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Southern Cross experience a surplus, and more daily news

Southern Cross has reported a surplus of $32.4 million for the year ended 30 June 2020. This financial reporting comes after the $50 million return to members. $972 million was returned in claims in the last financial year, this equals to 85 cents in claims being returned for every dollar received in premiums.

“Southern Cross Health Society Group has today released its annual financial results, posting a surplus of $32.4 million for the year ended 30 June 2020.

The announcement follows Southern Cross Health Society’s pledge during the Level Four lockdown in April to return $50 million to its members.

In the last financial year, the Society returned $972 million in claims and received $1.138 billion in premiums.

For each dollar received in premiums, it returned 85 cents in claims to members, compared with an average of 62 cents in the dollar among other New Zealand health insurers.”

“The business paid out 72 per cent of all private health insurance claims, significantly more than its 62 per cent market share based on Health Funds Association of New Zealand data.

Nick Astwick said that Southern Cross was focused on members during the last financial year. This included pledging to return $50 million, setting up employees to effectively working from home and ensuring the business digitisation process is on track.

Chief Executive Nick Astwick said the Society’s focus during the last financial year was on taking care of its members: “We were with our members from the start of the pandemic, returning $50 million to them, and introducing a significant range of options for those in need of hardship relief.

“At the same time, our workforce was very quickly set up to work remotely, ensuring service levels were seamlessly maintained.”

Astwick said cost-saving digitisation of the business had continued at pace, with 82 per cent of customer channels now fully digitised, and more than 96 per cent of claims submitted digitally.” Click here to read more

In other news

Southern Cross: Woman who lives in fear of jaw dislocation determined to get replacement

Southern Cross: Southern Cross gives support to students' mental health programme

AIA: Depressed man wins $173,000 battle with insurer AIA - there will be more discussion of media claims coverage in the forthcoming quarterly life and health sector report. 


Legal and regulatory updates for the life and health insurance sector

21 Sept 2020 – FIU posted to its website the August 2020 AML/CFT Suspicious Activity Report.

21 Sept 2020 – The Takeovers Panel released the latest version of CodeWord, Issue 51, containing commentary on:

  • Being careful with the Code if holding shares through different entities
  • Recent guidance updates, including:
    • Schemes of Arrangement
    • Lock-up Agreements
    • Exemptions
    • Creeping Acquisitions
  • New Class Exemption – Voting Agreements for Schemes of Arrangement
  • Covid-19 Class Exemption
  • No more cheques

What kind of mistake was this?

Sometimes the world is a bit binary: if its not a 'genuine' mistake... then you must have done it on purpose! When journalists interview insurance companies you can almost hear the subtext out load: this wasn't a mistake, this is how you treat all your clients.

Sometimes it is bias, not even conscious, but an assumption about how the world works that means you might see some claimants as more likely to be fraudulent, in declining this one, that fits the pattern of the others, without examining all the evidence, means we make a mistake. It is simply not the same as the genuinely one-off mistake that can happen when a specialists report was overlooked.

Another is a complete mismatch in expectations. An insurer asks for a series of tests and reviews, which are "obviously" entirely standard in nature, to prove a TPD claim. The client sees an insurmountable list which is "obviously" intended to signal that their claim is unlikely to be paid and to deter them from pursuing it further. 

Lastly, the sin the corporate is most likely to commit, is failure to take responsibility for the error - eloquently put in this post by Seth Godin. 

That is why the category of mistake is really important to identify in order to build better systems and process - and to build more trust with clients and business partners. 

 

 


 Development of Clearhead Te Reo platform

nib has announced that a Te Reo Māori platform has been launched in partnership with Clearhead and nib foundation. The Clearhead website and chatbot have been translated into Te Reo Māori to offer Maori communities the opportunity to better use the service as it has been found that Māori are twice as likely to experience mental health issues than people who aren’t Māori. This launch makes the service the first mental health service to support an indigenous language.

“Clearhead, a Kiwi digital mental health company has today launched its translated te reo Māori website and chatbot offering in partnership with nib New Zealand (nib) and nib foundation, designed to help reduce the barriers Māori communities often face when accessing mental health services.

