Fidelity Life launches ‘Mark It’, a marketing and communications resource, and other news

Fidelity Life has launched Mark It, a marketing and communications resource to help advisers better connect with customers - includes how-to-guides, communication templates and educational content.

Mark it will include how-to-guides and communication templates designed for a range of customer life cycle scenarios, as well as educational content about different types of life insurance for customers’ changing ages and stages.

All Mark it content is written in plain English. New tools and content will be added over time, with the aim of helping advisers provide useful, educational content for customers.

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Government criticised for allocating funds to ACC to work on NZIIS before MBIE’s analysis of consultation on scheme released, and other news

Jenée Tibshraeny writes in NZ Herald of how the government has been critiqued for pushing through legislation to allow ACC to work towards operationalising the NZISS ahead of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) analysis of submissions made via the consultation process. MBIE has said a formal decision on whether the government will proceed with the scheme will be made in June or July.

MBIE's acting manager of income insurance policy, Francis van der Krogt, told NZ Herald around 2000 people or organisations either made full submissions or answered a shorter-form survey.

He said officials are analysing the feedback and preparing a summary for Ministers, which will be released "in due course".

Asked why the submissions weren't published before the legislation was passed and funding allocated via the Budget, van der Krogt noted the legislation is a "small and relatively technical piece of legislation" that enables ACC to do work it wouldn't otherwise be able to do under existing legislation.

"The work will help inform final decisions. Any substantive legislation to create a New Zealand Income Insurance scheme would go through a full Parliamentary process," van der Krogt said.

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Government commits to providing ACC funding for preliminary work on systems and operational processes for NZIIS
WTW introduces new version of Radar pricing software

Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

20 May 2022 – Under an extended Parliamentary session from 19 May 2022, the following Bills were passed through all their stages in Parliament under urgency.

  • Taxation (Cost of Living Payments) Bill

  • Income Insurance Scheme (Enabling Development) Bill

  • Companies Office Registers Funding Validation Bill

Southern Cross publish survey results, and more daily news

Southern Cross recently conducted a survey to understand ways New Zealand businesses can minimise the number of employees resigning. Participants were from different sectors and shared their views on job satisfaction, the best things about their jobs and the effect COVID-19 had had on their feelings. Southern Cross CEO Nick Astwick has said that the survey provides valuable insights.

“While the Great Resignation is sweeping the world as the global workforce enters a third year of pandemic-related disruptions, new research conducted by Southern Cross Health Insurance (Southern Cross) has uncovered what New Zealand businesses can do to help avoid the same fate.

Survey participants across a wide range of sectors were asked to share the best things about their job, as well as indicate their job satisfaction, including how those feelings might have changed since Covid-19 reached New Zealand’s shores.

Nearly half of those surveyed (46 per cent) said they feel grateful to have their job, with this figure slightly higher for female respondents (49 per cent) compared to men (41 per cent). Workers in the education and training (63 per cent) and healthcare and social assistance (49 per cent) sectors topped the list.

However, just over a third of those surveyed said they enjoy going to work most days (35 per cent). This increased significantly for those working in education and training (55 percent) while people employed in manufacturing ranked lowest out of all industries (24 per cent). Interestingly twice as many men (15 per cent) than women (seven per cent) said they already have their dream job.

When it comes to what New Zealanders say is the best thing about their job, factors that create a more supportive work culture rank above aspects like pay and flexibility. Just over a third of respondents (34 per cent) said a supportive employer or team was the best part of their job, while 30 per cent also noted their work colleagues feel like friends or family. Again, these sentiments skewed higher for female workers, with 38 per cent of women valuing a supportive environment compared to 26 per cent of men.

Some sectors scored particularly highly when it came to offering a supportive workplace. Just over half of those who work in education and training (53 per cent), for example, said having a supportive employer or team was the best thing about their job, while 41 per cent of those employed in healthcare and social assistance also shared that sentiment.

CEO of Southern Cross Health Insurance, Nick Astwick, said the survey provides valuable insights into what New Zealand businesses are doing right when it comes to employee satisfaction, but it also shows the challenges that lie ahead.

“There’s been many reports of a significant wave of people overseas reassessing their jobs in the face of the ongoing effects of the pandemic, and New Zealand businesses have an opportunity to prioritise how to prevent the same from happening here.

“Businesses already have difficulty filling roles in a tight labour market, and this will only get worse if they have large numbers of unhappy employees silently looking to move on. There is also a huge risk that New Zealand will lose a large swathe of young people, and the upwardly mobile, who want to move overseas after two years of closed borders.

