GDP per capita measures the average income per person in a country.... As you explore the health data you'll find this Map and Chart a useful tool. Use it to add perspective to various causes of death throughout the world.
The options paper is encouraging. A measured approach, well-targeted, and looks like good coverage of the issues. Obviously there are many details about which reasonable people may disagree. Some things are left undone. On the path to a better financial services sector much of this looks like the right next steps.
I shall write a detailed review shortly, and share that with clients first in our quarterly life industry review, but I felt that I should recognise the good work that has obviously gone into this. Clearly that's the perspective of someone soaked in the insurance part of the overall sector. I hope the investment folks find as much encouragement. I shall get briefed on that properly when I meet to review the document with Rob Dowler.
This article from interest.co.nz has David Caygill, former Labour Finance Minister, reflecting on the lessons learned from the Canterbury earthquakes as he reviews the new Fair Insurance Code.
“Please, please stay in touch with your customers. The worst aspect of the last five years has been the long silences. The periods of months at a time where you could get no sensible answer at all.” Caygill says.
RGA has this new report on e-cigarettes. They don't like them, and while research evidence remains thin, it looks like even non-smokers should not like them either. The surprising item for me was that the report suggests that far from producing nothing but water vapour in the atmosphere there is a cocktail of chemicals that can affect people around the person using the e-cigarette in ways which are similar to the consumption of second-hand smoke - just less noticeable. Link.
MBIE's options paper on proposed change for the FAA is available at this link.
This page also includes details for the submission dates for your feedback on the options. Do take a look at it and make a submission. I notice that in goodreturns several advisers are asking people to talk to the regulator, while the folks at the FMA are always happy to engage with people in the industry you should respond to the options paper to MBIE.
Press release from Southern Cross released 10th November 2015:
The sun-smart message isn’t fully getting through to parents with over half (51%) admitting their children have been sunburnt, according to a survey by Southern Cross.
The survey into the living habits of Kiwis, conducted by TNS, has revealed the most common places for kids to get sunburnt is the beach or park (55%), school (23%) and home (23%).
Southern Cross Health Society CEO Peter Tynan says this is a worry as New Zealand is home to some of the world’s highest levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation and has an already high rate of skin cancer.
In 2014 Southern Cross funded 49,232 skin procedures at a cost of over $41 million.
“The Skin Cancer foundation say one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person's chances of developing melanoma, so it pays to be extra careful, especially when dealing with young skin.”
The survey also showed that: 58% of Kiwis get sunburnt each year – rising to 72% for those under age 40 38% of those under age 30 sunbathe on holiday 22% of males don’t use sunscreen at all
“We know it only takes a few minutes in the sun to get burnt – yet only 26% of people said they use sunscreen at least once a day.
“This could be due to myths about sunscreen causing cancer instead of preventing it, or simply because people are covering up more, or trying to keep out of the sun.”
The survey was conducted on behalf of Southern Cross who is looking into the living habits of Kiwis as part of its sponsorship of the new TVNZ show Kiwi Living.
“We want to get Kiwis motivated and making small changes that pay long term dividends with their health and wellbeing,” says Tynan.
OnePath has made some changes to pricing for selected business insurance and medical insurance contracts. Also announced are some technical wording changes, changes to quote software, and a package of price comparisons. Quality Product Research Limited will review the product documentation changes in detail and update ratings where required, but no rating change is anticipated based on the release notes.
What if there was a handy list of all the tests you have ever been for and all the drugs you were ever prescribed. On its own, without diagnostic notes, this information could help someone completing an application for insurance a very great deal. For the underwriter they would be a fantastic resource.
Well, such a database exists, it just happens to be really, really, hard to get your information out of it. Deliberately and pointlessly hard, in fact. I'm an advocate for access to your own data (and data held about you, by your government, is your data).
So I was pleased to find buried in this article about the TPP by Brian Easton a series of points calling for government to make it easier to use your own data. It is a good idea - and there must be dozens, if not hundreds, of consumer use cases for better data access across the many data bases held by government.
