Asutralia: AIA Group considers Australian legacy products, and more daily news

It is being reported that AIA group is considering selling legacy life insurance products in Australia.  Resolution Life is reported to be the possible purchaser. AIA Group and Resolution Life have not commented. Manuel Baigorri and Harry Brumpton of Bloomberg report:

“Asian insurance giant AIA Group Ltd. is considering selling some life insurance legacy assets in Australia as part of its strategy to streamline its portfolio, according to people familiar with the matter.

Closely-held Resolution Life has emerged as the likeliest buyer for certain policies related to AIA’s acquisition of Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s life insurance business, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. A transaction could help Hong Kong-based AIA raise a few hundred million dollars, they said.

AIA has been working with a financial adviser on the disposal, which had also drawn interest from other bidders including private equity firms, the people said. Considerations are still ongoing and no final decision has been made, they said.

Representatives for AIA and Resolution Life declined to comment.

AIA bought CBA’s life insurance business in a A$3.8 billion ($2.7 billion) deal announced in 2017, marking the most ambitious foray beyond the company’s core markets in Asia at the time.

Resolution Life focuses on the acquisition and management of portfolios of life insurance policies, according to its website. Since 2003, it has invested more than $17 billion of equity in the purchase, reinsurance, consolidation and management of life insurance firms. It has operations in Bermuda, the U.K., the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.” Click here to read more

In other news

nib: clients that sign up for either an Ultimate or Easy Health policy using nibAPPLY before 28 February 2022 will be given two months free, after they’ve paid for their first month

AdviceFirst: Brent Hunt promoted to Head of Wealth Management Advice

From Good returns: Did your client understand your advice?


New Year, new research: expanded and updated research database and product range details...

The Quotemonster team is back on deck for the new year and ready to support your quoting and Research needs.

On our last day of business, we uploaded database version 14.7 to Quotemonster which contained the following changes:

> Fidelity’s range of enhancements effective 15 November 2021  

  • Updated policy wording, brochures, and application forms are also available in the “Documents” tab within your Research comparison screen   
  • Funeral Fund was withdrawn from this date however a static Research rating for this can be found in your "Research Tools" tab 
  • More information on these enhancements can be found here 

> Updates to our Research include:

Within Trauma:

  • Chronic Lung Disease
  • HIV Medically Acquired renamed to HIV

Within Medical:

  • Specialist Consultation – (minor correction to guide score)
  • Imaging
  • Mental Health
  • Physiotherapist (applies to Southern Cross Wellbeing 2)

> Updates to our website include:

  • Research for Life Income/Family Protection has been enabled for AIA, Cigna, Fidelity, and Partners Life

And the biggest upgrade will be an entire site refresh scheduled for early 2022!

Happy Crunching!  


People with Covid-19 jabs have been less likely to die of other causes

The Economist has this report on a very large sample data investigation into all forms of mortality for people who have been jabbed against COVID-19 compared to those who have not. This is unlikely to be a direct effect of the vaccine, it is much more likely to be a consequence of sorting: 

"Large observational studies can give unparalleled insights into the safety and efficacy of vaccines across diverse populations. However, real-world data is never perfectly controlled. It seems all but certain that some still-invisible difference between people who get the vaccine and those who do not, rather than some unknown benefit of the jab, is to thank (or blame) for the vaccine’s correlative effects. Jabs are not immunisations against mortality."

 


Obesity and the burden of non-communicable diseases

A recent study of the cost of excess weight in New Zealand finds that the extent of obesity here costs us about $2b a year: The cost of excess weight in NZ | Newsroom It is well worth a read. Obesity is a known driver for a variety of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer. The disease burden is large and the costs - both direct and in-direct were always going to be large too. To put that $2bn into perspective, it is about 8% of the total health budget. Cutting this figure would substantially reduce the number of early deaths we experience - by hundreds each year. 

We should be interested in how to get from here to there. Our obesity rate at just over 30% is not so far behind the USA at 36% and is significantly larger than the UK's at about 27%. Our goal should be to get down to a level more in line with, say, France, at just over 20%. Given the estimated costs of obesity, that drop could save us $700m a year. It would extend the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, improving, in turn, the lives of their families and communities. 