“As CEO of the country’s largest health insurer, I’m navigating these very challenges, and many of Southern Cross’ business customers have shared they’re also facing the same reality. We have a job as business leaders to step up and fight to keep our employees, because at the end of the day, a business’ biggest resource is its people,” said Astwick.

The research has been valuable in showing organisations what key areas they need to work on in order to retain its people. Despite the upheavals felt across the workforce, a proportion of New Zealanders do still enjoy going to work, and this is largely because they feel supported while they’re there and recognised for the contribution they make – but there is more work to do, added Astwick.

“Businesses need to look at the reasons why people are happy in their job - which is having a supportive workplace, a good work/life balance, and flexibility – and use that information to increase the number of people who enjoy their job, and reduce the number of people feeling burned out and reassessing their career.

“Getting those conditions right can mean greater retention of staff. There’s no denying the impact that employee turnover has on an organisation’s productivity and bottom line, so investment in building a purpose-driven culture that also encourages a feeling of belonging can help to retain a motivated and engaged workforce,” said Astwick.

Southern Cross works with more than 3,500 businesses to help them support their people, with just over half of Southern Cross’ almost 895,000 members part of an employer work scheme.

“As a health and wellbeing partner to a significant portion of Aotearoa New Zealand’s workforce, we see how employers are willing to support their people beyond the time they spend at work, and recognise how their workforce gives their everything, every day,” added Astwick.  

“Feedback from those businesses also shows the workplace wellness benefits provided to employees can make them feel valued – and people who feel recognised and supported at work are more inclined to support and show loyalty to their employers in turn, and as they continue to drive the New Zealand economy forward during these uncertain times,” said Astwick.

Key insights from the Southern Cross research

(Omnibus research commissioned with Perceptive – January 2022):

How do you feel about your current job?

I feel grateful to have my job


I enjoy going to work most days


My employer is supportive


I receive recognition for a job well done from my employer


I love my job


I have a better work/life balance following the outbreak of Covid-19


I want to do something completely different to what I am doing now


I feel burned out at work


The pandemic made me reassess my career


I wish I could take a career break


What are the best things about your job?

Good work-life balance


Satisfaction in getting to help others


Supportive employer / team


Flexible hours


Work colleagues are like my friends/family


Positive work culture


Remote / flexible working




I receive fair / competitive pay


Challenging work


In other news

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Cigna introduce Adviser Hub enhancements, and more daily news

Cigna has announced that new features have been added to Adviser Hub to ensure compliance with FSLAA. Once the online learning or accreditation requirements are released next year advisers will be able to use the new feature. The first feature allows advisers to link their FSPR number to their Adviser Hub profile, allowing advisers with an active FSPR number to access Adviser Hub in accordance with the permissions they have. The second feature called My Profile has been added to allow advisers to monitor accreditation requirements and their FSPR status. The third feature is My Score Card. This feature is connected to Cigna’s training and accreditation portals and the FSPR. My Score Card will change colours depending on an adviser’s status.

“We’re pleased to announce the first of a series of improvements to Adviser Hub to assist you to stay on top of your obligations outlined in your Distribution Agreement, our Cigna Standards of Ethics and Conduct (Conduct Standards) and in The Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act (FSLAA) 2019, which is now incorporated into the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013.

  1. Your unique FSPR number is now connected to your Adviser Hub profile

From Tuesday 7 December, your unique Financial Service Provider Register (FSPR) number will be connected to your Adviser Hub profile.

This means your access to Adviser Hub will become conditional on the type of permissions you have, and will take into account whether you have an active FSPR number provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

  1. We’ve introduced some new features to Adviser Hub

My Profile

When you login to Adviser Hub on Tuesday 7 December you’ll find a new My profile page. This easy-to-use tool will help you stay on top of your accreditation requirements outlined in our Conduct Standards such as annual refresher product training courses, and declarations. You can also use it to keep track of your FSPR status.

My Score Card

To make it easy to stay on track of your requirements, our team have worked hard behind the scenes to provide a clear and easy way for you to check your status against these requirements at a glance.

My Score Card is a traffic light indicator which is connected to the MBIE FSPR as well as our training and accreditation portals. It will automatically change from green to orange or red based on whether you’re up to date with your requirements.

Put simply, if the light is green next to a requirement you’re good to go. If the light is orange or red, we’ll let you know exactly what you need to do to get back on track.

Do I need to do anything now?

Until we release our online learning or accreditation requirements in the New Year, there’s nothing you need to do. All you’ll see for now is the status of your FSPR which should be green.

