« May 2013 | Main | July 2013 »

Plenty of Legal and Regulatory News

Rob Dowler, our compliance guru, has handed me a page of legal and regulatory updates which have occurred in the past week alone. These cover:

  1. MoBIE announcing consultation on regulations under the Financial Advisers Act to start in July. Focus on DIMS.
  2. FMA released report on DIMS.
  3. Consumer affairs released a guide for consumers on the subject of online scams, aimed at seniors.
  4. AML exemptions published
  5. FMA releases feedback on QFE annual reports received
  6. AML supervisors release a consultation paper on a draft fact sheet for intermediaries

I reiterate - that was for just last week. Plenty to keep up with.


Fidelity Life Melanoma Wording Change

Fidelity Life have made a slight change to their Cancer treatemnet under their Trauma benefit with the introduction of a partial payment for malignant melanoma under 1.5mm.

The new wording is as follows:

We will pay 25% of the sum assured to a maximum of $25,000, the first time the insured person is diagnosed with a malignant melanoma that is Clark Level 1 or 2 depth of invasion, or less than 1.5mm in thickness as measured using the Breslow method.

RBNZ Website Upgrade

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand have re-designed their website www.rbnz.govt.nz to make it more user-friendly. The launch took place over the past weekend. The look of the website has been improved as well as allowing for optimised use on mobile phones and tablet computers. There have been slight tweaks to some URL's within the site so if you have it bookmarked these will need to be updated.

You can read more about the changes here.

Four Insurers Deliver Product Improvements

Fidelity Life has made a significant change to the cancer definition under their trauma contract. A partial payment of up to 25% to a maximum of $25,000 sum insured can now be paid for melanomas with a depth of less than 1.5 mm.

Pinnacle Life has added a modest special event increase in cover option to their term life policy. It now includes marriage (including civil union) and divorce, and becoming a parent as options that will allow an increase of cover. 

Southern Cross has made a number of changes to the policy wordings of their VIP medical range, some have scoring implications and will improve the ratings moderately.

Sovereign has made a number of small policy wording changes. Clarifications of the unemployment and homemakers benefits and other definition reviews. They apply to Sovereign and ASB versions of the contracts.

Please note that these are only general statements about the changes, eact details can only be obtained by reference to the policy documents. The policy wording sections updates as well as scores will be updated on the Quality Product Research database for subscribers.

We will publish details of the score implications and update the Quality Product Research Database early next week, until then, please keep in mind that these enhancements are not yet present in the comparisons you are doing.

Partners Life Technical Seminar

Recently the Insurance Ombudsman confirmed that advisers cannot rely on their client's to read and understand onerous conditions and that these must be explicitly explained. This and other issues aimed at helping the adviser get business with the necessary compliance will be explored in Partners Life's upcoming Technical Seminars around the country.

Contact Partners Life for more details.

Product Enhancements

A number of product enhancements are being rated right now in Quality Product Research. We shall give you a full list and update on the www.qpresearch.co.nz blog later today and provide an update to the QPR database online by early next week.

Pinnacle Life Special Events Benefits

Pinnacle Life has recently announced Special Events Benefits for their Life and Mortgage products. This benefit allows existing policyholders to request an increase in cover levels based on changing life events without requiring further medical evidence.

Click here to read more on the Pinnacle Life blog.

UK Money Advice Service Under Pressure

The Money Advice Service in the UK was  set up to provide what might be called generic or class advice after regulation has made that very difficult for financial advisers to provide safely. It is now being questioned. Questions are being raised about whether it actually knows how to offer this broad information service, and how effective it is in providing the information to consumers. This quote from George Mudie, reported in Money Marketing illustrates the dangers:

“If you cannot find ways of delivering a service on money advice and you have to spend it on marketing, transition costs and core operations, it leads us to believe that your organisation doesn’t know what it is doing on money advice.”

I hope we can preserve the ability for advisers to offer general information about products without accidentally stepping into the compliance required for full personal advice, while ensuring that is not used as a work-around the rules for offering advice. Otherwise, the expense and risks of a "Money Advice Service" may arrive at our own doorstep.

You can read the article by Samual Dale at this link.