Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector
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New Zealander’s health concerns, and more daily news

A Swiss Re study has revealed that because of COVID-19 one in three New Zealanders have increased health concerns. The study found that one in two participants felt that their financial future was positive while 14% were anxious about their financial future. The number of participants that had increased health concerns and participants that were anxious about their financial future were the lowest among other developed countries within the Asia-Pacific region. Leigh Watson, head of life and health in Australia and New Zealand noted that although the New Zealand findings weren’t as concerning as respondents from other countries in the region, mental wellness and price certainty were identified as issues. The study found that New Zealanders felt that policy features were the most important aspect of insurance and claims payout was the least important aspect. Watson highlighted that the insurance industry has a role in promoting wellbeing.  Watson has said that Swiss Re is looking to work  alongside insurers to help customers through difficult situations.

“A Swiss Re study has shown that one in three New Zealanders have an increase in health concerns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic - however, this is the lowest reported level of concern among developed markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

The study showed that half of all surveyed New Zealanders were keen to resume domestic and international travel and social activities, and one in two respondents felt that their financial future was positive. Fourteen per cent (14%) felt overwhelmed or anxious about their financial future - the lowest percentage in the surveyed region.

When it comes to insurance, respondents felt the ability to set a fixed premium was the most important policy feature (31%), while monetary payout was the lowest priority (19%).

Leigh Watson, head of life and health in Australia and New Zealand, said that while New Zealanders appear to have less money troubles compared to other APAC countries, issues like mental wellness and price certainty remained a concern.

“While New Zealanders aren’t so worried about the financial impacts of the pandemic, they are worried about the mental wellness impacts, which have been exacerbated by COVID-19,” he said.

“We can see that New Zealanders would also like to see more price certainty in their insurances, and the industry is definitely trying to tackle this through a greater focus on more sustainable products and pricing.”

“Claimants are also looking for faster and easier claims processes,” he continued.

“Our claims team recognises that an innovative and agile response is required to support our insurer clients, and ultimately customers, to help them navigate unforeseen challenges in their time of need.”

Watson said that the insurance sector needs to “draw lessons” from the pandemic and how customers are responding to pressure, and it particularly needs to increase its focus on resilience and mental wellness.

“The insurance industry has a role to play to promote wellbeing, and to support a more proactive management of everyone’s physical and mental health,” Watson said

“The impacts of COVID-19 on mental health remain a concern, and we are assisting insurers in helping their customers through difficult situations and towards long-term recovery.” Click here to read more

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