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ACC: ACC adopts COVID-19 vaccination requirements

Fidelity Life ratings under review, and more daily news

It has been reported that the A- (excellent) Financial Strength Rating and the A- (excellent) Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating are under review. This is a normal development in the case of substantial acquisitions. AM Best's decision comes after it was announced that Fidelity Life is set to purchase Westpac Life. AM Best have applied an "under review" status with developing implications status on Fidelity Life’s ratings to assess the financial and operational impacts the purchase will have on Fidelity Life. The rating status will remain in place until the purchase is complete, and AM Best is able to conduct an assessment of Fidelity’s credit rating fundamentals. Click here to read more

“SINGAPORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AM Best has placed under review with developing implications the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” (Excellent) of Fidelity Life Assurance Company Limited (Fidelity Life) (New Zealand).

These Credit Ratings (ratings) actions follow the announcement on 6 July 2021, that Fidelity Life has entered into an agreement with Westpac Banking Corporation to acquire its New Zealand life insurance business, Westpac Life-NZ-Limited for NZD 400 million. The transaction also includes the establishment of an exclusive 15-year life insurance distribution arrangement with Westpac New Zealand Limited.

Concurrently, Fidelity Life has announced an equity investment of NZD 140 million from a new investor, Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation Limited (Ngāi Tahu Holdings), to fund the acquisition partly. Fidelity Life’s current largest shareholder, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, and Ngāi Tahu Holdings are expected to fund the majority of the acquisition.

The transactions, which are subject to customary closing conditions, including shareholder and regulatory approvals, are expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

The under review with developing implications status reflects the need for AM Best to assess fully the financial and operational impacts of the acquisition and the funding structure on Fidelity Life’s rating fundamentals, including on its balance sheet strength and business profile.

The ratings will remain under review pending completion of the acquisition, and until AM Best can complete its assessment of Fidelity Life’s post-acquisition credit rating fundamentals.”

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Partners Life on benefits of private health care, and more daily news

Partners Life Managing Director Naomi Ballantyne has shared some insights into the benefits of medical insurance and private health care. Ballantyne has said the difference in available treatments, waiting times, and procedure time limits in public and private health care can be vast. Ballantyne has said that the key benefits of medical insurance are having individual-specific treatments available and hospitals not bulk buying treatments. Ballantyne has expanded by saying that unlike public health care providers, the private system offers every option available, with a focus on options more specific to each circumstance. Ballantyne has noted that the only limitation to private health care is ensuring treatments are Medsafe approved and approved by specialists.

“New Zealand’s public health system takes care of millions of Kiwis each year, but when it comes to treating more complex illnesses, the benefits of having private health insurance are often not well understood – and, according to Partners Life MD Naomi Ballantyne, the difference in available treatments can be huge.

The limitations of the public system include the types of drugs it has access to, waiting times, and the time limits set on certain procedures - all of which Ballantyne says can make a significant difference to somebody’s treatment process, particularly when dealing with a physically and emotionally difficult illness, such as cancer.

She said that access to individual-specific treatments is one of the key benefits of having medical insurance, as these types of treatments are not usually subsidised and can be expensive to access without an insurer’s help.

“The public system ‘bulk-buys’ their treatments, whereas the advantage of the private system is that it doesn’t need to do that,” Ballantyne said.

“In the private system, you are offered every option that you can get, and these options are often more specific to an individual’s circumstances rather than everyone just being given the same type of chemo, for example. In the private system, the doctors can offer drugs that are specific to a person who has a certain type of illness at a specific stage, and if you have private insurance, that’s all funded.”

“As a private insurer, we are not limited to whether something is subsidised or not,” Ballantyne explained.

“We’re only limited to whether it is Medsafe approved and whether your specialist has recommended that for you. That’s a huge difference between someone who is just given a generic treatment through the public system, or someone who has to sell off their assets to try and pay for a specific drug that isn’t subsidised.” Click here to read more

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Cigna implements new commission, and more daily news

Cigna has implemented several new changes to their commission model. Advisers will now receive 100% of Cigna’s documented commission rates, regardless of their persistency rates or group affiliation. With this change, advisers will now have the power to decide how commissions are split. Commission payments will now begin from month two. Cigna has said this change was introduced in acknowledgement of the extra time and effort advisers are putting into their businesses. Another change is giving adviser the option of choosing the payment period with the as earned option. Advisers can now choose between upfront payment and spreading the payment over the first two years. Advisers that choose to spread payment over two years will ensure that there is no clawback if a policy lapses during that time. Cigna has added more selection to their discounting options. These options have been linked to spread commissions.