It would be good for local innovation and economic growth too.
Robo-advisers currently have about $20.1 billion in worldwide assets under management for new entrants, according to Switzerland-based research firm MyPrivateBanking. Total U.S. investable assets at $33.5 trillion.
Milton Jennings has announced that Fidelity Life has also decided to quit the FSC. Some comments from the goodreturns article includes:
"We welcome any review of the industry that brings about a better outcome for consumers and encourages the use of advisers to buy financial products. To support this we are progressing the set-up of an industry forum which will bring together like-minded insurance professionals to work together and ensure positive outcomes for the industry and ultimately protect consumers with a reputable, unbiased, industry-wide advice model."
He said the advice channel was valuable to consumers.
On the weekend I got to read the ‘Review of Retail Life Insurance Advice’ report prepared for the Financial Services Council (FSC). Prepared by MJW, the report does not, in my opinion, meet the goal of reviewing the conflicts of interest in the sale of life insurance across channels.
Like AIA, Asteron Life, and Partners Life, and the PAA, I feel that the report does not present a balanced view. It seems a decision was taken early in the development of the report to focus on one aspect of one channel: commission paid to RFAs. Average commissions are, in fact, substantially lower than the example given, when you look at it top–down from company accounts or bottom up from the mix of business advisers actually sell. That selection means the higher margins in vertically integrated channels which must logically also be a conflict, were ignored, for reasons unexplained.
I was disappointed that a report which is supposed to review advice shared no data or discussion on what constitutes good advice or bad. A comparison of premiums and policy features between commission-bearing channels and those that pay no commission would have been a useful test of whether commission-paid advisers add value. Such a comparison would show that advisers do add value.
Likewise absent was any example of actual customer harm. The report also ignores problems which have been identified around customer confusion over labels. Others have already labelled this single focus as bias. It also appears contrary to the idea of being ‘customer-centric.’ A comparison like this would focus us on exactly what kinds of switching needs to be regulated.
The report focuses on one piece of data: switching rates. In passing it notes that not all switching is bad, but doesn’t offer any definition of a ‘good switch’ or a ‘bad switch’. Many switches help customers save money or get better policies.
Evidence which could have been included on a comparison of channels was either not considered, or left out. These gaps make it difficult to do any cost/benefit assessment of the recommendations.
I like Rod Severn’s comments from the PAA:
"Some good recommendations, but let down by unbalanced view of replacement business and the value of advice."
Like Rod, I agree with some of the recommendations. Here’s your digest of links to commentary on the report:
In some parts of the world Alcohol causes more deaths than smoking, but consumption data isn't always an accurate reflection of that reality. Use these interactive Charts and Maps to create your own world view.
Partners Life Informed Adviser (link) highlights the following:
"The important elements of a good file note are: File/client name; Date, and start and finish time, of the discussion or meeting; Who was present at the meeting or discussion; How the discussion took place, eg: physical meeting or via phone; and A detailed description of what was discussed and any advice given or decisions taken. Good communication is good compliance, and good compliance demonstrates a high degree of professionalism"
Failure to keep good records is a breach of the Code of Professional Conduct for Authorised Financial Advisers (Code standard 12). Although most insurance advisers are not bound by the Code, it is a good idea to act as if you are.
The most powerful moment of the Mind The Gap campaign launch yesterday was almost missed, but Diana Clement, our host for the event picked up on it.
Lynda Smardon from the Ministry of Social Development joined us to outline the state help available in the event of disability arising from illness. She pointed out that help is means tested. The level of a partner's income at which no main benefit is payable is $30,212. Other help, such as accommodation supplements can be available but these depend on circumstances and vary regionally.
Our research shows that these are rarely paid. The single biggest issue is that the market for insurance is dominated by two-income households. As soon as your partner earns more that $30,212 you receive no main benefit. We developed an info-graphic to illustrate a case study and the levels of state help available and wherever we went the content was challenged, because most of the numbers were "$0" - many advisers could not believe how little help would be available.