Quality Product Research: Built-in versus optional benefits - how we help to keep advisers safe when preparing comparisons

Quotemonster quotes products depending on the options selected - this is then automatically passed through to the research analysis if you have a research subscription. So unlike services which only work on feature lists, we appropriately rate the product that the client has actually been quoted. This is essential to the provision of compliant personalised advice.

For example: Life Cover Buyback on Accelerated Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) was quoted approximately 900 times in March. This option allows the insured to increase their life cover, back to the original value, after they have claimed on TPD (the TPD claim amount is deducted from Life cover). Terms and conditions are unique to each provider. 

Most insurers offer Life Buyback as an optional add on and at an additional cost, some insurers, in this example Asteron Life, has this as a built-in benefit. While TPD is harder to claim on than some other products, we find this to be a significant difference that might be of interest for long term policy holders. To reflect this on Quotemonster, we note this in the premium breakdown screen and the score for this benefit will be included in the research score for companies that build it in to the product. It is much safer for users than having to remember to tick or untick the inclusion of certain features. 

New TPDWe value getting your feedback on how these wordings are being applied to claims you may be aware of. Please email us with details of any recent claims to help us update our understanding.

Doreen Dutt, Research Analyst, Quality Product Research Limited, researcher@qpresearch.co.nz

Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

3 May 2021 – Government announced that the Productivity Commission will hold an inquiry into immigration settings to ensure New Zealand’s long term prosperity and wellbeing. Relevant web links are https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/productivity-commission-inquiry-immigration-settings and https://www.productivity.govt.nz/news/inquiry-into-new-zealands-immigration-settings-confirmed/

4 May 2021 – The New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Fair Residency) Amendment Bill, which proposes to raise the minimum residency qualification for New Zealand Superannuation from 10 years to 20 years after age 20, was reported back to Parliament from the Select Committee. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_80767/new-zealand-superannuation-and-retirement-income-fair

5 May 2021 – RBNZ released the May 2021 Financial Stability Report together with an updated Capital Review Implementation timeline. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2021/05/financial-system-sound-but-vulnerabilities-remain

Southern Cross announces new product availability for advisers, and more daily news

In a package of announcements, including senior team role changes, probably the most significant is that Southern Cross has announced that their entire product set is now available to advisers to offer to their clients. 


Southern Cross has confirmed that there are now 884,000 people insured with Southern Cross. The use of CareHQ to release new products during the past few months were also noted. The enhancements of the  Cancer Cover Plus product has also been highlighted.  New group business is now the same price regardless of the channel used. A new National Sales Manager role has been created to support BDMs and Premium Partner network. Southern Cross has also noted that there is now a closer engagement between Premium Partners and the Southern Cross Executive Team. Southern Cross has announced a number of appointments, Margaret Smith has been appointed as Head of Business Engagement. Ryan Koppens has been appointed as Head of Sales Experience. Janet Osborne will continue to lead the BDM team with a focus on the Premium Partner programme. 


It has been quite some time since our last communication, Christmas and a fantastic summer have come and almost gone and we have seen much change in the last few months with more COVID-19 lockdowns in Auckland, good news in the form of the vaccine rollout and trans-Tasman travel bubble, and significant regulatory change with the introduction of the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act.


Through this period Southern Cross has continued to grow well ahead of expectations, and we now have 884k members who choose to insure their health with us. We’ve also delivered new products to market with our CareHQ virtual GP service, and our enhanced cancer care module Cancer Cover Plus.


Our support teams, front line call centre and BDM teams have all been working hard to meet your expectations as like you, we respond to a constantly changing environment. We have delivered significant change over the last few years to bring our adviser and direct channels closer together, including the following:


·       Our entire product set is now available for sale by our advisers

·       New group business opportunities are priced the same in the market regardless of channel

·       Creation of a National Sales Manager role for advisers to support the BDM team and our Premium Partner network

·       Closer engagement for our Premium Partners with the Southern Cross Executive Team


It’s vital that we deliver great customer experiences regardless of the customer’s choice of channel. So more than ever, a strong network of advisers is a priority for Southern Cross.


