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Government talks about joining holistic health app trend

The New Zealand Government may be the latest entrant in the trend of holistic health apps which digitise healthcare in the age of Covid-19, Marc Daalder reports here. Although one aspect of the story is yet to be proven - the official COVID-19 contract tracing app does not have holistic health care features.

Should they decide to do so careful consideration of the feature set is critical. This is a difficult game to play, requiring a delicate balance on several dimensions. Motivation can be seen as nagging. Measurement could be seen as prying. Rewards can, from another point of view, be seen as penalties. Insurers at least can point to the freedom they allow clients: pick up the app if you like, if you prefer not, no problem. That's why government should avoid copying Vitality, Fitbit, and Sharecare. They should focus on doing the things that the market is not, such as online delivery of primary care. Digital delivery of some healthcare functions looks like an obvious way to save time, money, and deliver care to more people. It is certain to come. I've have online consultations myself in Northern Ireland for a sore throat. It saved loads of time and reduces exposure of other people to infection. More of this can happen to spread precious public health dollars further. 

DAILY NEWS: Australia - huge drop in adviser numbers, expect it to continue

The Australian financial advice industry has declined by almost 18% when compared to the number of advisers in the market this time last year. The introduction on mandatory qualifications, the change in commission structure and monitoring of activity has pushed advisers out of the market.

“Five thousand and twenty-five advisers have left the industry in the last 12 months, while a meager 78 new authorised representatives joined the industry during this period, analysis of ASIC’s financial adviser register conducted by CoreData will show. The researcher pointed out that the number of new entrants to the industry is inflated considering at least half have joined timeshare schemes, an area that continues to be a focus for the regulator.


But it’s the bloodletting of advisers from the institutionally-owned licensees that will be a feature of this year’s list and subsequent analysis.” Click here to read more

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In other news:

Financial advisers have a ‘key role’ during pandemic

International vaccine news excites market

$1.5 billion in claims paid, FSC says

Insurers hoping for loyalty out of Covid-19 offers

How insurers moved thousands out of the office and into their homes

Daily News Update: business debt hibernation, and more stories

Below is a press release from the FMA on business debt hibernation.

“Last week, the Government passed the COVID-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Legislation Act 2020, which introduced the business debt hibernation (BDH) scheme. Business debt hibernation may help eligible businesses affected by COVID-19 manage their existing debts until they can start trading normally again. For example, businesses may agree with creditors to delay repaying some of their debt.

BDH is available to a wide range of businesses (including companies, trusts and partnerships), some of which are regulated by the FMA. BDH does not extend to registered banks, licensed insurers, non-bank deposit takers, licensed derivatives issuers, operators of designated settlement systems or sole traders.

Conditions to enter and remain in BDH include director approval, notice to the relevant Registrar, and creditor agreement. These and other conditions that must be satisfied are set out in Schedule 13 of the Companies Act 1993.”

In other news:

DAILY NEWS: Unpacking Minister Faafoi and Financial Advice NZ webinar, and more stories

During the Financial Advice NZ webinar, Minster Faafoi spoke about his commitment to ensuring that the conduct bill progresses while also highlighting that he is conscious of the importance of having enough lead-in time. During the webinar, the Minister spoke of how the Government understands that commissions are a legitimate way of paying advisers and as a result, the Government isn’t seeking to ban commissions, instead is looking to end target-based incentives. 

“In a webinar with Financial Advice NZ, Faafoi acknowledged that concern and said he did not want the conduct regime to add another layer of complexity of regulation on top for advisers.

The bill in its current form also allows regulations to dictate remuneration structures, which some industry participants have expressed concern about.

Faafoi said Government recognised that commissions were a legitimate way of paying advisers for their “important work” because consumers were generally unwilling to pay for financial advice. He said the Government was aware that commission structures were the way the sector had operated for decades.

“It is not the Government’s intention to ban all commission.” Click here to read more

It would be a great relief to advisers and insurers if it could be clearly discerned from the Bill that the power to ban commissions is reserved. At present the definition of incentives in the law can be read as including all normal commission payments, which is unnerving when long-term decisions need to be made. 

In other news:

Suncorp: Kate Armstrong joins Suncorp’s NZ boards

Suncorp: Suncorp earmarks further NZ$2 million for hardship fund

FMA: Transitional licensing continues at a “steady rate” despite COVID-19 delays – FMA

AIA: AIA new business value slips 27% after coronavirus disruption


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DAILY NEWS: Global COVID-19 effects on insurance industry, and more stories

Lloyds of London has reported that COVID-19 will likely cost the global insurance industry over NZ$336 billion (US$200 billion). It is predicted that the industry will experience a greater loss if lockdowns around the world continue into the next quarter. 

“The pandemic will cost the insurance industry over US$200 billion (NZ$336 billion), according to Lloyds of London, who estimated that its own payouts are now on a par with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks or the combined impact of hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma in 2017.

Lloyds, which as an insurance market pays out to insurers affected by disasters, said it expects to pay between $3 billion and $4.3 billion to insurance companies to help them cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Losses could widen if lockdowns continue into the next quarter, which would push the overall cost to the insurance industry to $203 billion. Unlike the storms, for example, the pandemic's impact is global, systemic and long term.” Click here to read more


While most of those impacts are for catastrophe cover, there will be impacts on life insurers, especially in those markets where control measures were less successful.

