These are for guidance only. They do not override the MBF Rules which should be consulted for the definitive terms of membership.
WHAT IS THE MBF?
The NZ Airline Pilots’ Mutual Benefit Fund is a mutual fund holding NZ Inland Revenue Department SAD status (Sickness and Disability) providing assistance in the event of a member having either their NZ CAA Class 1 or CASA Medical Certificates suspended or disqualified as a result of illness, disease, injury or other medical cause. As a Mutual Fund the MBF is owned by its members. The MBF is not an insurance company and is governed by a Board of Trustees comprising Pilot Trustees, Independent Trustees and a Trustee appointed by a contributing Airline. The Fund has a set of rules that the trustees are bound by when providing assistance to members.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR LOSS OF MEDICAL CERTIFICATE COVER AND HOW MUCH COVER AM I ELIGIBLE FOR?
Who can apply for Loss of Medical Certificate cover with the MBF?
Any financial pilot member of NZ ALPA aged 60 years and under, who is the holder of either a NZ CAA Class 1 or CASA Medical Certificate.
Do I have to fly for an airline to be eligible for cover?
No – so long as you have a commercial (or ATP) licence and you are a financial member of NZ ALPA (New Zealand Airline Pilots’ Association) you can apply to join the MBF. MBF members includes the likes of flying school instructors, general aviation pilots, helicopter pilots and those pilots working for the Air NZ group of companies, Virgin, Jet Star and Jet Connect.
Is there a minimum and maximum cover that can I apply for?
The minimum cover available is $50,000 with the maximum cover available being 5 times the gross basic salary (as a pilot) with a maximum of $600,000. For existing members who are between employers a Continuous Membership of $5,000 cover may be applied for.
Is there an age restriction for joining the MBF?
Yes - On first application the member must be aged 60 years or under.
Is the Cover I can apply for dependent on my age?
No - any pilot applicant can apply for the maximum of $600,000 or 5 x their Gross Basic Salary. It should be noted that from age 55 to 65 under Rule 5(e) ii) the Capital Benefit is abated by 10% per year. Therefore at age 60 years a claimant on the Fund would have had their Capital Benefit abated by 50%.
How are my contributions to the MBF determined between ages 55 to 65 years?
The contribution rate determined applies to all members.
What does it cost?
This is what is referred to as the “contribution rate”. Currently $7/$1000 of cover for NZ CAA and CASA holders. If a member with a NZ CAA Medical Certificate has $200,000 of cover the annual contribution required would be $1400.00
Do I have to pay it all or will my employer pay for my cover?
This depends on your employment contract. In the case of the Air NZ Group of Companies, Jet Connect and Virgin the employer will pay varying levels towards your cover and the MBF will bill them directly. In the case of some other CEA’s the employer will reimburse the member once the member has paid. For other members they have to pay the entire cost themselves.
If my employer provides a reimbursement for cover can I utilise this for my MBF cover?
This depends on the member’s current employment contract. In the case of the Air NZ Jet Group CEA the insurance reimbursement can be used towards MBF cover (or GDI, GLI or a combination of these three)
What is the difference between Basic, Additional and Extra Cover and who pays what?
This depends on the members current CEA's. Some companies will pay for basic cover. The amount of basic cover will vary with the CURRENT CEA CONTRIBUTION FIGURE DIVIDED BY THE BUY RATE OF COVER. Some companies will match dollar for dollar additional cover if the pilot chooses additional cover. This amount of cover is once again dependent on the CURRENT CEA CONTRIBUTION FIGURE DIVIDED BY THE BUY RATE OF COVER. Extra Cover cost is met fully by the member.
What medical information do I need to provide?
When applying for membership the applicant must also complete a Health Declaration Form which is similar to the NZ CAA or CASA declarations. It is in the applicant’s best interests to complete the form fully and honestly as any non-disclosure may affect them should they lodge a claim in the future. Any endorsements currently noted on the applicants Medical Certificate should be backed up with either Doctors or Specialist reports, forwarded to the office at the same time as the application. Your application may be reviewed by the Funds Medical Advisor, who may come back recommending a medical exclusion be placed on your membership. (See the section on Medical Information and Exclusions for more information about exclusions)
How do I apply for membership?
Go back to the home page where an option is offered Apply for/or Increase cover. Simply complete both the Application and Health Declaration Forms, attach a copy of both sides of your current Medical Certificate hit submit. This information is received electronically in the MBF office. The office will respond advising your application has been received and the date of the Trustees Meeting that it will be presented at and indicate a date when membership may commence. After the Trustees Meeting an electronic membership pack will be sent to you advising of Membership acceptance, Membership Certificate plus a request for contributions towards you cover if required. At this point member access will be granted for the member’s only area of the Funds web-site. This will allow you to amend your personal details amongst other functions.
What happens to my cover if my salary increases?