But we cannot win this prize by blaming or shaming people who are obese. It does no good. It also fails to address the context of the problem. I spent a substantial part of my life being overweight - people that dared point it out got the cold shoulder. In the end, I decided to change, but it takes a lot of effort to push against the dominant context which is that eating and drinking too many calories is normal. More than anything else that affects our behaviour, it is what people around us do that matters most. That is a complicated project which may take decades. 


Business planning: first, subtract

That's right, start by removing something from your business, rather than adding something. Originally this concept was introduced to me about twenty five years ago by a business coach who was helping me with time management. It came as something of a revelation to me to begin with the question "what will you cut out this year?" Looking at the diary for an individual this is an iron rule. Each person only gets 24 hours a day. Of course, I could delegate, or hire more people, but already that assumes I will stop doing something and make that the responsibility of someone else. You get the picture. 

Recently I was reminded of the concept by a couple of tweets by Ethan Mollick, a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship. The first was a reminder that Han Solo is just a cowboy without a hat. It might strike you as a silly example, but in the crowded world of entertainment Han Solo has become one of the most recognisable and loved characters. In this important, visual dimension, he is less than his predecessors. Something was removed to make him look different, in this case, the hat. Over time our services often become more complex as we add things in order to deal with new situations that arise or cater to new groups of customers. That creates plenty of room to create new services by reducing complexity. It is worth exploring. Also, you have a lot of freedom to invent micro-services, or easy 'building block' approaches to financial planning that could even be gamified. Imagine a full review completed in a series of micro-steps each of which only takes about five minutes.

The subtraction game can also be applied to your internal team. Perhaps there have been too many meetings? Too many projects? Too many people invited to each meeting. If you are not sure you can ask. Which meeting could you treat as optional? Which meeting would each staff member rather happened fortnightly rather than weekly and so on. This can be a useful tool to tackle presenteeism and performative work culture. 

This year, before I ask what can be added to the business, I am going to be checking what can be subtracted first. Debits necessarily come before credits. The time and focus I give new projects this year has to come from somewhere. It's about creating room to breathe. 

 


RBNZ appoints three Assistant Governors, and more daily news

RBNZ has announced that Sarah Owen, Kate Kolich and Greg Smith have been appointed as Assistant Governors as part of the refreshed structure of the executive team. Sarah Owen will begin her role as Assistant Governor and General Manager of Risk Compliance and Legal Services, in March 2022. Kate Kolich will take on her role of Assistant Governor and General Manager of Information, Data and Analytics in February 2022. Greg Smith will leave his existing role as Acting Head of Risk to take up the role of Assistant Governor and General Manager of Finance and Commercial Operations.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has named three new assistant governors – Sarah Owen, Kate Kolich and Greg Smith.

The appointments were made after a robust recruitment process as part of the plans for the expanded and refreshed structure of the executive leadership team, RBNZ said. This follows the central bank’s announcement in October of plans to bolster its overall capability and capacity.

Kolich will take up the new role of assistant governor and general manager of information, data and analytics in February. She will be responsible for managing and expanding the bank’s knowledge, information management, data, statistics and analytics functions.

“The role will ensure that the bank’s information and data strategy, policy, and processes are future-focused and robust to support evidence-based decision-making across the bank,” RBNZ governor Adrian Orr said. “Kate brings with her a wealth of senior leadership experience within data and analytics. Most recently, she has been leading the evidence, insights and innovation group at the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. Kate also has almost 20 years financial services experience leading data teams at Bank of New Zealand. For the last four years she has been the New Zealand Ambassador for Women in Data Science, encouraging more women into the field of data science and analytics. We are privileged to have Kate join us.”

Owen will be the first assistant governor and general manager of risk compliance and legal services, beginning in March. She will also take on the roles of RBNZ’s chief risk officer, chief privacy officer and anti-money laundering officer.

“Sarah is joining us from the Guardians of NZ Superannuation, where she is part of their senior leadership team as general counsel and general manager of corporate strategy,” Orr said. “She will look after our risk, compliance and legal services functions. This will include leading the ongoing development of our fit-for-purpose enterprise risk and compliance framework for RBNZ and will ensure we are risk-conscious across all our functions. We are pleased to have someone of her calibre join us at Te Pūtea Matua.”