To that end, we are now taking further steps to support our adviser channel, and I’m excited to announce the following:


Margaret Smith has been appointed to a new role of Head of Business Engagement - many of you will remember Margaret from her time running the adviser channel.  Margaret’s remit is to strengthen our growth and align our teams in the adviser and corporate markets right across the country. Her team now incorporates all of our B2B account managers across the country.


Janet Osborne will continue to lead our BDM team, with prime responsibility for the Premium Partner programme, reporting to Margaret Smith and supported by Jamie Mellow as BDM Key Account Manager (Janet’s 2IC). We will also hire a new BDM executive to alleviate pressure on our BDMs and enable them to be more responsive to you - our Premium Partners.


Ryan Koppens has been appointed to a new role of Head of Sales Experience.  He will be picking up all of our operational and support teams that service our adviser channel and our direct sales teams.  He will also have responsibility for our customer-facing sales teams (phone-based and in-person) across Aotearoa.  Ryan’s remit is to ensure that the sales experience for our customers is always optimal, regardless of channel. 


Our goal with these changes is to support you with more dedicated and better aligned teams across Southern Cross, as well as a revitalised support structure to enable faster responses to advisers and their customers.


You can have absolute confidence that Ryan, Margaret and Janet will work together to support a unified approach to growth and a commitment to outstanding customer experiences and support. 

In other news

Fidelity Life: Fidelity Life has said that advisers must complete their accreditation before the end of June 2021

From Good returns: It's time to get serious about advice

From Good returns: [GRTV] Ballantyne talks about PI cover and industry movements

FMA: snapshot of sector

FA sector snapshot

Job opportunity: financial adviser

A Financial Advice firm on the North Shore is seeking an adviser: 


Are you the person we are looking for? Are you an experienced insurance and/or mortgage adviser who goes out of their way to help customers to make the right choice and choose the right insurance for them?

We are seeking a highly motivated and energetic person who is interested in a rewarding insurance adviser career. This role requires a high achiever with a positive and professional attitude, excellent communication skills and be self-disciplined. If you think you have what it takes and wants to be part of an already established business, then we would love to hear from you.

Who we are:
We are a well established insurance and mortgage broker with clients across NZ with our head office based in Albany, Auckland. We pride ourselves with building lasting relationships with our clients and exceptional service.

We are looking for a self -motivated person:

·         With a strong work ethic

·         Ability to develop new client relationships

·         Discuss insurance requirements with clients

·         Build your sales pipeline with high-quality leads

·         Be able to meet weekly targets

·         Ensure adherence to compliance

·         Well organised with attention to detail

·         Develop your skills with ongoing training

·         Provide quality and professional advice to clients

What you will need:

·         You will develop and nurture key relationships within a local client base and proactively recommend insurance solutions which offer maximum benefits and optimal outcomes for their needs.

·         Working closely with your colleagues you will embrace the culture of the firm and work well with team members to maximise cross sell opportunities and ensure that all client needs have been met.

·         The role will also involve generating new sales activity through establishing new client networks and a strong referral pipeline.

The ideal candidate will demonstrate a proactive, service focused attitude and
Have at least 3 years’ experience in client servicing roles in either the brokerage, financial services, or bank lending environments.
Preferably you will be at an RFA level or have at least a Level 5 Certificate in Financial Services.
A genuine passion for working with clients and delivery to their needs is an absolute must.
Must hold a valid work visa or New Zealand permanent residency to apply for this role.

What we will provide:

Leads and marketing support

·         Support of experienced and friendly administration team

·         Training, guidance and support

·         Mentoring and career growth

·         Flexible work hours

·         A great team to work with

The successful candidate will have an outgoing and positive outlook and ensure the job is done to the highest standards. You will possess the drive to surpass expectations and will focus on putting the client first.

Next steps:
If you think this is the job for you, we would love to hear from you.
Apply now or send a covering letter and CV to eugene@networkfs.co.nz 

Applicants for this position should have NZ residency or a valid NZ work visa.

Quality Product Research: (Inbuilt) Child Trauma – Part Two 

A reader has queried whether QPR takes the sum insured into account in our Research Ratings.  And the answer is yes, we do consider the amount paid by each insurer. In fact amount paid are a vital part of a value-based assessment approach - and something we capture much better than simple feature lists of benefits do. 

