiated $50,000 ex-gratia (good faith) payment from his insurance company. A few months later she asked if another payment was possible.
With encouragement from The Burns Group, the insurance company looked more closely at the outcomes for sufferers of his health condition. On doing so the insurance company revised the doctor’s initial opinion (without any prompting by the client), and instructed the remaining $870,000 to be paid in full.
We also arranged for the policy to be owned by the family trust (to help ring fence the money from would-be predators, and ensure our client’s continued entitlement to his $200 a week WINZ benefit).
Our client lived for another nine years, but the family was able to repay its debts, and continued to live in their family home.
Having someone in your team who is there for you should you need to make a claim is a great reassurance in such times of stress. The Burns Group is with their clients every step of the way, not just until the time the insurance has been sold.
The Burns Group is with their clients every step of the way, not just until the time the insurance policy has been sold.