Smith was appointed assistant governor and general manager of finance and commercial operations. He joined RBNZ in July and is currently the acting head of risk. A chartered accountant, Smith has an extensive background in finance and professional services. Prior to joining RBNZ, Smith was the chief financial officer and company secretary for Steel and Tube Holdings Limited. He will succeed Mike Wolyncewicz, who will leave in May 2022 after 21 years with RBNZ.

“Greg will be leading our finance and commercial operations group,” Orr said. “He will also oversee the framework for commercial procurement, the deposit insurance scheme, asset management, and our property and facilities strategy. Since joining the bank, Greg has been involved in crucial bank-wide projects that have risk intersects, such as the Reserve Bank Act implementation.” Click here to read more

In other news

From Insurance Business Mag: FAP Services introduces insurance boss as first Wellington member

Swiss Re: COO stands down as Swiss Re announces major reshuffle


More insurers share views on COVID-19 data and vaccinations, and more daily news

Head of Asteron Life, Grant Hill has announced that Asteron Life and its reinsurers have decided to monitor the long-term effects of COVID-19. Hill noted that they still need more data to ensure they implement effect underwriting processes.  

Similar to Asteron Life, AIA has said that they will monitor the situation, although acting CEO Sharron Botica has noted that new customers are not currently required to disclose whether they have had a vaccination against COVID-19. Botica has said that the underwriting approach will not change without new evidence.

Simon Tohill , General Manager of Strategy and Marketing has said that it is too early to understand the implications of the Government’s decision to transition from the elimination strategy to living with Covid-19.

Chief Insurance Officer Kath Johnson has said that Fidelity Life has decided treat existing unvaccinated and vaccinated customers equally. New customers will not be asked about their vaccination status and financial hardship support will continue to be offered.

“Head of Asteron Life Grant Willis says Asteron and its reinsurers are closely monitoring the medical developments around Covid-19 and its long term impacts.

"At this stage, we need more data to inform any decisions on how we underwrite for it in future.

"Kiwis tend to be under-insured when it comes to life and income protection type covers, and we think it’s important that New Zealanders know that there are still options for them when it comes to personal insurance, even if they have suffered from Covid-19 or other major health issues.

"Covid-19 has created a lot of uncertainty and hardship for many New Zealanders, and we have worked hard to ensure that our customers can keep and feel confident in the insurance they have purchased from Asteron Life."

Willis says Asteron has not applied any blanket exclusions for Covid-19 and have offered a range of support options to help customers keep their insurance cover in place through short-term periods of financial vulnerability.

AIA NZ acting chief executive Sharron Botica says AIA does not ask new customers to disclose their Covid-19 vaccination status as part of its underwriting process.

"We continue to monitor the developing situation, but at this time there is no new information that would cause us to change our current underwriting approach," she says.

General manager of strategy and marketing for Cigna New Zealand, Simon Tohill says it's also too early for them to "...fully assess the impact of the Government’s recent change in strategy from elimination to living with Covid-19.

Fidelity Life's chief insurance officer Kath Johnson says as a customer-led business Fidelity aims to give its customers certainty in an uncertain world.

"We currently have no plans to treat existing unvaccinated customers any differently to vaccinated customers and we don’t currently ask new customers if they are vaccinated.

"We continue to provide financial hardship support to our customers who need it, including as a result of Covid-19.

“In relation to potential underwriting changes in the future, we’ll make any decisions based on facts. Together with our reinsurers, partners and our industry body the Financial Services Council, we’ll keep monitoring medical developments closely, including the long term impacts of Covid-19.” Click here to read more

In other news

From The Spinoff: For many New Zealanders, Covid-19 will be a lifelong disease

FMA: FMA clarifies Wisdom House FAP cancellation decision

Strategi: Training opportunity with Strategi’s AML/CFT expert


Impact of AIA Vitality Business and Community Grants, and more daily news

With the help of the AIA Vitality Business and Community Grants programme advisers have worked towards bettering their communities.  Although the programme awarded 10 recipients over $500,000 in 2020 the majority of grants were delayed, and the winning initiatives came into play this year. Below are some of the winning initiatives