Nothing – this is not an automatic function. If this happens the member can apply on line to increase their cover. Any increase in cover has to be approved by the Trustees and is subject to a new medical declaration.
I am an existing member and have lost my password
You can login using either your username or email address. To reset your password online use the “Forgot my Password” link. This will send a password reset to your email address. If this fails you can call the MBF office on 0800 745 623 for assistance.
DETAILS OF NZ AIRLINE PILOTS’ MUTUAL BENEFIT FUND LOSS OF MEDICAL CERTIFICATE COVER
What is a “Capital Benefit”?
The Capital Benefit is the total amount of cover to which the member may be entitled. It may be subject to exclusions or abatements. When a member receives a disability payment from the Fund their Capital Benefit decreases by this amount.
A payment comprising the remainder of the members Capital Benefit could be made available to those members that suffer a permanent loss of their Medical Certificate. (see Rule 8 for details on Capital Benefits)
If I am on sick leave or receiving ACC can I also receive income through the MBF?
Providing you have lodged a claim and this has been accepted the MBF may pay a Disability Benefit to “top up” a member’s income from ACC. This “top up” is to the level of 90% of the member’s income prior to the suspension or disqualification of their Medical Certificates.
If I lodge a claim with the MBF and this has been accepted, what happens to my Capital Benefit?
The Capital Benefit is reduced by the amount which is paid out in Disability Benefit Payments. If the member does not regain full medical fitness and their Medical Certificate has not been reinstated the Trustees at their discretion could consider paying out the remainder of the Capital Benefit less payments made. This decision is based on independent medical advice regarding the likelihood that the member will re-instate in the future.
If I make a claim for a certain illness or injury then get back to work what happens to my Capital Benefit?
In this case your Capital benefit would return to the level it was before the claim was first made. Subsequent claims would be based on that figure unless they were deemed to be a continuation of the original claim.
For example if you had $500,000 cover and were on Disability Payments for a year for a leg injury and received $50,000 from the MBF your cover, when you returned to work would be back to $500,000 Capital Benefit. Assuming you don’t increase your cover (the leg would be subject to an exclusion over $500,000) and 2 years later you suffered from a cancer you would be covered for $500,000. If, however, the leg injury caused you to have your medical certificate suspended or disqualified then the cover would be $450,000 (continuous claim so starts where it left off).
When I am receiving income from MBF, do I have to disclose other income I am receiving?
Yes you do. When a member is in receipt of Disability Benefits from the Fund, members must disclose any other income. If it amounts to more than 20% of your benefit, the Trustees may deduct that amount from your benefit. Trustees take it case by case.
Capital Benefit - the total amount that the member is covered for
Disability Payment – periodic payments of a proportion of the Capital Benefit
Maximum Disability Payment - up to the 90% of the member’s predisability income
MEDICAL INFORMATION AND EXCLUSIONS
Who sees my medical information?
The information you provide is treated in strict confidence and is only viewed by the Secretariat, Trustees, Medical Advisors and Case Managers of the Fund.
What is an exclusion?
Exclusions are for medical conditions for which you will not be covered by the MBF. They relate to any pre-existing condition which is declared at the time of the member’s application for cover. If you increase cover you may also be subject to an exclusion on the increased amount only.
The Trustees will proceed in accepting the application for membership or increase in cover but will apply an exclusion upon medical advice received to either all / or increased cover. Please view Rule 6 regarding exclusions.
For increases in cover even if an exclusion is applied your original amount of cover would not be included in the exclusion.
For example a member with $400,000 cover wants to increase to $500,000 but in the last six months they had a melanoma removed. An exclusion may be applied to the increase of $100,000 for melanoma. If a claim is made for melanoma then the member is still covered for $400,000
If I have been subject to a particular exclusion what happens if my condition improves?
A member can request exclusion removal providing the Fund with supporting medical information. This information will be forwarded for review by the Funds Medical Advisor and his recommendations will be presented at the next Trustees Meeting for their consideration. The member will be advised of the Trustees decision.
If I have had a specific illness or injury am I precluded from applying for cover?
No – however the Trustees may, upon receiving advice from Funds Medical Advisor, apply an exclusion for that particular illness or injury if there is an increased risk of recurrence.
What types of Medical Conditions or injury can I be covered for?
The MBF does not differentiate between the causes and circumstances under which a member has lost their Medical Certificate, other than Drug and Alcohol issues as the MBF have a specific Drug and Alcohol Policy to which a claimant must abide by. The amount of disability payments or the Capital Benefit to which the member may be entitled is not affected by the nature of the medical condition or injury.
MAKING A CLAIM
If I have my Medical Certificate suspended or disqualified then this will be dealt with automatically – right?
Wrong – there is no automated process that advises the MBF of your condition nor makes a claim on your behalf.
How long do I have to notify the fund following an event, which may or has resulted in the suspension or disqualification of my medical certificate?