In trauma insurance, some companies pay the full benefit for an item, others only make a payment of 10% or 20% of the sum insured because the condition was not severe enough to warrant a full payment. Our score is varied according to how much would actually be paid. In the scenario for Child Trauma, we have a claims amount of $100,000 and calculate how much would be paid out by each insurer.  


Furthermore, based on adviser feedback we have corrected our ratings to reflect the fact that Asteron does include the option to convert their child cover to adult trauma at age 21. Interestingly, if the parent is on Trauma Recovery (TR) and considering converting their child cover to TR with Early Trauma they are required to complete an application. 


Your feedback

We value getting your feedback on how these wordings are being applied to claims you may be aware of. Please email us with details of any recent claims to help us update our understanding. 

Doreen Dutt, Research Analyst, Quality Product Research Limited, researcher@qpresearch.co.nz

Legal and regulatory review for the life and health insurance sector

30 Apr 2021 - The Council for Financial Regulators (CoFR) agreed on a common understanding of the characteristics of a vulnerable consumer. This is presented as a non-binding framework for industry when developing or reviewing the way it treats vulnerable customers. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/-/media/ReserveBank/Files/regulation-and-supervision/banks/relationships/cofr/CoFR-Consumer-Vulnerability-Framework.pdf

3 May 2021 – The NZ Police Financial Intelligence Unit released the March 2021 Suspicious Activity Report. https://www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/fiu-monthly-report-mar2021.pdf

Quality Product Research: Diabetes Mellitus (Adult) – Part Two

Following on from our previous blog post regarding Diabetes Mellitus, we would like to clarify that in the case of Type 2 Diabetes, in general insurers do not pay out upon diagnosis of this condition, the insured is required to display severe complications such as irreversible retinopathy, diabetic gangrene and/or neuropathy to be eligible for a claim payment. Type 1 is less defined, but most insurers offer partial payments upon diagnosis once the insured person is over 30. We have therefore renamed this item to “Severe Diabetes” to reflect these related complications. 

We value getting your feedback on how these wordings are being applied to claims you may be aware of. Please email us with details of any recent claims to help us update our understanding. 

Doreen Dutt, Research Analyst, Quality Product Research Limited, researcher@qpresearch.co.nz

Legal and regulatory review for the life and health insurance sector

29 Apr 2021 – The international Financial Action Task Force released its latest Mutual Evaluation Report on New Zealand’s Anti-money Laundering and Counter-terrorist Financing Measures. https://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/mutualevaluations/documents/mer-new-zealand-2021.html

29 Apr 2021 – The IRD released the corrected Special report on the Taxation (Annual Rates for 2020–21, Feasibility Expenditure, and Remedial Matters) Act 2021. https://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/publications/2021/2021-sr-arferm-act

30 Apr 2021 - Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Hon David Clark, March 2021 diary released with the following potential financial services sector related meetings noted:

  • 3 Mar 2021 – ASB (Vittoria Short, CE & Gavin Walker, Chair)
  • 3 Mar 2021 – Banking Ombudsman Event (Video conference – various attendees not listed)
  • 8 Mar 2021 – Payments NZ (Steve Wiggins, Chief Executive, Jane Retimana, GM Strategy and Corporate Affairs, Jamie Wood, Manager Clearing Systems, Sarah Hensen, General Counsel and Company Secretary)
  • 9 Mar 2021 - FinCap and NZBA Event (Speaking)
  • 11 Mar 2021 – IAG (Bryce Davies, Executive Manager Corporate Relations)
  • 17 Mar 2021 – Farmers Mutual Group (FMG) (Chris Black, CE, Dave Kibblewhite, Chief Financial, Investment & Risk Officer and Lisa Murray, Head of Compliance, Risk Quality, and General Counsel FMG)
  • 17 Mar 2021 – Financial Services Federation General Meeting (Speaking)
  • 17 Mar 2021 – Suncorp (David Flacks, Chair, Jimmy Higgins, CE, Suncorp NZ; Chris Curtain, CE, AA Insurance; Adrian Tulloch, MD Vero Liability Insurance, Hon Clayton Cosgrove)
  • 18 Mar 2021 – Tower Insurance (Blair Turnbull - CEO)
  • 24 Mar 2021 – ANZ (Sir John Key, Chair, Antonia Watson, CEO)
  • 24 Mar 2021 – BNZ (Doug McKay, Chair, Angela Mentis CE BNZ)
  • 24 Mar 2021 – Ando Insurance (John Lyon, CE Ando Insurance)
  • 24 Mar 2021 – Commission for Financial Capability (Jane Wrightson, Retirement Commissioner)
  • 30 Mar 2021 – Financial Markets Authority (FMA Chair, CE)
  • 30 Mar 2021 – Financial Markets Authority Board (FMA Board)
  • 31 Mar 2021 – Christians Against Poverty (Sam Garaway, CE, Francis Okapaleke, External Engagement Manager)
  • 31 Mar 2021 – Kiwibank (Steve Jurkovich, CE)
  • 31 Mar 2021 – Westpac (CE David McLean; Chair: Jon Dawson)