  • Simon Gower of Leelee & Gower Insurance Partners helped more than 1,450 children learn to swim in the Waikato by offering over 20,000 free swimming lessons
  • Alan Leuluai from Leuluai Financial launched the ‘MoveWell’ health and fitness programme in South Auckland
  • Leelee Li from Leelee & Gower Insurance Partners ran a bootcamp and speaker circuit to support Asian communities in Hamilton
  • Lance Parker-Wadham of Parka Insurances organised a series of talks by Sir John Kirwan on mental health and managing depression at local rugby clubs
  • Dean Logan and the team at Logan Smythe & Associates offered a series of resilience and mindfulness community courses and workshops, and podcasts
  • Ryan Edwards of TAP launched ‘Tools Down’ to raise awareness of mental health and the suicide among tradies
  • Joel Mclachlan and his team opened MenzShed in Waimakariri to create a space for social interaction

Making a difference in local communities in 2021 is what the AIA Vitality Business and Community Grants programme was all about. With ten grants awarded and over $500,000 available to support grassroots initiatives, the programme has helped advisers support their local communities to live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives.

“We’re thrilled with the amazing work we have seen come to fruition this year through the AIA Vitality Business and Community Grants programme,” says Sam Tremethick, Chief Partnership Insurance Officer. “While originally awarded in 2020, many of the Grants were delayed due to Covid-19 which meant the initiatives were delivered throughout this year. We are so pleased to have been able to support advisers’ businesses with this programme, and the health and wellbeing projects they are passionate about.”

At the start of the year, Simon Gower from Leelee & Gower Insurance Partners helped more than 1,450 children learn to swim in the Waikato. With his team of swimming coaches, Simon taught students at Fairfield College and four decile one primary schools how to swim, carrying out over 20,000 individual free swimming lessons.

“Our programme would not be possible without financial support so it was great to partner with AIA  who shared our vision of trying to improve the health and wellness of tamariki in our community,” says Simon.

Continuing the health and wellbeing focus was Alan Leuluai from Leuluai Financial and his ‘MoveWell’ health and fitness programme in South Auckland, and Leelee Li from Leelee & Gower Insurance Partners with her bootcamp and speaker circuit to support Asian communities in Hamilton. Both used their Grant to focus on “moving well” and supporting those that might not usually have access to organised fitness with opportunities to get involved.

Mental wellbeing was another core theme, as Lance Parker-Wadham and the team at Parka Insurances put their Grant to good use with series of talks by Sir John Kirwan on mental health and managing depression at local rugby clubs. 

Dean Logan and his team at Logan Smythe & Associates offered a series of resilience and mindfulness community courses and workshops, along with a podcast series providing free, practical resources packed full of evidence-based tips and tools to help people feel good and function well.

“Without the AIA Vitality Business and Community Grant, quite simply, this project would not have been possible. It enabled us to bring a series of world-class, evidence-based wellbeing and mindfulness courses, workshops and podcasts to North Canterbury,” says Dean. “We were thrilled to be able to make such a difference for the people in our local community, and to see first-hand the positive changes to mental health and wellbeing as a result of participation.”

Tradies mental health got a boost nationwide thanks the great work of Ryan Edwards and The Adviser Platform team who launched ‘Tools Down’; an online platform to raise awareness of mental ill health and the suicide rate among Kiwi tradies. Joel Mclachlan and his team also advocated for positive mental wellbeing by opening a MenzShed in Waimakariri, giving locals a place for social interaction and to use their skills to support the local Canterbury community.

“Without the AIA Vitality Grant there is simply no way MenzShed would have the fantastic asset they now have. The Grant, together with AdviceKiwi’s support, gave the local council confidence that the project would be seen through to completion. The Council agreed to provide land in Gladstone Park to the MenzShed so that it could be built and used as a community asset for many years to come.”

“With some AIA Vitality Business and Community Grant activations still to come, we look forward to more adviser community projects coming to life into 2022,” says Sam. “At AIA NZ we are committed to helping people live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives – and what better way to achieve this than to partner with passionate advisers to do good mahi in their local community.”

In other news

Munich Re: Advance with confidence

Quashed: user interview


nib on Kiwi insurance acquisition, and more daily news

nib NZ CEO Rob Hennin has shared insight into the decision for nib to acquire Kiwi Insurance. Hennin has said the transition reflects nib’s goal of providing greater access to personalised health risk assessment, treatment and care for members. Hennin has said that the move will also offer members a wide range of services to better align with the insurer’s purpose of supporting New Zealanders bettering their health.

