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What Women Want When It Comes To Money

These are not my thoughts, but a link to the article in the Herald by Tamsyn Parker, quoting Larke Reimer. It's a good article, and Reimer's comments are very interesting. I laughed aloud when she is quoted as saying

    "...catering for women is not about having pink credit cards."

But also she points out that women are risk averse - that should make risk management advisers and those offering insurance more interested. A focus on women in the purchase process is important. Also, it suggests that the mix of product when considering a broader financial advice process should take more account of the defensive and risk averse aspects of a presentation as a whole.

Link to the article.

Congratulations Ginger and TNP

Ginger and TNP have announced their strategic alliance - well done! Of course, we also deal with NZFSG, Newpark, other groups, insurer-aligned channels, and many advisers that are not members of a group. Those can be good choices too, and so rather than comment on the merits of the deal (which is done in the comments section on this goodreturns article) we shall just pause to congratulate them - building a business with scale in the distribution sector in New Zealand is difficult and success should be recognised.

Quotemonster 2000 and QPR 900

Last week I was talking with a colleague about how Quotemonster was going, and along with it Quality Product Research, I didn't have the latest numbers, but I just looked them up an a combination of being away for a while and not looking has given me a pleasant surprise:

  • Quotemonster first: we have more than 2,000 logins (not counting industry and non-advisers) being used on Quotemonster, of which more than 1600 logged in last month.
  • Quality Product Research: we have more than 900 (just!) research users, overwhelmingly they are monthly subscribers, but that number also includes pay-per-report users.

We also know that a majority of our users were not using research before, and so we are delighted to have brought so many more advisers into the marketplace.

Thank you to all the advisers that are using the service - we're delighted to have you as customers. We are grateful for the support of the people at insurers, reinsurers, and the other consultants who have been helpful in making the service possible.

Having said all of that: we think that there are about 4,500 advisers offering risk advice (not counting those in QFEs) and we would like to think we can get a lot more of them comparing the market and using research in developing their recommendations.

Professional Advisers Association Development Days

The PAA is running two development days in June:

  • 24 June in Christchurch  - details at this link.
  • 27 June in Auckland - details at this link.

The speaker schedule includes the following:

  • Jonathon Cron, NZ Trustees Services Ltd
  • Iain Duncan, HNZ
  • Darrin Franks, Conetworks Management Solutions Ltd
  • Angus Dale Jones, PAA (Auckland Only)
  • Mike Moore, Mike Moore Ltd
  • Barry Read, IDS Limited
  • Trevor Slater, FSCL


Innovative Campaign to Raise IP Awareness in the UK

An innovative campaign to raise awareness of the need for income protection insurance is being kicked off in the UK. IT focuses on seven families where the main breadwinner has been disabled and provides them with some monthly cash to help meet expenses. It will track their experiences. You can read more about the campaign at this link. 

We should do something like this here.




RBNZ Not Alone in Regulating Insurers

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is not alone in having insurers in view when considering the health of the financial system as a whole. Mike Carney, governor of the Bank of England, has commented recently that insurers business models could come under pressure in, or following, a financial crisis and he wants to 'be vigilant' and will also create a new set of rules for the sector. Link.

The Computer Says...

Large bureaucracy hates to have its mistakes uncovered. In fact, we all hate making mistakes and the discovery that we have is unpleasant. Usually individuals just get a little embarrassed, make the correction, apologise, and move on. But large bureaucracy can be harder to deal with. Three examples below.

An insurance executive recently told me about an experience in a shop where the till scanned an item costing a little over $100, showed "applied a 20% discount - $0.00" and showed a bottom line charge of a little over $100. The response of the person on the till was that it must be right because that is what the computer said... a manager had to be summoned to resolve the matter.

In another example, this time in the US, a woman was denied treatment because her medical records under the new health insurance reforms in the US showed that she was a man. Obviously the records were incorrect, but the red-tape meant a correction was not forthcoming. Link.

If you were on the verge of a judgement about the United States, hold your horses, we have our own version right here with this startlingly similar story from Northland. Link.



Activity-based Wordings Create Complaints

I have long held that some products are more likely to generate complaints than others. Typically clients complain most when they believe that a claim should have been paid, and it isn't. This mismatch in expectation tends to happen more if cover is more limited. Total and Permanent Disablement benefits are one good example, and the limited nature of many direct or counter-sold Trauma and Income Protection products are probably in the same category.

This article has some of the complaint activity the UK has seen.

One of the most interesting features is that the author is just as concerned about complaints that were not upheld as ones where complaints were upheld. It is important to be clear about this - it is not because he thinks that the ruling was wrong, this is because he is pointing out that the narrow product coverage (and by implication the sales process) is far more likely to produce these misunderstandings.

When Obesity is Classified as a Disability

This article highlights the serious discussion that is going on around obesity, specifically, and the definition of disability in general.

Clearly, society has a shifting definition of what constitutes disablement. Go back to the eighteenth century and the definition was purely physical, and even the loss of a limb need not make you disabled. Fast forward to the 21st century and in Australia we have had rulings that classify long-term depression as a total and permanent disablement, and in the US this decision which classifies obesity as a disability regardless of whether there is some underlying physiological cause. These are different societies, but they are often leading indicators of change for approaches taken in New Zealand.

Employers, insurers, and consumers, should all be concerned about the trend towards obesity and the effects that may have on health, health services, insurance premiums, and even employment.