Everyone's doing it. Apart from the insurance industry... On either side of politics, from comics to consumer companies, from Donald Trump to JK Rowling. People are using social media to engage with their audiences. Even our stodgy old political parties use social media extensively. Even more critically: they respond!
If I post a comment on a twitter stream about Air New Zealand, or Typepad, or Orlando Airport, they respond - usually within hours, often within minutes. I mention those three, because I have, and they did. Good on them all.
But the insurance industry, so wrapped up in itself, complaining about how regulators and ordinary folks don't understand, and yet - when consumers offer to engage on their terms, insurers are nowhere to be found. Take Susan Edmunds' recent article about non-disclosure. Look at the comments section and you'll see lots of this:
Insurers don't pay claims and don't want to
Insurers don't refund premium payments on avoided policies
Insurers don't ask clearly for the information that they want
Insurers don't take into account forgetfulness
Insurers don't take into account information already provided
Insurers don't take into account information they collect from your GP, they would rather hold onto it as a reason to deny a claim later
All of these are demonstrably false, wrong, or not fair on the insurance industry. Examples could be given, links provided to statistics, financial reports, and even videos of claimants posted (like the excellent Mind-the-gap series by the FSC). Why is the industry choosing to pass up this opportunity to engage with their audience? There are few exceptions: nib's CEO Rob Hennin has directly commented on LinkedIn posts, and in other media, Partners Life staff have directly commented on Goodreturns posts.
A few months back we posted this article on the blog. We had a number of advisers ask us questions as to which insurers might cover things such as tattoos and prophylactic treatments. Here are the responses we received from the insurers:
Accuro They do cover permanent nipple tattoos for women after their mastectomies, however it is not mentioned in their policy document. Temporary tattoos would be covered as it would be considered a health related appliance.
AIA They will cover the cost for temporary and permanent tattooing, but not Prophylactic treatments for breast cancer.
nib Temporary tattoos not covered. Permanent tattoos would be covered up to the surgical limit. Prophylactic treatments are currently excluded. Cover is available for accessories such as scarves, hats, wigs, and mastectomy bras under Ultimate Health Max only.
Partners Life Nipple tattooing is covered under the reconstruction benefit. At this stage there is no cover for prophylactic treatment.
Southern Cross Temporary nipple tattoos are not covered, but permanent tattoos are. Prophylactic treatment is covered after three years of continuous cover.
Sovereign Both temporary and permanent nipple tattoos are covered. Prophylactic treatment is not.
It appears that Southern Cross are the only health insurer that will cover prophylactic treatment for BRCA 1 or 2.
Here is the latest adviser update from Partners Life relating to the recent earthquake:
Please don’t forget that every Partners Protection Plan includes a guaranteed free premium holiday benefit which provides for up to 6 months premium holiday whilst maintaining full cover in the event that a life assured’s ability to work is interrupted by:
Becoming a caregiver to an ailing, immediate family member;
Death of an immediate family member;
Any other event which Partners Life agrees is the equivalent.
As was the case with the Christchurch earthquakes, we would consider any earthquake damage/outcome which interrupted a life assured’s ability to undertake their usual work (e.g. to their workplace or their own home) and where that interruption is likely to last more than 30 days to be the equivalent. We paid many such premium holiday claims following the Christchurch earthquakes and are expecting to do so again following these recent quakes.
Partners Life have announced the appointment of Andries Van Graan as the General Manager Sales. Andries will leave his current role as General Manager of Newpark Group and start his new role on the 12th of December.
Partners Life have announced a few product changes effective 1 October. They wrote:
We are pleased to bring you some exciting new products, benefit enhancements and increased commission options. The enhancements to existing policy wordings are passed back to existing clients under our Guaranteed Upgrade of Future Benefits feature. Please remember that while benefit improvements are applied to existing clients, any claims events arising before the effective date are determined according to the policy wording before the enhancements are added.
We trust these enhancements will be of great value to you and your clients, if you have any questions please contact your Sales Manager.
You can find out more about their new commission options, which includes a return to upfront medical commission of 125% with a renewal commission of 7.5% - details here. They will now allow Mortgage Repayment Cover to be based on income, read more here. Some improvements have been made to Severe Trauma and Trauma Cover conditions which can be viewed here.