« August 2020 | Main

Southern Cross offering domestic travel insurance, and more daily news

Southern Cross Travel Insurance has announced that it will be offering customers domestic travel insurance product.

Customers will be offered:

  • Cover for cancellation of your flight and accommodation if you can no longer travel
  • Cover for accommodation and other expenses if your flight is delayed or cancelled
  • Cover for your luggage and other personal belongings if they’re stolen or damaged
  • Cover for excess charges if you have an accident in your rental vehicle
  • Cover for the kids if you’re delayed getting home and need to pay for extra childcare costs
  • Cover for your furry friends at the kennels if you’re delayed getting home

Click here to read more

In other news

Kiwis with advisers end up significantly better off - research

AMP Australia: AMP advisers call for government inquiry over alleged fraud, deception


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

16 Sept 2020 – Treasury published the pre-election economic and fiscal update. https://www.treasury.govt.nz/news-and-events/news/2020-pre-election-economic-and-fiscal-update-published-today

16 Sept 2020 - MBIE released a statement that the Government planned responding to the retirement income policy review this year, but is taking further time to consider New Zealand’s retirement settings in light of the impacts of COVID-19. https://www.mbie.govt.nz/about/news/update-on-government-response-to-retirement-income-policy-review/

17 Sept 2020 – Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Hon Kris Faafoi, released a statement that the  Government is working on how New Zealand’s retirement income policies and settings can best support Kiwis in light of the COVID-19 economic recovery, with the help of the Retirement Commissioner’s latest review. https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/economic-recovery-guides-govt-response-retirement-income-policy-review


AIA digital makeover driven by COVID-19 crisis, and more daily news

Sam Tremethick, AIA distribution executive, revealed that AIA is in a better position now that it was a year ago. This has been credited to people being more risk averse and understanding the need for protection.

“When New Zealand went into the first lockdown, AIA settled into a period of big business and even bigger change. Since then, innovation and technology have reshaped the way that the business functions.

AIA distribution executive Sam Tremethick told Good Returns that like a lot of industries AIA took a hit in the April/May period, but quickly bounced back to a point where “year on year as of today we are doing better than this time last year”.

Tremethick attributes the rise in the insurance business to “a direct result of people being more risk averse than normal and just being conscious of the need for protection”. But along with a rise in business came a chance to reshape their processes for the company that during lockdown shifted to being almost 100% of staff working from home."

Sharron-Moana Botica, chief customer officer, said that understanding how to offer advisers support during lockdown was key. Last August’s launch of AIA hub resulted from adviser feedback and has been continuously enhanced. The current platform, eApp Share, is described as revolutionary. Through the use of eApp, margins of error have been minimised, application times has been accelerated, and customer experience has been improved. The introduction of eApp has also allowed AIA to reflect on processes and current practices. Currently, 75% - 80%  of all applications are submitted through the app, AIA is considering whether to move the application process solely to eApp.

“AIA chief customer officer Sharron-Moana Botica said that during lockdown, figuring out how to support advisors was key. “In August last year we launched our new online platform AIA hub into the New Zealand market. But when you have a digital tool you always need to be enhancing it. So this latest development is what we call eApp Share.”

eApp Share is a tool that may prove revolutionary for advisers. Botica said that the digital program “was developed in response to feedback from advisers who wanted to continue the collaborative process of filling out an application.” Collaboration is key to the program which allows the adviser to push out documents to the client, the client to fill out the disclosures in their own time, and for the conversation to continue between client and advisor during the entire process.

Moving the processes online have also meant huge strides forward in narrowing down margins of error. While paper applications have a 30% error rate, the eApp Share program’s internal validation systems have managed to remove the bulk of these errors. This is because the system prompts users to submit accompanying information and the forms show where information is required before they can be submitted.

It has also increased speed, whereas paper applications took around five days, the digital system has no such reliance on printing, scanning and signing. Typically it takes customers between 10-30 mins to complete their part of the eApp form.

Botica says as well as improving the customer experience, eApp Share has aided AIA internal systems. “It helps us to look at what are the types of disclosure that are coming through. We can do a lot of analytics on our underwriting and the types of question sets that we use.”

With 75-80% of applications now processed through the eApp system it looks like it is here to stay. On whether we could see AIA moving to a 100% eApp system any time soon Botica said that “we are in conversation with their advisers on the ground. Becoming more digital is part of our future, not only in the business space but also in our servicing and claims side.” Click here to read more

In other news

Suncorp New Zealand a finalist for Sustainable Business Awards

AIA: AIA awarded Insurance Employer of the Year in NZ Women in Insurance Awards

FSC: Get In Shape Session 9  - Risk Management and Implementing a Risk Framework in your Business

Financial Advice webinar: Unlocking the Code in the New Financial Advice Regime Part 2


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

15 Sept 2020 – NZX provided an update on various Listing Rules class waivers granted in March 2020 in relation to Covid-19.