Weblink to the diary release https://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2021-04/Hon%20Dr%20David%20Clark%20Proactive%20Diary%20Release%20March%202021_0.pdf

28 Apr 2021 – Privacy Commissioner published commentary on its website titled, “That was close! How to respond when you narrowly avoid a serious privacy breach.” https://privacy.org.nz/blog/how-to-respond-privacy-breach/

29 Apr 2021 – RBNZ announced that the RBNZ has joined the Bank of Canada and the Reserve Bank of Australia forming a voluntary network to foster ongoing dialogue and raise awareness of Indigenous economic and financial issues. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2021/04/te-putea-matua-becomes-inaugural-member-of-new-international-central-bank-network

29 Apr 2021 – Treasury and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proactively released Cabinet material and advice relating to the Government’s Housing Package announced on 23 March 2021. https://www.treasury.govt.nz/news-and-events/news/housing-package-proactive-release

RBNZ reveals cyber resilience guidance, and more daily news

RBNZ has revealed that the cyber resilience guidance for regulated entities has been finalised. The guide outlines cyber resilience expectations for all entities regulated by the RBNZ. International and national cybersecurity standards were used to create the guide. The guide is designed to raise awareness and promote cyber resilience of the financial sector, with a focus on the board and senior management level of all regulated entities. RBNZ has said that the guide provides high-level principle-based recommendations for entities and is intended to be used as an overarching framework for governance and management of cyber risk. The guide can be tailored to meet the specific needs and technologies of entities.

“The Reserve Bank – Te Pūtea Matua has finalised its guidance on what regulated entities should consider when building their cyber resilience.

The guidance outlines the Reserve Bank’s expectations around cyber resilience, and draws heavily from leading international and national cybersecurity standards and guidelines. The guidance applies to all entities the Reserve Bank regulates, including registered banks, licensed non-bank deposit takers, licensed insurers and designated financial market infrastructures

The finalised guidance on cyber resilience aims to raise awareness of, and ultimately promote, the cyber resilience of the financial sector, especially at the board and senior management level of regulated entities.

The guidance provides high-level principle-based recommendations for entities and primarily serves as an overarching framework for the governance and management of cyber risk, which entities can tailor to their own specific needs and technologies, rather than as an explicitly detailed or technical set of instructions.

The intention is to illustrate current best practice and encourage continual improvement beyond these practices into all areas where entities can further strengthen their cyber resilience.” Click here to read more

In other news

From Stuff: Waiting in Pain: People without money and insurance the ones who suffer

From ThinkAdvisor: Life Coverage Gap Grows: 2021 Insurance Barometer Study


Stats NZ update data collection approach relating to sex and gender

Stats NZ has revealed that after conducting an extensive public consultation there will be a change to the statistical standard relating to how gender, sex and variations of sex characteristics data is collected and reported. The new standard will ensure that definitions and measures are consistent and that they are inclusive of the transgender and intersex population. Stats NZ has also revealed that the collection and reporting approach is based around a human rights approach.

“An updated statistical standard will inform how agencies collect and report information on gender, sex, and variations of sex characteristics, Stats NZ said today. 

The refreshed standard makes definitions and measures consistent, provides guidance for collecting transgender and intersex population data, and is grounded in a human rights approach. 

“It’s important we collect data in an inclusive way, and our process for developing the updated standard reflects this. The refresh has involved extensive public consultation, input from government agencies, international peers, and the support of subject matter experts,’’ Government Statistician and Chief Executive Mark Sowden said.” 