“For a total consideration of around $45 million, nib New Zealand is snapping up the whole of life insurance business Kiwi Insurance, and here nib NZ chief executive Rob Hennin (pictured) talks about the “real opportunity” for the health insurer.

“Expanding into life and living insurance is a great reflection of nib’s payer-to-partner (P2P) transformation where we seek to provide greater access to personalised treatment and care for our members as we move away from being a traditional payer of claims and towards our ambition of becoming a true health partner,” Hennin told Insurance Business.

“It will allow us to provide greater value to our members by giving them access to a suite of health, life, and living covers in line with our purpose of ‘your better health’.”

The New Zealand CEO also echoed group boss Mark Fitzgibbon’s sentiment that, through the swoop, more people will benefit from the investment being made by nib in more personalised health risk assessment and management.

The transaction, which is expected to cross the finish line early next year, will see nib NZ offer Kiwi Insurance’s life and living insurance products and services alongside the upcoming new owner’s health insurance proposition.

“Life and living insurance reflects our purpose of supporting Kiwis’ better health,” said Hennin. “It’s also a great opportunity for members to bundle their health, life, and living products in a complementary way.

“We’ll be offering the same great customer service, support, and value-for-money products in the life and living insurance space as we already do for health insurance.”

According to seller Kiwi Group Holdings, which is also the name behind Kiwibank, customers’ existing insurance policies will continue under their current terms and conditions. The pertinent claims processes also remain unchanged, in that those making a claim will be able to do so as usual.

Additionally, the Kiwi Insurance team will still be accessible via the same channels and contact details.

Hennin, similarly, offered assurances that no action will need to be taken by Kiwi Insurance policyholders. He said all current benefits will be honoured and that nib NZ is committed to providing a seamless transition, which is expected to take a period of 12 months.” Click here to read more  

In other news:

ASB: Just 30 seconds for broker to save a bank customer 30 per cent on his ASB insurance

Financial Advice: Financial Advice NZ gets new chair


AIA on 2022, and more daily news

AIA Australia and New Zealand Chief Executive and Managing Director Damien Mu has noted that recent times have been challenging but believes that 2022 will be different. Mu explains that the focus on overall wellbeing and lessons learnt in the past two years can be used to shape the outcomes of 2022. Although human behaviour shows that we can forget easily, Mu says that he believes that Australians and New Zealanders will continue to live a healthier lifestyle. Mu highlights that AIA is there to support customers in times of need as well as encouraging them to lead healthier lifestyles through initiatives like AIA Vitality.

“It’s been extremely challenging, but we should be proud as a community, as we’ve demonstrated so much resilience to really get through the pandemic.”

Those were the words of AIA Australia and New Zealand chief executive and managing director Damien Mu (pictured), who believes “2022 will be a year of revival,” especially in the area of health.

“[The last two years] have definitely shone a spotlight on the importance of overall health and well-being, both physical and mental,” Mu told Insurance Business. “One of the reasons why I’m confident that we can revive into the future next year, is that we will bring many of those little tools and tips that we learned around health and well-being practices.

“And I really hope that we wouldn’t forget those – whether it’s getting out there and going for a walk, or the mindfulness that we’ve sort of brought in, slowing down of life in certain areas, spending more time with friends and families and appreciating that we’ve got them after being isolated for a long time or in lockdowns. I think we will bring them forward.”

For Mu – whose camp wants Australia and New Zealand to be the healthiest and most protected nations in the world – it’s small steps that will take us there, not extreme changes. 

“Human behaviour shows that we can forget easily and move on, but my view is that after two years it is very well grounded in our minds that those habits will continue moving forward,” added the CEO. “Of course, it may not be at the same level, but it’s the small things. How do we continue to take small steps towards healthier, longer, better lives?

“It doesn’t have to be a big run but just continue to just get up and go for a walk, or do a bit of meditation and drink a little bit more water or eat a little bit more home-cooked meals – just little things, and I think we can sustain those. If you try to go extreme, it’s not sustainable. What is sustainable is making small progressive steps towards your healthier, longer, better life, and that’s what we really support.”