15 Sept 2020 - Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, announced New Zealand will be the first country in the world to require the financial sector to report on climate risks. The new regime will be on a comply-or-explain basis, based on the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework. Businesses covered by the requirements will have to make annual disclosures, covering governance arrangements, risk management and strategies for mitigating any climate change impacts. If businesses are unable to disclose, they must explain why. If approved by Parliament, financial entities could be required to make disclosures in 2023 at the earliest. The new climate reporting requirements will apply to:

  • All registered banks, credit unions, and building societies with total assets of more than $1 billion
  • All managers of registered investment schemes with greater than $1 billion in total assets under management
  • All licensed insurers with greater than $1 billion in total assets under management or annual premium income greater than $250 million
  • All equity and debt issuers listed on the NZX
  • Crown financial institutions with greater than $1 billion in total assets under management, such as ACC and the NZ Super Fund

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-zealand-first-world-require-climate-risk-reporting

 


Reserve Bank of New Zealand on insurers paying dividends

Jenée Tibshraeny, writing at interest.co.nz says that The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) is advising insurers against paying dividends:

“Our stance in relation to prudential risks to insurers from Covid-19 is that there are many unknowns still to play out in terms of flow-on impacts from what we have already experienced, as well as the potential for new outbreaks,” Bascand said in a speech to the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) on Monday.

“This caution is also reflected in our stance on capital retention and dividend payments, which we regard as being imprudent under these conditions.

"We will update insurers on our stance on this at or before publication of the next Financial Stability Report in November.”

Although this is guidance, and tougher instructions were issued to banks, it would be very difficult for an insurer to ignore such advice. It should be hoped that it is temporary. Well-capitalised insurers would be justified in wondering why they were being treated the same as a thinly capitalised business. In the medium term, the absence of a the ability to pay a dividend may make it materially harder for an insurer to raise capital, acting against the intention of the advice. I therefore expect that the suspension will have a limited duration allowing for assessment of the difficulty of transitioning to an environment of negative interest rates. 

 


Cigna: multi-benefit discount campaign details

Cigna has announced a multi-benefit discount campaign for customers over 30. The discounts applies to all new Assurance Extra policies issued on or after 9 September 2020. Depending on a customer’s age and the number of qualifying benefits they choose to take up alongside their Life or Life Income Cover, the discount amount will vary. As a result, policies with multiple people may have different levels of discounts applied. Alternatively, a single policy may only have discounts applied to certain covers.

The discounts available are:

  • 3% for customers aged 30-39 who take out LIFE + one or more other qualifying benefit
  • 5% for customers aged 40+ who take out LIFE + one other qualifying benefit
  • 7% for customers aged 40+ who take out LIFE + two or more other qualifying benefits

To be eligible customers must have a Life Cover in place and have a minimum sum insured amount of $200,000 and have a minimum of one qualifying cover.  Covers selected from the same group will be considered as one qualifying benefit in the discount calculations. Please refer to the table below for more details.

Selection

Benefit Group

Minimum Sum Insured

Covers that qualifies under the benefit group

Mandatory

LIFE

$200,000

Life Cover

Life Income Cover*

Optional

TRAUMA

$100,000

Trauma Cover - accelerated

Trauma Cover - standalone

COMPLETEDISABLE

$200,000

Complete Disablement Cover - accelerated

Complete Disablement Cover - standalone

MONTHLY DISABILITY

$2,000 per month

Income Cover - Agreed Value

Income Cover - Indemnity

Income Cover - Loss of Earnings

Income Cover - Loss of Earnings Ultra

Mortgage Repayment Cover

 


Reserve Bank announces review of the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act and more daily news

RBNZ has announced that it will be relaunching its review of the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act next month. The review comes after an industry consultation begun in 2017. The same consultation was set to continue earlier this year but was delayed as a result of COVID-19 related regulatory relief being implemented. Geoff Bascand, Deputy Governor and General Manager of Financial Stability, has said that maintaining an efficient insurance sector is important as customers expect to insure their assets and themselves.

“The Reserve Bank – Te Pūtea Matua will be relaunching the review of the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act (IPSA) in October.

The review began with an industry consultation in 2017 and was set to resume in March this year, but was delayed in-line with the regulatory relief implemented to free up the Reserve Bank and industry participants to support our economy and tackle the challenges created by COVID-19.

“Maintaining a sound and efficient insurance sector is important for New Zealand,” Deputy Governor and General Manager of Financial Stability Geoff Bascand says.

“Customers expect to be able to insure their homes and possessions and obtain life and disability insurance, and businesses utilise a range of insurance products to protect their assets and business interruption exposures,” Mr Bascand said in an address to the Insurance Council today.”

In 2010 the original Act was enacted to ensure that New Zealand was up-to-date with international standards for prudential regulation. The reason behind the enactment has not changed. The first Christchurch earthquake influenced that Act. International Monetary Fund assessment in 2017 and the independent review of Reserve Bank Supervision of CBL in 2019 have also influenced the Act. A policy paper is set to be published early next month and will detail the resumption, objectives topics, and timetable.

“The original IPSA was enacted in September 2010 to bring New Zealand up-to-date with international standards for prudential regulation. The reasons for enacting IPSA have not changed, and it is good regulatory practice to review legislation to ensure it is working effectively and update it for the lessons learned over the past 10 years, Mr Bascand says

The first Canterbury earthquake, for example, devastatingly occurred just a few days before the enactment of IPSA, resulting in intense supervisory activity and application of IPSA provisions over many years.