Advisers and insurers also collect sex and gender information. It would be good to see the same standard applied in order to allow data sets to be compared effectively. A graphic from the Statistics NZ guide is shown below to illustrate how to ask the relevant questions. It seems that for the purposes of insurance data collection the approach recommended is to ask sex as assigned at birth and also then to ask gender (as shown in the third part of step three). When underwriting cover, however, identification of intersex variations would appear to be important. Moving these from the health questionnaire to the part of the application where sex and gender questions are asked would help some respondents a great deal. This is illustrated by the additional questions suggested in step three below.  Statistics NZ Guide to collecting gender sex and variations 2021-04-29 143507

Visit our website to read this news story and the updated standard:

FMA offer insights into new regime progress, and more daily news

During a Financial Advice NZ webinar FMA director of market engagement John Botica concluded that the industry responded well to the regime change. Botica highlighted that over 3,000 financial advice providers, 10,000 advisers, and 12,000 nominated representatives are now on board. It was highlighted that there is now a steady flow of full licences applications. Botica made a note to discuss the lack of linking between advisers and FAPs on the FSPR. HE warned that it is important to link as there is the possibility of being deregistered from the FSPR from July. The assumption that the obligations of FSLAA don’t apply to the two-year transitional licence period was debunked,  it was made clear that all obligations of the new regime have been effective since March 15, 2021. Adviser website not reflecting the new disclosure rules was another issue discussed during the webinar. We offer a website review service for advisers looking to ensure they are compliant and have websites that are user-friendly. 

“Just over a month on from the start of the new regime, the FMA has shared a report card on how the financial services industry has adapted to the changes brought about by FSLAA.

Speaking at the Financial Advice New Zealand “Bring in the Experts” webinar, FMA director of market engagement, John Botica, said “The numbers tell us that [the industry] responded well.

“To see over 3,000 financial advice providers, together with 10,000 advisers and 12,000 nominated representatives tells us that the industry stepped up to the mark.”

According to Botica other factors on the positive side of the report card are that traffic of advisers applying for their full licence is starting to pick up.

“We are starting to get a good flow of full licence applications, and we are starting to see those licence approvals [coming] through which is great to see.”

But the report card was far from straight A’s.

On the negative side, Botica noted that many could be better at linking the advisers to the FAP on the FSPR.

“It is really important not to forget to do this. You really don’t want to get to the end of June and be facing the very real possibility of being deregistered from the FSPR.”

Another concern of the FMA is the misconception that the two year transitional licence period is a timeframe where the obligations of FSLAA do not apply.

Botica says, “This is just wrong. All obligations under the new regime took place on March 15. The transition period is in respect to moving to a full licence and to your approach to competency.”

The other low grade on the report card is related to adviser websites not being updated to reflect the new disclosure rules.

“Where we see genuine mistakes we will be sympathetic.” Click here to read more

In other news

FSC: Financial Services and the Climate Crisis with Hon James Shaw breakfast on May 14

FSC: FSC Connect Webinar on Cyber Security with Deloitte

Suncorp: Major insurer welcomes mandatory climate reporting

Growth in life expectancy slows - but there is plenty of room for improvement

New Zealand has relatively good life expectancy (compared to many OECD countries) but still has many opportunities to improve - estimate by our data scientist, Ed Foster, using the major causes of death occurring between age 16 and 65 show that:

If we assume there are factors which are influenceable in bringing New Zealand’s mortality rates down to that of the average of the OECD, we can say that 254 deaths could be prevented annually with 87% coming from the female population.

A huge number of those lives that could be saved are women who die from breast cancer. That's another reason why cancer care and access to non-Pharmac drugs is so important. It is also a good reason why real world data should be the underpinning for insurance product rating. 

Turning our attention to the gap to the best performing country for each of the 10 causes of death, we can see that 2,049 lives could be saved annually but now with the majority (53%) coming from the male population.

That shows that although life expectancy growth has slowed recently, see media release below from Statistics New Zealand, there remains plenty of opportunity for us to improve.  A major contributor in this larger number is road safety. Another major contributor is self-harm. Subscribers to our quarterly life and health report have access to the full analysis. 

Growth in life expectancy slows – Media release

20 April 2021

Life expectancy continues to increase, although the change over time has slowed, Stats NZ said today.