This year, AIA released its so-called “5590+” reports for Australia and New Zealand, respectively, examining the five modifiable lifestyle behaviours that impact five of the non-communicable diseases that cause 90% of deaths in the two countries. The reports – which provide the foundation for the insurer’s work on life, health, and well-being – are aimed at encouraging all Australians and Kiwis to think well, eat well, move well, and plan well.

“Our purpose is to make a difference in people’s lives, and that’s why we published the 5590+ report,” stated Mu. “While people are engaged around their health and well-being, I think the opportunity is to build more engagement around prevention.

“While we are there to support when something goes wrong, how can we be engaged in our customers’ lives to give them value from their life and health insurance through the engagement of programmes such as Vitality, where they get rewarded for taking those small steps, but also how can we help them to continue getting value from it by preventing the potential issues that may arise from a health perspective?”

According to the AIA boss, one of the silver linings has been the recognition that things like digital health and digital engagement are critical, especially since, through them, a lot of people can be reached.

Mu went on to say: “While we need to have what I call the analogue services where people still come and see face-to-face a medical professional or go to the office of a physiotherapist, etc., we also know now that we can provide exceptional services and content for different levels of varying health issues through digital means as well.

“That means that, hopefully, we can actually help people to either prevent or recover more quickly. And that’s a real opportunity to be engaged in our customers’ lives, and be able to give them support in the palm of their hands. So that’s where I think the huge opportunity is. What we want to build is a health and well-being ecosystem around predict, prevent, diagnose, treat, recover, and thrive. Wherever you are on that spectrum as a customer of AIA, we want to be able to support you.” Click here to read more

In other news

Financial Advice: in 2021, 30 advisers assisted with the Peer Support Programme, 15 members were in members advisory committees, 20 members in the Corporate Associates Forum, six members in the Certification Committee and 10 members in the Regional Leadership Teams

Financial Advice: highlights this year:

  • Over 500 people registered for 2021 ‘Be Energised, Be Inspired’ conference and overall satisfaction of the conference was rated 19 out of 20
  • Over 8,390 attendees of Bring in the Experts Webinar Series
  • Delivered 25 Professional Ethics courses with a total of 389 attendees
  • Over 400 people attended Regional Roadshows in June
  • Over 93,000 people visited webpage
  • Over 15,000 clicking on find an adviser
  • 4,700,000 google impressions
  • A new constitution

Accuro make several appointments, and more daily news

Accuro has appointed Marion Guy as the board chair. Guy leaves her role as deputy board chair after Tony Haycock retired after serving as the chairman for the past five years and director for the past nine years.  Guy has said that it is an exciting time to be leading. Richard Kirkland has been appointed as Accuro’s director. Kirkland has expressed his delight in being part of Accuro, saying that he is a big believer in the members’ ownership of Accuro.

“Not-for-profit health insurer Accuro has elevated deputy board chair Marion Guy (pictured above left) to board chair, succeeding the retiring Tony Haycock. Richard Kirkland (pictured above right) also joined the company’s board.

“The last nine years has been a very rewarding journey,” said Haycock, who was a director at Accuro for nine years and chair for the last five. “I am leaving Accuro at a time when it is in great shape. We have carved out a strong point of difference and continue to innovate. Membership has grown above industry norms, based on great service and a desire to always do the best for our members; something which is reflected in our consistently high levels of customer satisfaction.”

Guy, a registered nurse with three decades of health sector and governance experience, has been on the board since 2016.

“It’s an exciting time to be leading New Zealand’s best little health insurer, as we continue to implement new initiatives and technology to deliver even higher levels of member service and face the challenges ahead,” Guy said.

Kirkland, has been appointed to fill the vacancy left by Haycock, brings considerable experience in technical and regulatory aspects of insurance and finance.

“I am delighted to be involved as I am a big believer in the members’ ownership of Accuro,” Kirkland said. “The ‘client first’ as a distinct foundation gives mutuals a significant edge over shareholder-owned businesses.” Click here to read more

In other news

Pinnacle Life: Easy ways to feel happy - 5 key things that make a difference

nib: modern slavery statement


FMA on full licence applications, and more daily news

The FMA has revealed that a total of 210 full FAP licences and 156 full AB licences have been approved so far. Of the 210 FAP licences 67 were for class 1, 136 were for class 2 and 7 were for class 3. John Botica, FMA Director of Market Engagement, has said that over 80% of providers need to gain their full licence before the next September. Botica also noted that the quality of full licence applications has improved.

