Research reveals impact of death and disability on Aussie families

By Simon Keir, Westlawn Senior Insurance Specialist
5 February 2016

Research released by ANZ Wealth reveals the emotional and financial impact on Australian families coping with a parent’s death or disability.

The research was conducted in May 2015 by research company Ipsos for ANZ Wealth. The study included a mix of responses from the other parent and children at the time of death or disability.

Little warning

The key lesson from the research results is that being prepared is vital, as death or disability can strike with little warning. In fact, the research found 64% of families had less than one week’s notice prior to the parent’s death occurring, while 40% had no warning at all.
When it came to disability, families had only slightly more warning with 46% having less than one week’s warning and 33% having had no warning at all.

Effect on children

The emotional and health effects on a child whose parent has died or suffered a disability are also highlighted in the report. Following a parent’s death, 29% of children said they experienced anxiety, panic disorders, depression or abused drugs and alcohol after their parent passed away. While 41% stated that their academic performance worsened.

For the children of a parent who had become disabled, 30% reported suffering from a mental health condition at some point after their parent’s disability.

“For a long time my brother and I were forced to fend for ourselves. I had to get myself to school and cook and clean. This and all the added stress significantly affected my schooling. My brother and I both had to work as well.”

Respondent’s comment on effect of parent’s disability where family had no insurance.

Financial impacts

Naturally, there are going to be financial impacts on families affected by the death or disability of a parent. Before a death, the research found 14% of families without insurance rated their finances as “struggling”, with this figure climbing to 47% after the death of a parent.

And for families impacted by a parent’s disability, 11% of those without insurance rated their family finances as “struggling” before the disability, rising to 62% after the disability.

Three-quarters of those without cover agreed that in hindsight a life insurance policy would have helped them cope following the death of a parent.
On the positive side, the research found that carer partners in families with insurance were more likely to reduce working hours and have more time to take care of their family.

Speaking about the survey results, Gerard Kerr, Head of Life Insurance at ANZ Wealth said: “We have been heartened to see the relief insurance gave to those who were covered, but equally saddened due to the extra stress and pressure felt by those who weren’t”.

Is your family prepared? To find out more about protecting your family with life and disability insurance, contact Simon Keir today:

  • By phone on (02) 6622 5590
  • On mobile 0409 606 644
  • Email simonk@westlawn.com.au

About the report

The information referenced and quoted within this article is from research conducted by Ipsos on behalf of ANZ Global Wealth. As such, Westlawn Life Insurance, ClearView Financial Advice and OnePath Life makes no presentation to the accuracy or completeness or suitability of this information. The study was conducted online amongst members of an opt-in research panel with over 500 people participating in the online survey into the impact of death and another 375 for the survey into the impact of disability.

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