Life expectancy at birth for the population as a whole is 80.0 years for males, and 83.5 years for females, based on death rates in 2017–2019. Life expectancy for males has increased by 0.5 years since 2012–2014, and by 2.0 years since 2005–2007. Life expectancy for females has increased by 0.3 years and 1.3 years over the same time periods.

“While life expectancy is still increasing, the increase over the last few years is smaller than in the past,” population estimates and projections manager Hamish Slack said.

Visit our website to read this news story, information release, and methods paper, and to download CSV files:

Merely stating facts is not enough

In research covering more than 6,000 claims for trauma conditions across greater than 2.6 million policy years, recorded claims causes show that cancer accounted for more than 40% of male claims and more than 70% of female claims. That's a huge share. It astonishes me that claims cause was not recorded for over 1,500 claims - but this gap in the data is more likely to be due to poor /legacy management information systems, than actually paying claims without a cause, it is unlikely to affect the ratio of claims causes. 

Consider another pair of facts: in a 30 year period a male non-smoker may have about a 16% (or one in six) chance of claiming on their trauma policy. Trauma claims enjoy a high claim payment rate - it varies, but in the UK a figure of greater than 90% is common. Now consider how they interact: there is about a 1.6% chance that this person will be unable to make a claim. Trauma insurance is a good bet. 

Clients, living their lives, have little or no idea about the risks and odds. It is up to someone to tell them. What's more, if you are basing product selection decisions on long lists of things that have little or no bearing on whether a claim will be payable then the information is true, but of limited use. Weighting the features by claims likelihood is essential to helping the client make an informed decision. 

Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

28 Apr 2021 – RBNZ published its guidance on what regulated entities should consider when building their cyber resilience - given their recent experience, and I mean this, the guidance is likely to be a fair reflection of their own practice and current approach. A high level guide for supervised organisations. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2021/04/reserve-bank-publishes-cyber-resilience-guidance

Southern Cross on future of the health sector, and more daily news

Southern Cross has described the change to the public health system as a positive step towards a more aligned health care system. Southern Cross noted that although the private health sector is highly efficient at delivering elective care, the sector needs to now work together to improve the overall service New Zealanders receive from public, private, and non-governmental providers. Southern Cross has highlighted that services must adapt to meet the demands of New Zealanders. Prioritising prevention has also been identified as key to achieving the best health outcomes.

“As the largest independent healthcare delivery network in the country, Southern Cross Healthcare welcomes the reform to the public health system.

It’s a positive step towards a more aligned system comprising public, private and non-governmental providers to achieve a better, fairer and more sustainable health solution.

The private health sector has a lot to offer and is well-recognised for highly efficient delivery of elective care. Now is the time to work in a whole of sector approach to maximise the contribution all facets of the health sector towards meeting the health needs of Kiwis.

The provision of services must adapt to meet ever-increasing and evolving demand. We only need to look at the growing mental health crisis, coupled with an ageing population where people’s latter years are often lived in a state of high health need, to see a strongly collaborative approach is required to deliver more efficient and cost-effective healthcare.

New Zealand simply cannot afford to have a health system that continues to operate at the bottom of the cliff. Changes need to happen now, and prevention must be a key focus for the new strategy to achieve the best health outcomes. 

This is why Southern Cross Healthcare has evolved beyond delivering care to patients in our wholly owned or joint venture hospitals and medical facilities and is investing in areas of growing importance. We now have invested in providing preventative, community-based services including occupational health, rehabilitation and mental health support, along with clinical wellness services.

While we know this is just the beginning, we look forward to receiving more information, and continuing to work in partnership to roll out the new health system.”

In other news

In Good returns: If in doubt - disclose

Partners Life: Andries van Graan now chief of adviser distribution at Partners Life

Russell’s piece in Good returns: Bancassurance – an opportunity for advisers?