“According to the latest statistics, the FMA has approved 210 full FAP licences (see table below) since the new licencing regime came into force on March 15, 2021.

Of those licences, 67 were for Class 1 (sole advisers), 136 were for Class 2 (more than one adviser, plus authorised bodies) and 7 Class 3 licences (multiple advisers, authorised bodies and nominated representatives).

This is more than double the 80 full licences approved by the FMA as of September 21, 2021, and there are still 1635 transitional FAP licence holders and 1175 authorised bodies yet to apply for a full licence.

The FMA's director of market engagement John Botica says with more than 80% of providers still to transition to a full licence there is much more work ahead.

For many in the financial advice sector, the next milestone will be preparing to submit a full licence application by the target date of September 30, 2022 (for Class 1 and 2 licences).

Botica says many lessons have been learned in the first nine months of the new regime and he acknowledges the efforts of the industry "...who stepped up to welcome the new era of licensing against some pretty tough odds".

"We want New Zealanders to trust the financial advice sector, we want to promote advisers as true professionals and to encourage more people to engage in their financial futures.

"In our mid-year report, we noted that a few full licence applicants had rushed in at the gate, reading the application guide and then pasting our sample answers into the online application form.

"They did not pass Go and were sent back to the start.

"More recently, we’re pleased to say the quality of most applications has improved as you focus on just telling it like it is, documenting how you run your businesses – and care for your clients – in your own words because you know your business best." Click here to read more

Full licence

In other news

From Insurance Business Mag: Full licensing: A smooth transition takes time

Insurance Business Mag: Insurance business mag Elite Women 2022 nominations


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

20 Dec 2021 – An exposure draft of Australian legislation titled “Treasury Laws Amendment (Measures for Consultation) Bill 2021: Licensing exemptions for foreign financial service providers” was released for consultation, with submissions closing on 12 Jan 2022. https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2021-231877


Cigna extends campaign, and more daily news

Cigna has announced that the Good things come in twos campaign has been extended until the end of January. Cigna has highlighted that they have received positive feedback on the campaign. New customers will be able to get two months free premiums while existing customers will get free premiums when they take out or increase their level of insurance via a financial adviser. Cigna will apply the same offer for applications submitted after 17 December. Advisers will be offered twice the servicing commission for two months for all new business. They will also be offered increases sold while the campaign is running.

“To help you and your customers get off to a great start in 2022 we’re extending our Good things come in twos campaign until 31 January.

The campaign’s had a fantastic response and we’ve had overwhelming positive feedback from you about the impact that two months of free cover has had for your new and existing customers.

We'll be backdating the offer so if you've submitted any business after 17 December please let your customers know that they may be eligible to take up the offer.

Two months free for them

We’re giving your customers free premiums when they take out or increase their level of insurance with the help of an Independent Financial Adviser.

New customers will receive two months of free cover.

Existing customers who increase their level of insurance will receive the first two months of increased cover at no additional cost.

Twice the servicing commission for you

We’re offering twice the servicing commission for two months for all new business and increases sold during the campaign period. This is a continued show of thanks for the significant additional time and effort you’ve put in to supporting your customers and to adapting to new ways of working.

In other news

From Good returns: Cold call changes insured's life

Cigna: Cigna NZ "really excited about the change"


Telehealth services predicted to be essential in 2022, and more daily news

CareHQ clinical director Dr. Reza Jarral has said that virtual services similar to CareHQ are useful in dealing with non-Covid-related GP appointments. CareHQ is a ProCare service offered in partnership with Southern Cross to help patients via online consultations seven days a week. Dr. Jarral notes that telehealth services are becoming common practice and can help offer treatment to people unable to see their regular GP in person. Dr. Jarral describes telehealth services as valuable and predicts that they will become even more essential in 2022.

 "CareHQ clinical director Dr Reza Jarral says telehealth services like CareHQ can step up to fulfil non-Covid-related appointments that might otherwise be pushed back days or even weeks.

 “The ways in which New Zealanders access healthcare have gone through significant changes since Covid-19 first reached our shores last year,” Dr Jarral says.

 “While health officials juggle existing Covid cases, more and more families are self-isolating at home in their bubbles with numbers expected to rise in the coming months."