Other recent experiences that will help inform the IPSA review include an International Monetary Fund assessment in 2017 and the independent review of Reserve Bank Supervision of CBL in 2019. Further background and context has been provided by the joint Reserve Bank/Financial Markets Authority review into insurer conduct and culture, and the Thematic Review of the Appointed Actuary regime. The associated Solvency Standards need to be updated for impending changes to accounting standards and the review will consider adopting a mandatory buffer above the minimum solvency level.

A policy paper outlining the of the IPSA Review, and objectives and topics to be covered, will be published in early October. It will provide an updated overview explaining objectives, topics to be covered and an indicative timetable. At the same time, we will also release a consultation paper on principles to guide the review of Solvency Standards.” Click here to read more

 In other news

Accuro: Mel Stevens appointed as People and Culture manager

AIA: AIA has earned a place in the Hang Seng Corporate Sustainability Index, receiving an A+ rating and increasing its overall score

FMA: Pegasus Markets And Director Found Guilty Of Abusing FSPR


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

9 Sept 2020 – IRD issued guidance on the taxation of cryptoassets. https://www.ird.govt.nz/cryptoassets

10 Sept 2020 - Financial Advice New Zealand have created a Virtual Conference/ Regional Roadshow, with the conference hosted over four regions in a different region each day over 21-24 Sept, with the Auckland event being online. https://financialadvice.nz/conference-2020-home/

14 Sept 2020 - The Reserve Bank announced that it will be relaunching the review of the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act (IPSA) in October 2020. A policy paper outlining the resumption of the IPSA Review, and objectives and topics to be covered, will be published in early October. It will provide an updated overview explaining objectives, topics to be covered and an indicative timetable. At the same time, the RBNZ will release a consultation paper on principles to guide the review of Solvency Standards. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2020/09/work-on-insurance-act-review-resumes


How best to describe vaccine pre-orders? "Hoarding" or "Funding"

Various phrases have been dreamed up to describe the practice of many western countries - especially those with large pharmaceutical industries - of pre-ordering doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine nationalism is one. Others sometimes refer to the practice as "vaccine hoarding". This is deeply problematic. It is talking as if the vaccines are there, on the shelf. Graphs showing vaccine capacity and comparing that to the level of pre-orders (such as in this article) fail to adequately explain the cause and effect relationship between these two factors.

Consider the risks - there are many promising candidates and pathways to a vaccine, but the odds are, frankly, long. For the vaccine researcher huge sums of money must be spent in research, development, and testing. Yet without a pre-booked order for the vaccine, this may all be lost - not just by failure to make a viable and useful vaccine, but possibly by a more effective vaccine candidate coming on to the market, which is bought in preference. If you are conservatively managed business, perhaps, not unusually in a time of economic crisis, an eye on conserving capital, you may decide not to progress a vaccine option unless you were really confident about it. Yet the world needs the companies to take these risks. In fact, the more the better.

The scale of the cost (human and financial) of the pandemic is such that the value of effective vaccines is very, very large. By offering to pre-order doses governments are encouraging much more investment both in the science of researching vaccine and in the capacity to produce the vaccines. Turning back to the graph of capacity again and you can see the relationship between capacity and the size of the pre-orders. Far from reducing pre-orders, which would reduce the number of candidates advanced and the capacity to produce them, governments should increase pre-orders, to make it a better bet for teams to invest in the search - as argued by this article

International co-operation will be essential to any medium to long-term strategy with regard to COVID-19. It is truly a case of all being in this together - as, while there is a pool of infected people out there, reinfection could occur. However, it would be crazy for any government to lock themselves into a strategy right now. After all, so much is not known. The virus could mutate and fade away, or several good vaccines could be developed, or it takes a very long-time to develop a vaccine. Or a break through treatment is found - but no vaccine. Each might require substantially different implementation strategies. It seems best to wait and see how the situation develops before betting the farm on any particular approach.


FSC announce plans for Generations 2020

The FSC has announced that Generations 2020 will go ahead virtually. The conference will be held on October 13-15 2020.  Alongside existing speakers, new guests are set to be announced. 

“We are excited to announce that the FSC's 2020 Digital Conference - Generations will go ahead between 13 and 15 October, during the lead up week to the election. It has been a difficult decision and Covid 19 has thrown us all many curve balls, however we are delighted to bring you one of the industry's leading events whilst prioritising the health and safety of our community.

 

The programme remains exceptional, with a showcase main platform program with many of New Zealand’s leading lights, political leaders, regulators and inspiring individuals. We will also feature all of our breakout programs and breakfast sessions which will delve deep into key issues right across the sector.

 

We are also working on a number of special guests and new initiatives to engage delegates, connect our community and showcase the capability in the market place.”

All ticket holders partners, and sponsors are being welcomed to join the virtual conference. More information on tickets will be announced next week.

“We are delighted to welcome all existing ticket holders, partners and sponsors to the digital conference. More details on how your tickets will transfer over will be announced next week. For those who have not registered yet, stay tuned for registration details.”