Financial Advice New Zealand: Companies Office working to ensure FSPR process is "made simpler"

Legal and regulatory review for the life and health insurance sector

22 Apr 2021 – ASIC released its set of expectations of life and general insurers following a review of insurers’ responses to consumers experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. This and vulnerable client issues are likely to be covered by the FMA over the course of the year so these expectations are well worth reviewing. https://asic.gov.au/about-asic/news-centre/news-items/asic-sets-expectations-of-life-and-general-insurers-following-a-review-of-insurers-responses-to-consumers-experiencing-financial-hardship-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

22 Apr 2021 – Department of Internal Affairs released its AML/CFT Regulatory Findings Report 2020 together with its targeted compliance assessment on reporting entities’ policies, procedures and controls for relating to politically exposed persons (PEPs). Weblinks follow:

https://www.dia.govt.nz/AML-CFT-Regulatory-Findings-Report-2020-available and https://www.dia.govt.nz/AML-CFT-Targeted-Compliance-Assessments

22 Apr 2021 – Government, Treasury and the RBNZ advised that a Cabinet decision to adopt the final measures resulting from the Reserve Bank Act Review will see drafting commence for new legislation to be known as the Deposit Takers Act. This Act will create a single regulatory regime for all bank and non-bank deposit takers (such as building societies and finance companies). It will also introduce a new deposit insurance scheme that will protect up to $100,000 per depositor, per institution in the event of a failure. Relevant weblinks follow:




nib and Blues launch nib Little Legends Little Smiles initiative, and more daily news  

nib has partnered with the Blues to launch nib Little Legends Little Smiles initiative. nib CEO Rob Hennin been described this initiative as a key component of nib’s focus to encouraging New Zealanders to prevent injury, as well as to live longer and healthier lives. The nib Little Legends Little Smiles initiative is designed to provide 1,000 custom-fit mouth guards to PIC Junior Rugby players all aged 5-12 years. The focus on prevention is evident with this initiative centring around injury and illness prevention on the game field. Hennin has said that all partnerships are intended to protect New Zealanders from illnesses and diseases, ensure that we have access to healthcare, and help us navigate the healthcare system. Hennin has also noted that nib is excited about having opportunities to work with the community.

“nib New Zealand has partnered with rugby union team The Blues to launch its nib Little Legends Little Smiles initiative - something CEO Rob Hennin said is a key part of nib’s focus on encouraging New Zealanders to prevent injury, and live longer and healthier lives.


The initiative will give custom-fit mouth guards to 1,000 PIC Junior Rugby players aged 5-12 years, and six Auckland rugby clubs are taking part in the programme.


Commenting on the partnership, Hennin said that investing in injury and illness prevention is important in preventing both short- and long-term issues, and said the focus on prevention is a key part of nib’s direction.


“It’s been a tough year for everyone, and many sports clubs haven’t been able to train or play as planned,” Hennin said.


“As the new season kicks off, we wanted to give back and ensure that our junior players are protected by the best, so they can remain healthy both on and off the field.”


“Our partnerships are all about protecting New Zealanders against the risk of illness and disease, getting them access to healthcare, and helping them navigate the healthcare system,” he explained.


“It’s also about being proactive about health and looking to prevent illness, so we’re really excited about the opportunities we have to work with the community to improve health outcomes.” Click here to read more

In other news

Accuro: Accuro support Will&Abel to embracing sustainability and eco-friendly products

Accuro support Will&Abel April 3 2021

Accuro: Gareth Fleming has appointed to the Accuro board

Willis Towers Watson: Willis Towers Watson commits to net zero

CFFC: New umbrella group to boost money know-how

AIA: Lack of Financial Literacy Linked to Under-Insurance

From interest.co.nz: Government takes feedback on board and doubles coverage of proposed deposit insurance scheme to $100k per depositor, per institution


Accuro on how COVID-19 impacted the industry, and more daily news

Accuro CEO Lance Walker has shared insight on how COVID-19 impacted the industry. Walker has noted that Accuro saw higher than usual levels of policy suspensions and lower claims during the second quarter of 2020, then higher claims towards the end of the year. Regardless, Walker highlighted that Accuro remained resilient because of the business continuity process in place. New business sales has been described as remaining at good levels during the initial COVID-19 period in 2020 and continuing into 2021. Walker has said that there has been very strong direct sales for individual policies and strong growth in group sales. Accuro has concluded that there is now a heightened awareness of the benefits of health insurance.

“The insurance industry took a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic last year, with many insurance providers and their people forced to quickly adapt to the unstable environment and address emerging risks.

Now that New Zealand has largely eradicated the pandemic, Accuro Health Insurance (Accuro) chief executive officer Lance Walker shared with Insurance Business how it impacted Accuro and the health insurance sector, the current challenges in the industry, and how to address risks.