Dr Jarral says as we learn to live with Covid in the community, there is potential for GP capacity to become stretched as the monitoring needs of housebound Covid patients grows.

 “For many New Zealanders, consulting with a GP via telehealth is no longer an unusual concept.

 “With the traditional face-to-face GP visit not always possible during lockdown periods, a phone or video call with the doctor has been the only option available to many patients.

 “Patients are also seeing the value of telehealth services outside of lockdowns.

"An online consult means they don’t have to leave the comfort of their own home if they’re feeling unwell. It also means they can access the healthcare they need in a timelier way, particularly when geography or doctors’ busy schedules pose barriers to getting seen."

If, as expected, increased pressure does land on general practices, Dr Jarral said telehealth services can step in to provide an excellent option for all New Zealanders to receive a high-quality medical assessment from an experienced GP.

“These services can also work closely with a patient’s regular GP, to deliver continuity of care while supporting grassroots primary care.

Telehealth services have already shown themselves to be a valuable tool for the health sector in 2021. These services are set to become even more essential in 2022, as the country continues to navigate the uncertainty that this pandemic brings.” Click here to read more

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World Braille Day will be on 4 January

Partners Life: Chelsea Tobin presentation

Partners Life: Chelsea Tobin webinar


New Silverdale Southern Cross hospital in the works, and more daily news

Southern Cross Healthcare will begin work on a hospital in Silverdale in six months to meet growing demand. The hospital is set to be completed in 2023 and will be equipped with three operating theatres and aa ward with ten beds. It will be on the second floor of the Silverdale Medical & Surgical building. Southern Cross Healthcare interim CEO Chris White has said that it is the right time for Southern Cross to establish themselves in the Hibiscus Coast and Bays region although the site was purchased eight years ago.

Southern Cross Healthcare has announced that it will soon begin the fit-out of its wholly owned hospital in Silverdale, which will meet growing healthcare demand in Auckland’s burgeoning Hibiscus Coast and Bays area.

Fit-out work on the hospital, which will have three operating theatres and a 10-bed ward, is set to commence in six months and is expected to complete in mid-2023. The facility will also have nine recovery chairs for day surgeries. The surgical specialities will be confirmed at a later date, Southern Cross said.

The hospital is located on the second floor of the Silverdale Medical & Surgical building in Polarity Rise. Several other medical providers are already working out of the purpose-built facility, including general practice, physiotherapy, dental, radiology and a pharmacy.

The Hibiscus Coast and Bays is now one of Auckland's most populous areas, having experienced rapid population growth in recent years, with 16% growth between 2013 and 2018. However, residents must travel further afield to access private surgical care due to the scarcity of facilities.

Southern Cross Healthcare interim chief executive Chris White said the firm purchased the Silverdale site eight years ago after recognising the growing community’s need to access healthcare, especially for its ageing population and many families in the area.

“The time is now right for Southern Cross to activate our presence in the Hibiscus Coast and Bays region,” White said. “We’re pleased that we’ll be able to bring hospital services to market in a relatively short time frame because we’re going into an existing building. We look forward to supporting the local community and increasing access to quality healthcare.” Click here to read more

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Russell’s latest piece on Good returns: Old school cold calls still make a difference


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

22 Dec 2021 – Statutes Amendment Bill introduced into Parliament, an omnibus Bill amending many Acts, including amendments to the Privacy Act and the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_118346/statutes-amendment-bill


Consumer issues: access to advice harmed by increased compliance costs for advisers

Following our recent blog on Australia's financial adviser numbers readers interested in the subject you might want to have a look at the report and the article posted on investmentnews.co.nz: at http://investmentnews.co.nz/investment-news/parliament-calls-for-advice-price-check-more-regulation/ I considered commentary on the link, but I think you cannot do better than simply reading the article. I feel for advisers in Australia. Although the quality of advice review has the right terms of reference, it is incredibly difficult to roll-back regulation with the scope that exists in Australia - there are too many people committed to the choices made over the last few years I worry that little substantial change will be made and it is ordinary consumers that will be the poorer for it. For those that want to dive deeper, here is the link to the report of the FEC: Briefing from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and the Financial Markets Authority on the outcomes of the Australian Royal Commission into banking - New Zealand Parliament (www.parliament.nz)