Māori populations are consistently over-represented in New Zealand’s suicide statistics, are twice as likely to experience mental health issues compared to non-Māori, and 1.5 times as likely to report experiencing anxiety or depression.

As a global first for any digital mental health service to support an indigenous language, the translation marks an important step towards providing culturally inclusive resources to support the health and wellbeing of one of our most vulnerable communities.” 

Dr Angela Lim, Clearhead CEO, has said that mental health resources available don’t accommodate how Maori wish to access resources and support. Lim continues by saying that digital solutions that offer anonymity, flexibility, and affordability must be offered to improve outcomes for Māori. The launch of the new platform during Māori Language Week is intended to highlight the importance role culture plays on mental wellbeing.

“Clearhead CEO, Dr Angela Lim says that while Māori are disproportionately represented in the public mental health system, the resources available do not necessarily take a user-centric approach of how Maori would prefer to access these resources and support.

“Māori make up 40 percent of patients in the public mental health system, yet only around three percent of clinical staff in the sector identify as Māori, and an even smaller number are fluent in te reo Māori. To some, te reo is a fundamental part of their identity – and yet we face significant challenges in delivering culturally appropriate services to this community,” Dr.Lim said.

“In order to improve mental health outcomes for Māori, utilising digital solutions where we can provide anonymity, flexibility, affordability and overcome geographical barriers can be a viable solution. We hope our platform can assist in improving reach and engagement for Māori seeking mental health support and provide that safe place where they feel heard,” Dr Lim added.

With the new platform launching during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) Clearhead’s aim is to highlight the importance culture has on one’s mental health and wellbeing. Research from the Mental Health Foundation has demonstrated that a strong cultural identity – including a connection with Māoritanga and te reo within Māori communities – is linked to positive wellbeing and a reduced risk of suicide.” Click here to find out more

In other news

nib: leaders and employees took part in a 10-week Māori language training program designed by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei

FMA: FMA details Covid-19 response

FSC: "Alarmingly excellent" results for Kiwis who seek financial advice


Legal and regulatory updates for the life and health insurance sector

15 Sept 2020 – NZ Police FIU and ACAMS issued invitations to the 2020 AML/CFT conference to be held between 10-11 November 2020, providing for both on-site and virtual conference access. https://www.police.govt.nz/advice-services/businesses-and-organisations/financial-intelligence-unit-fiu/fiu-acams-conference

17 Sept 2020 – RBNZ released the outcomes from a COVID-19 stress test of New Zealand banks. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2020/09/stress-test-reinforces-importance-of-bank-capital

18 Sept 2020 – DIA advised on its website of the release of an AML/CFT Supervisors updated enhanced CDD guideline, dated August 2020, noting also the intent to shortly publish a webinar on its website which will deep dive into the enhanced CDD obligations. https://www.dia.govt.nz/AML-CFT-Updated-enhanced-CDD-guideline


Fidelity Life licensing questionnaire, and more daily news

Fidelity Life are asking all advisers who have agencies with them to complete a licensing questionnaire. The questionnaire will allow Fidelity Life to understand what an adviser’s agency structure will be in the new regime, this will allow the insurer to continue accepting new business and paying commission. The questionnaire will be emailed out to advisers shortly and must be completed by 14 November 2020.

“So we can keep accepting your new business and paying you commission under the new adviser licensing regime, we need to know what your agency structure is going to be from 15 March 2021.

To make it easy for you we’ve developed a questionnaire. We’ll be emailing these out shortly so keep an eye out for yours.

So we have time to reflect these changes in our systems please respond by 14 November 2020.”

In other news

Fidelity Life: Building Better Businesses Live training to be held 18 September 2020

Fidelity Life: Disclosure Live: understanding the new disclosure requirements training to be held 22 September 2020

Fidelity Life: Part 1 of the online product accreditation programme, Learning HQ, is available now 

Fidelity Life: Part 2 of the online product accreditation programme, will be available in October 2020 


A checklist for avoiding bad choices

There are a few checklists you might use for good decision making. The Harvard Business Review publishes a good book which summarises the main methods for good quality decision-making - it is quite readable and not too academic. It is ideal for major decisions. But then again, you can read this brief challenge list, put together recently by Seth Godin: https://seths.blog/2020/09/bad-choices/

 


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