Walker (pictured), who joined Accuro as a CEO during the COVID-19 pandemic last year, said the pandemic’s most immediate impact was that hospitals were not performing elective surgeries during the lockdown. As a result, Accuro saw lower claims during the second quarter of 2020, then higher claims towards the end of the year.


“We also saw higher than usual levels of suspensions due to financial hardship – although most of these are now reverting to paid policies,” Walker continued.

Despite the impacts of the pandemic on the sector, Walker shared that Accuro remained resilient, thanks to its business continuity processes.

“Like many organisations, the COVID-19 lockdown was a live test of our business continuity processes, and the team came through that with flying colours,” he said.

“We were able to conduct business remotely from day one with minimal impact on our levels of customer service (our levels of customer satisfaction remained above 90% for the 2020 year). This remote working model has continued post-COVID-19, with many of our team now choosing to work from home from time to time in line with our flexible working policies.”

Accuro’s new business sales also remained at “good levels” through both the initial COVID-19 period in 2020 and continuing into 2021.

“In particular, we have seen very strong direct sales in the individual space and strong growth in group sales,” Walker said.

“Our conclusion is that COVID-19 has heightened awareness of the benefits of health insurance – both for individuals and employers (who are even more focused now on employee health and wellbeing).”  Click here to read more

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Legal and regulatory review for the life and health insurance sector

19 Apr 2021 – Dentons Kensington Swan advised that the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had consulted private sector stakeholders on an update to FATF guidance on the risk-based approach to virtual assets and virtual asset service providers, with consultation having opened on 19 March 2021 and with submissions closing on 20 April 2021.


20 Apr 2021 – APRA and ASIC released a Life Insurance Claims and Disputes Statistics publication, covering a rolling 12-month period from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020. https://www.apra.gov.au/news-and-publications/apra-and-asic-publish-latest-data-on-life-insurance-claims-and-disputes-3

21 Apr 2021 – FMA media release stating that it was warning the funds management industry to avoid advertising large investment returns for the 12-month period to March 31, 2021, as this could mislead investors. https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/media-releases/advertising-investment-returns-could-mislead-investors/

21 Apr 2021 – MBIE opened consultation on outstanding aspects of the upcoming regime governing conduct in the financial sector, including consulting on regulations covering matters such as requirements for claims handling and complaints processes, prohibitions of certain types of sales incentives, and the treatment of intermediaries, with submissions closing on 4 June 2021. https://www.mbie.govt.nz/about/news/consultation-opens-on-additional-measures-in-new-financial-conduct-regime/

21 Apr 2021 – Parliamentary website updated for the Financial Sector (Climate-related Disclosures and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, showing submission closing date as 28 May 2021 and report date as 16 Aug 2021. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_109905/financial-sector-climate-related-disclosures-and-other

21 Apr 2021 – IRD advised that it has identified several errors in the recent special report on the Taxation (Annual Rates for 2020–21, Feasibility Expenditure, and Remedial Matters) Act 2021, and is currently in the process of updating it. An updated version will be published by early next week. https://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/news/2021/2021-04-21-updates-required-special-report

Quality Product Research: Medical - major review process commenced for Medical Amount Scores


Medical costs in our country continue to rise significantly causing increases to Health Insurance. In New Zealand, the medical inflation rate is estimated to be around 9-11%

Although we update the amount scores with every product change it is time we reviewed all our medical amount scores.

We have therefore started the process of a major review.

Theme of review

The themes of this review are:

  1. A focus on how claims scenario differs between males and females
  2. Revising to ensure a clear and concise scenario used across all insurers

Review process

  • We have alerted advisers and insurers to our plan to do a review and asked for data on the themes above. Changes will be based on our view of all the information sent to us.
  • We will then publish our proposed scenario openly for feedback.
  • Further changes may be made at this stage.

Timeline for review

April – advise review started

May – review claims information

June – consult on claims scenario

July – implement revised scoring

Your feedback

We value getting your feedback on how these wordings are being applied to claims you may be aware of. Please email us with details of any recent claims to help us update our understanding.

Doreen Dutt, Research Analyst, Quality Product Research Limited, researcher@qpresearch.co.nz