Income Protection Insurance for Miners in Australia

Published: January 9, 2019

The mining industry is vital to Australia. According to The Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business, over 242,000 Australians are employed in the industry, which is around 1.9% of the total workforce (2018).

With the median age of people employed in the mining sector being 39 years old, it’s no surprise that many are looking to protect their income, so they can keep providing for themselves and their families if they aren’t able to work because of accidents or sickness.

Several life insurance companies provide mining insurance policies to protect the income of most types of miners in this highly regarded sector.

Buy Income Protection Directly

Policy Maximum Monthly Benefit Percentage of Income Covered Benefit Period Waiting Period  
NobleOak Direct Income Protection AIA
2 years or up to age 65
30 or 90 days
Receive up to 75% of your monthly income with Income Protection Insurance. Cover essential living expenses when you’re unable to work due to an illness or injury. Consider the PDS. Issuer is NobleOak Life Limited ABN 85087648708. AFSL 247302.

Can miners get income protection insurance?

Generally, yes select insurers do offer income protection for Australians working in the mining industry. However, it depends on how the insurer rates your specific occupational class based on the level of risk you're exposed to, as well as other individual variables — for example, your age, gender, general health, smoking status and the state you live in.

Income protection usually provides a monthly benefit of up to 75% of your income if you can’t work for a specified period because on an illness or injury.

The occupational rating generally associated with the mining industry is usually categorised as:

  • Works in an office, no fieldwork, for example: Geologist doing office work only, clerk, mine deputy, and mine manager.
  • Primarily works in an office, but might require some travel, for example: Assayer and maintenance supervisor.
  • Involving some manual duties and use of light machinery, for example: Dump truck driver, crane driver/operator, electronic technician, mine deputy doing field work, an explosive handler for hard rock or soft rock*.
  • Requiring heavy manual work or where there's a significant risk of accidents, for example: Soft rock underground driver/operator, soft rock underground fitter/turner, and soft rock underground foreman.

*Depending on the insurer’s underwriting guidelines, an exclusion or loading may apply. While one company might offer you income protection at standard rates, another might require you pay an extra premium for the same level of cover or might exclude cover when working with explosives, because of the increased risk the company is taking on.

There might also be specific mining insurance group coverage available from your employer. However, these policies might not be suitable to your personal requirements.

It is very important that you shop around and compare policies from some of Australia’s major insurance companies and speak with an insurance specialist that can assist you in finding cover suited to your requirements.

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Benefit amount and benefit period available to miners

Generally, income protection policies are available to Australians working in the mining industry, but it depends on your specific job. You'll usually have a choice between an indemnity or agreed value income protection insurance.

Indemnity: This policy type usually requires that you provide proof of income at claim time, and not at application time. Your monthly benefit will usually be calculated on the income you’ve earned the 12 months before your accident or illness. However, some companies will take the best 12 months over a specific period, for example, the previous two years.

Agreed value: You’ll have to provide financial evidence of your income at application time, and the coverage amount will then be agreed to upfront, essentially locking in your monthly benefit.

Most of the mining occupations that are eligible to receive income protection coverage are generally able to get a 2-year or 5-year benefit period, with select occupations eligible to receive benefits up until your age 60 or 65, depending on your skill level and years of experience.

How income protection insurance for miners get assessed

When the select insurers offer income protection insurance for miners, they will generally consider the following:

  1. Your day-to-day working activities.
  2. Whether you work underground or in open-cut mining.
  3. If you use or are in close contact with explosives.
  4. Hard rock mining or soft rock mining.
  5. Occupation title and duties required.
  6. Hours worked in a standard work rotation (e.g. 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off).
  7. If you work on a fly in, fly out condition.

How your high-risk mining occupation might affect your insurance premiums

The more dangerous your occupation and risk of injury or illness, the more likely it is that the insurer will request that you pay a higher premium. Underground miners that are exposed to explosives will generally have more expensive premiums than a miner working above ground where no explosives are used.

Examples of income protection insurance rates for miners

Mining industry occupations Average monthly premium
Geologist (office work only) $29.93
Geologist (field work more than 10%) $51.47
Engineer (above ground only) $32.38
Engineer (underground work) $60.70
Explosives handler (surface) $97.49
Driver/operator (surface, with explosives) $121.32
Explosives handler (underground) $175.32
Source: ComparingExpert comparison engine (December 2018)

The above monthly premiums were calculated on 39-year-old male living in Western Australia purchasing $60,000 worth of income protection Indemnity cover on a stepped premiums structure.

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Can you get life insurance for underground miners?

Generally, it is possible to get life insurance for miners. Life insurance pays your nominated beneficiaries a lump sum benefit if you pass away or get diagnosed with a terminal illness. As a person working in a higher risk occupation, purchasing life insurance might be a good idea to help make sure your loved ones are financially protected should something happen to you.

However, the cover you'll be provided and the premium you'll pay will largely depend on your specific duties, and each insurer will assess your life insurance application differently. It might be worthwhile gathering and comparing quotes.

Take note; life is unexpected, you might pass away or get injured or sick because of things that happen outside of work too.

TPD and trauma insurance for miners

Because of the health risks associated with your occupation, you might want to consider also purchasing Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) cover and Trauma insurance.

TPD insurance

Pays a lump sum payment if you are totally and permanently disabled, as defined by the insurer, because of an illness or injury.

Generally, as a person working in the mining industry, you might only be able to get ANY Occupation TPD coverage. Meaning, if you are deemed totally and permanently unable to work in any occupation which you are reasonably suited to by way of education, experience or training, then your claim will generally be valid.

Trauma insurance

Provides a lump sum benefit if you get diagnosed with one of the critical illnesses listed in your product disclosure statement (PDS), for example, lung cancer or heart attacks.

Most common health risks associated with the mining industry

  • The stress placed on your body from manual work, which could lead to musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Blasting related accidents when working with or around explosives.
  • Chemical hazards for example chemical burns and poisoning.
  • Being hit by moving objects, machinery or flying debris.
  • Respiratory health problems, like miner's lungs.
  • Hearing damage for those working with or around loud machinery.
  • Skin cancer for those working above ground with the risk of over-exposure to sunlight.
  • Thermal stress when working in very hot and humid conditions

Frequently asked questions and answers

Will my life insurance policy payout for all mine-related accidents?

It depends on the insurer you’ve chosen and the terms and conditions of your policy. It’s vital that you carefully review your product disclosure statement (PDS) to fully understand what you are and are not covered for.

Will there be any exclusions or loadings on my policy because of my job?

Depending on your specific job requirements and the level of risk associated with your occupation, your mining insurance policy might have certain exclusions and loadings attached to it.

Do I need to insure with a specialised insurer because I am a miner?

Working in the mining industry generally means facing the possibility of exposure to certain risks, for example, fire eruptions, equipment malfunction and being hit by flying debris, which is why you might need insurance coverage from an insurance company that has the specialised skill and understanding regarding your specific occupation.

However, you're free to shop around and compare policies from different life insurance companies in Australia, so you can choose one that best suits your requirements. Speak with an insurance specialist that can offer some guidance.

Do I still need income protection if I have workers' compensation?

While workers' compensation might pay a lump sum amount should you get injured while at work, the benefit might not be enough to provide for you and your family while you're recovering. Income protection, on the other hand, might provide a more substantial monthly benefit and while it protects you from injuries and illnesses occurring at work, it generally also includes coverage for sickness and accidents outside of work.

Whether workers’ compensation will be sufficient, depends on your specific requirement. If you need assistance, please contact us and speak with an insurance specialist.

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