In other news:

Applications show small advice firms still see future: FMA

Leading Adviser explains why a group's actions need to speak louder than words

Association CEO joins Trustees Executors board

Financial Advice NZ welcomes Budget 2020

Advisers back wage subsidy extension

DAILY NEWS: Increased interest in digital insurance and more

Consumer behaviour is often fluid. Trends, word of mouth as well as personal experiences play a part in changing decision-making processes and purchasing habits. Similar to other purchasing behaviours, the way people are choosing to purchase insurance is changing. There is an upward trend of people relying on their own research and not seeking advice from financial advisers. Similarly, there is an increased interest in digital insurance providers.  

"Consumers of all ages are adopting a “millennial mindset,” according to Capgemini and Efma’s World Insurance Report 2020. This means that consumers are increasingly trusting their own research to source and purchase insurance products themselves. Customers of all ages are also increasingly turning to digital channels in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the report found.


“Digital adoption is no longer a function of age; for those with access to the web and social media, researching and directly procuring insurance online has become mainstream across all generations,” Capgemini said.


To remain relevant, insurers must shape their existing products to meet evolving customer needs and preferences, the report said."

Furthermore, it is reported that:

“The COVID-19 lockdown will further fuel this trend as consumers are forced to use digital channels for day-to-day transactions, irrespective of age or tech know-how,” Capgemini said. 

In other news:

Advisers haven't done enough to digitise their offering - expert

Air pollution dropped dramatically during lockdown

FSC webinar: Introducing the financial resilience index

FSC webinar: A global response to COVID-19

FSC: Spotlight on Insurance

COVID-19 response - "We have won the quarter final"

Although I try to keep the content of this site exclusively connected to the life and health insurance sector, COVID-19 is inevitably connected with the sector strongly: if uncontrolled it has the potential to wreak havoc. Our scenario modelling in March suggested that whole-of-pandemic numbers of deaths for New Zealand could range from a little under 2,000 to as many as 80,000. Fortunately, government policy, combined with some inherent advantages, have meant we may beat the lowest of those forecasts. Although it is early to congratulate ourselves - there is some way to go in this challenge. The purpose of this post is to illustrate: 

  1. Acknowledge how good the response has been,
  2. Identify which countries are leading, and what we can learn from that
  3. Provide a model for comparing epidemic response and share our preferred sites for tracking that
  4. Link to the next pieces of work that are of interest to insurers

The guide for the review is the chart below. Produced by the clever folks at Our World In Data, by Max Roser and his team (link is in the top left-hand corner of the table below). A few things to note about the chart. This is showing confirmed cases, daily rates, shown in proportion to population, using days since the start of outbreak (rather than dates) as the time measurement, and a seven-day rolling average to smooth out reporting spikes. Compared to most charts reported in our media the difference is to show data in proportion to population. It makes comparisons a lot more sensible. The chart is interactive. 

Nevertheless NZ's fortunate position - due to both policy response and some advantages from being a remote island nation, is evident when you change the change the frequency of reporting from daily to total in the selector at the top of the table. NZ's position as a leader in response has been highlighted by general media. It is worth being pleased with - after all, it is one of the most expensive public policy victories in our history. It would be a damn shame if we couldn't enjoy it. It is often contrasted with the UK or the USA in media, however in pandemic response, that's a bit like celebrating a big win over Namibia in the football. They still seem to be working out how to play the game. 

Our peer group at the top of the table is Australia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan. These are the leaders in pandemic response. South Korea and Taiwan earn special mentions because control measures there enabled them to avoid a full lock-down. Australia has done remarkably well too. Un-tick all the other countries if you want the scale to change so you can explore fine detail differences between each. 

There does not appear to be an ideological divide. Some right of centre governments have done well (Australia, Japan) some have done badly (UK, US). Some left of centre governments have done well (South Korea, ours), some have done badly (Sweden). But it is early days for all, of course. What was the difference? a willingness to take advice, and take action early. Having reasonably well organised pandemic plans helped - the UK has a scandal over PPE, but has found that it did not need the capacity of the vast Nightingale hospitals that they were able to deploy fast due to long-made plans.

Singapore, unlike the UK, the US, and much of Europe, is a cautionary tale of a different nature. It managed the crisis very well early on, but when the disease infected the dormitories of migrant construction and factory workers, it took off. It is early days, current control measures are needed to ensure that a few asymptomatic cases don't touch off a runaway outbreak among the overcrowded homes of poor families.

So what about that title? It is a direct quote from a health-care worker in Kerala, India, quoted in a BBC World article. While they were talking about how well they had managed too, they highlighted that it is early days, hence: 'we have won the quarter final'.


DAILY NEWS: nib non-PHARMAC webinar and more

nib will be hosting a webinar on May 20, 2020, from 11:30 am – 12:15 pm. During the session, nib NZ CEO Rob Hennin, RMA Financial’s Shaun Vining, and nib Customer Care team leader Hannah Larking will be sharing their experiences on non-PHARMAC drugs and the importance of including them in medical policies.

"Join our webinar where we’ll be focusing on why cover for treatment with non-PHARMAC drugs is so important for your clients. We’ll be bringing you the insights of adviser, Shaun Vining, and nib Customer Care Team Leader, Hannah Larking. There will be opportunity to discuss why it’s so important your clients have health insurance with non-PHARMAC cover." Click here to register

in other news:

OUT NOW: ASSET May issue

Australia: Signature scandal puts more pressure on AMP's battle-weary management

Wealthpoint: Wealthpoint advisers ‘cautiously optimistic’

Finzo: Finzo develops 360 integrated solution

Brokers with no BCP urged to make one, ASAP