Renewal Commissions will now be paid from month two

We recognise that the servicing of your customers doesn’t start from month 13, it starts from the moment their policy is issued.

With the new regulatory environment you’re now operating in, we acknowledge the extra time and work you’ll be dedicating to your business. So we want to support you further as you work harder to protect your customers.

From now on you’ll be paid all the commission

All Advisers, regardless of persistency level and/or Group affiliation, will now receive 100% of our documented commission rates. We can help facilitate any splitting of commissions you need to do, but you are in total control of where it goes.

We’re introducing an ‘as earned’ payment option

Choice matters. So we’re giving you option to receive your commission payments over the first two years, instead of upfront. With this option there’s no clawback if a policy was to lapse in the first two years.

More flexibility with our discounting options

To provide you more flexibility and options to suit your customer’s needs, we’re adding more selections to our discounting options and we’ve linked these to our spread commissions.

Updating our commission to include best in market features reflects our ongoing commitment to you and helps ensure New Zealanders have continued access to the quality advice you provide.”

Cigna commission table April 16 2021 3
Cigna commission table April 16 2021 3
Cigna commission table April 16 2021 3

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Cigna: Insurance for living campaign 

FSCL complaint foreshadows implications of non-disclosure, and more daily news

After speaking with an adviser a woman proceeded to cancel her $300,000 policy and add a trauma/critical illness policy. After suffering a back injury a month after making the changes, the woman’s claims were denied.

“The woman met with an insurance adviser to review her cover – she already had a $1 million life insurance policy with one insurer and another $300,000 policy with another, but no trauma, critical illness or mortgage replacement cover.

The adviser recorded that she was working 28 hours a week as an accountant in her own company and studying part-time.

It was recommended she combine her life insurance policies with one of the existing insurers and cancel the $300,000 policy. The adviser also said she should include some trauma or critical illness cover and mortgage protection cover in case she could not work for a period of time.

The woman accepted the adviser’s recommendations. She cancelled the $300,000 policy and a new policy providing cover for trauma/critical illness commenced in October. In November she tripped and fell, injuring her back.”

When speaking with the adviser the woman noted that she worked 28 hours and studied part-time, when claiming she told her insurer that she worked 30 hours a week and informed ACC that she worked 40 hours a week. Her insurer discovered that she wasn’t  working and instead was a full-time student. The woman proceeded to lodge a complaint against the adviser stating that she wasn’t informed that she would need to provide financial statements and a result of the advice she’s cancelled her $300,000 policy.

“She submitted a claim under her trauma/critical illness insurance, stating that she had been working as an accountant for 30 hours a week. She also stated on her ACC form that she had been working for 40 hours a week.

When the insurer asked for documents to corroborate her income, she was unable to provide convincing information. The insurer then discovered that she was a full-time student. The insurer declined the claim and voided the new insurance policies but later reinstated the $1 million life policy that she had before the changes were made.

The woman complained that the advice she had received from the adviser caused her to lose the $300,000 life insurance policy that she had cancelled on the adviser’s advice. When the complaint was not able to be resolved directly with the adviser, she went to FSCL.

She told the dispute scheme the adviser had not told her she would have to provide financial statements to support any claim.”

Although the FSCL concluded that the advice given was sound advice, the chain of events highlights the importance of risks of non-disclosure.

““We were satisfied that the advice to increase the cover with one insurer and cancel the smaller policy was sound advice and had not caused any loss,” FSCL said.” Click here to read more

Advisers reading the reports will notice inconsistencies and gaps. The story is plainly larger and more complex than is being shared. As such, there is no real basis for making form judgments. In more general observations we should probably note the increasing likelihood of client complaints and the difficulty of managing disclosures - making sure that clients are really clear about the importance of accurate disclosure and helping them to achieve that - for their benefit and ours. After all, complaints just cost us all money and reputation. 

In other news:

Southern Cross: a Risk Partner – Sales and Marketing role is currently being advertised

Strategi: Strategi are offering remote AML/CFT audits

RBNZ: Reserve Bank extending mortgage deferral scheme

RBNZ: Monetary Policy Statement Explained Q&A with RBNZ Chief Economist and External MPC Member

FMA: Sorted Money Week has begun

ACC to delay invoicing

ACC are delaying CoverPlus Extra invoicing for three months. Although CoverPlus Extra payment plans will be paused, all customers will remain covered at their agreed amount. Customers on a payment plan with an outstanding amount owing may have their next installment taken before being paused. ACC will be in touch if there are any further changes.

Click here to see ACC’s response to COVID-19