How NIB uses BIG DATA to rip-off small kids…

Continuing on this week’s posts about the rotten attitude of insurance brands towards the people who pay their salary – their customers – here’s how NIB lets any telephone sales clerk access your children’s personal medical records.

I’m an NIB customer – well my whole family is covered under some family policy. Each year they increase the cost and reduce the service. They advise this using weasel words and deceit, as I’ve shared before.


Recently my 13 year old daughter went on a holiday with friends to the UK/Europe. Yes I know what you’re thinking dear reader, I went camping two hours up the coast at her age. The highlight being catching prawns with my father in the full moon run at midnight, at The Entrance – but I digress.

midnight prawning
Midnight prawning at The Entrance

We obviously needed to get travel insurance. NIB offer discounts to customers, so my bride rang them.

The sales clerk started asking a few questions and when my bride got to the part about ski cover, the clerk opened my daughter’s medical records and poured through them – all without permission of course – unless it was covered in some double-speak in the recorded message at the start of the phone call?

How can a sales clerk have the right to inspect children’s personal medical records? What a BIG DATA abuse.

file clerk

She noted my daughter had injured her leg a couple of years ago. And she was right. My daughter broke her ankle. But she was treated professionally in hospitals, by surgeons, nurses, specialists, physios and the like. In fact NIB paid the physiotherapy bills we received for treatment of the injury.

The sales clerk claimed this old fully-healed injury qualified as a pre-existing condition, so the policy would cost an additional $90.


My bride explained the injury had healed. My daughter has since gone skiing, plays hockey, basketball and runs cross country. But none of that mattered, because this clerk has now labelled it a pre-existing condition.

If you believe that ridiculous notion, then there isn’t an NIB customer who hasn’t a pre-existing condition. In fact, nobody on the planet could be insured as we all have pre-existing conditions.

I broke a toe when I was 7 years old. Does that mean I cannot get travel insurance? Imagine if I was to trip over while in a foreign country – it could be linked to my pre-existing condition? I could get an injury in the snow on a trip to Queenstown – it could be related to me getting hit by a snow ball in 1978, an obvious pre-existing condition.


One has to ask NIB – do you trust the medicos to heal patient’s injuries? After all, they study for years at university to become doctors. And you pay the gap in the medical bills to your customers, so you must have some confidence in their ability to heal wounds and injuries?

Or NIB, do you believe the medicos can’t do what they’re trained to do and fix injuries? Do you believe they are incompetent and just pay their bills because, well, that’s the system?

Either way, allowing sales clerks to access a child’s personal medical history, so you can screw them out of a few bucks on a travel insurance policy, is a low grubby act at best. You need to respect people’s (particularly children’s) privacy and stop fabricating lies to make money out of non-existing conditions.

How do you people sleep at night? Maybe you could bottle it and give it to people who struggle with pre-existing insomnia?


Some of you may know NIB loves its marketing jargon (and reality TV too) – it even has its very own hashtag #itsgoodtobehuman. As against #itsgoodtobealien? Or #itsgoodtobemammal?

If they really want people to believe their marketing speak, they should change it to #itsbadtobeaNIBcustomer. I’m sure the whole population – those people with pre-existing conditions – would believe them.

The only good thing to come from this was getting a cheaper policy from another insurer. They didn’t consider falling over as a kid to be a pre-existing condition to living a healthy life.

© Malcolm Auld Direct Pty Ltd 2022 | Commercial In Confidence

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