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:

Product Research Database Update

We have uploaded the latest product research database (version 12_7) onto Quotemonster and distributed it to subscribers. This version includes the following changes:

  • Asteron Life policy wording added and rating changes applied effective 30.09.2019
  • BNZ LifeCare 01.04.2019 policy wording added and applied rating changes
  • Unimed Hospital Select 01.09.2019 policy wording added and applied rating changes
  • Fidelity Trauma Multi 08.09.2019 wording added and applied rating changes
  • AA Life and Funeral cover 01.08.2019 wording added and applied rating changes
  • Kiwibank Home Loan and Life & Living 01.08.2019 wording added and applied rating changes

Life insurers view on HIV/Aids challenged

Jason Myers, NZ AIDS Foundation CEO, has stated that AA’s life policy clause excluding HIV/Aids related deaths is discriminatory.  He continues by stating that it is an outdated view.  Mark Savage, AA Life General Manager, has said that AA needs to exclude conditions or lifestyle factors that the underwriting process will not give them enough information about. But Myers argues AA's rationale doesn't make sense, as heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes and stroke are among the diseases most likely to kill New Zealanders, but they are not excluded. Click here to read more. 

I suspect that this is really an historical issue. When HIV/AIDS was really an unknown, it was excluded because no one really knew how bad the disease could become, across the population as a whole. New Zealand is fortunate that measures to contain the spread have been successful, and measures to prevent transmission have kept the number of cases low, and the impact on people with the disease manageable. It also means that the impact on death rates is negligible. That means that some insurers - such as AIA, for example - feel comfortable enough to include cover for HIV even in their medical insurance contracts. 

Product Mapping for Banks and Direct Insurers

Below is an outline of the banks and other direct providers with a map as to which benefits and options they offer.

If you are trying to do a product comparison on Quotemonster with any of the companies below and they are not appearing, chances are you are quoting a benefit or option they do not offer.

If you would like a PDF version of this table you can download it here:  Download Product Mapping - December 2017


Fraud is real, that's why we underwrite, verify, and investigate, and most clients want us to

News reports show that clients still take desperate measures, at times, to defraud insurance companies. That fact is often overlooked when journalists are writing about someone being denied cover for non-disclosure, or a claim payment is held up for weeks while something is investigated. 

Asteron Life, Pinnacle Life, and AA Life, were all the targets in this case. You can read in the article at this link, on goodreturns. Asteron Life unfortunately paid a fraudulent claim, before it was spotted by Pinnacle Life, and then by AA Life (which is a joint venture between Asteron Life and AA). While paying a fraudulent claim is embarrassing, and I am sure that an extensive review is going on to prevent any repeat of that, there is a wider story about fraud. Life cover fraud is difficult, and therefore rare. But fraud involving income protection or medical insurance is much more common, and harder to spot: a claim going on too long, an unreasonable price, or unnecessary tests and procedures can all look just 'arguable'. Insurers worry that they will look mean, or untrustworthy themselves if they dither. That's why a common industry saying is 'if in doubt, pay out'.

But sometimes talking about declines and fraud is a good thing to do. Honest customers like to hear about it. They don't shout about it, but it helps. A very few clients that are strongly motivated by money can spend a lot of time working to defraud an insurer - while insurers are trying to serve the vast majority of honest customers. Most consumers want their cover to be affordable when they aren't claiming, and generous when they need to claim. For them, the message that insurers can be tough on dishonest customers is actually a positive.

AA Enters the Health Insurance Market

AA has entered the health insurance market partnered with nib. AA will be providing three core products including:

  1. AA Health Everyday Cover
  2. AA Health Private Hospital Cover
  3. AA Health Private Hospital and Specialist Cover

Click here to read their press release:  Download AA adds another layer of protection with health care_031016