90 days – a phone call can be the first point of contact with the office but this must be followed up with written advice. NOTE this is an absolutely inviolate rule of the Fund.
Once I am a member of the Fund – what happens if I have a Medical Condition or Injury?
If the medical condition or Injury has resulted in either the suspension or disqualification of your Medical Certificate then refer to the flowchart for the claims procedure. Either call the office requesting a claim form to be emailed through or go to the “Forms and Downloads” section of this website and download one.
After being a claimant will the medical condition or injury affect my future or existing cover?
Your current cover is not affected. However if you were to increase your cover an exclusion could be placed on that increase. For instance if you had $300,000 cover and suffered from a Heart Condition and were on claim for this condition and subsequently once your Medical Certificate was reinstated applied to increase your cover say by $200,000 you could be subject to an exclusion for Heart on this increase. A subsequent claim for a heart condition would then be accepted with a maximum Capital Benefit of $300,000
If I made a claim on the MBF then get my Medical Certificate reinstated will my Cover be affected?
No – Assuming you meet the other rules of the MBF you will remain a member and your cover would remain in place. However in the event of a recurrence of the same condition resulting once again in Medical Certificate suspension or disqualification the new claim may be deemed to be continuous. In the case of another entirely new condition resulting in a new claim the MBF would cover the member to the full extent of his/her Capital Benefit.
What is an abatement?
Unlike an insurance policy the contribution rate for the MBF remain the same regardless of the applicant’s age.
However in the case of a claim being lodged by a member over the age of 55 years an abatement process commences at 10% per year until age 65 years when no Capital Benefit remains. The monthly disability benefit paid will remain at 90% of their pre disability earnings meaning the Capital Benefit will exhaust sooner.
MEDICAL AND LIFE INSURANCE
Does the MBF provide Health and Life Insurance?
No – The MBF is not an insurance company however being a member of NZ ALPA does give the member access to (Group Life Insurance) at attractive rates. Please contact NZ ALPA for details.
Private health insurance may be available through subsidised or group schemes – please check with your employer.
The only instance where a Capital Benefit could be paid out to the members dependents is when a member in receipt of disability benefit payments dies whilst in receipt of these payments. This is at the absolute discretion of the Trustees.
ADVICE AND REHABILITATION
Does the MBF do any else other than providing financial support?
Having your medical certificate suspended or disqualified is a very distressing situation for any pilot. The MBF offers support and advice to members in this situation.
In addition the rules of the fund allow for the MBF to assist the member with rehabilitation which means that the Trustees may consider funding recommended rehabilitative measures.
Company sponsored Leave Without Pay (LWOP) and Sabbaticals.
- All members of the Pilots Mutual Benefit Fund must be a financial member of the New Zealand Airline Pilots Association.
- All members of the Pilots MBF must maintain their financial status with the Fund and ensure that all fees are paid in full.
- Any pilot taking any company sponsored sabbatical/LWOP opportunity that does not require a pilots licence MUST retain her/his full medical and hold a valid CAA or CASA licence to be able to make any claim on the Pilots MBF. Any claim is contingent on a loss of CAA or CASA licence, and so NOT MAINTAINING the appropriate professional licence will exclude a member from making any claim.
- For the purposes of a Company sponsored LWOP/Sabbatical only, the Trustees consider “ordinarily resident” to be a period of not more than two years from the date of starting such LWOP/Sabbatical. Any request for extension must be made in writing to the Trustees prior to the end of the applicable period of LWOP/Sabbatical, and such extension is at the sole discretion of the Trustees.
- Any request for LWOP/Sabbatical that is not sponsored by an employer may be considered, at the sole discretion of the Trustees.
RULE 8 Capital Benefits:
A pilots Capital Benefit calculation will not change while they are on Sabbatical or LWOP as long as their Fund contributions are maintained as required to be a financial member, appropriate for the level of cover approved by the Trustees for that member.
RULE 7 (g)i Disability Payments:
Disability payments are calculated by using the greater of:
“the members net earnings during the month immediately before the loss of licence” or: “the monthly average of the members net earnings during the 12 month period immediately before the loss of licence.
Members must understand that the present rules will provide for a reducing disability payment as the year progresses and the monthly income average decreases.
Conversely on return, a pilot will have access to disability payments after the first months net earnings under this rule.
In conclusion, a Pilots Capital benefit is unaffected, while the disability benefit reduces to zero during the first year.
It should be emphasised the Pilots MBF is not an insurer. Any member who is on LWOP or has taken a Sabbatical should ensure they have appropriate insurance cover for themselves and their loved ones.
Any Fund managed rehabilitation associated with a members approved claim must be undertaken in New Zealand.
Any member who has elected to take up a LWOP or Sabbatical opportunity will, after a period of two years from start date of said LWOP/Sabbatical, no longer be considered “effectively resident in New Zealand” and will have to apply to the Trustees for discretionary approval for continued membership.