FSC announce conference early bird tickets, and more daily news

The FSC has announced that early bird tickets for September’s ReGenerations Conference are now available. The FSC has highlighted that the conference will include three different workstreams and six pathways to allow attendees to hear key up-to-date information relevant to their specialities. It has been announced that the conference will also include political, industry and keynote speakers. 

 

“EarlyBird ticket sales for the FSC's flagship conference are now on sale. Great content drives great conferences and we have a stellar line-up of political, industry and keynote speakers which we will be releasing over the coming weeks.

 

The conference is structured to include three different workstreams and six pathways across the two day event, giving everyone an opportunity to hear key up-to-date information relevant to their speciality and challenge how we deliver insurance, investments and KiwiSaver to consumers.” Click here to register

 

 

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Accuro: Not-for-profit insurer Accuro celebrates 50 years in business

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Accuro announces digital partnership, and more daily news

Accuro CEO Lance Walker has announced that Accuro has partnered with Optimation, a digital technology solutions provider, to develop a system to support innovation, efficiency, and a provide faster and more personalised digital customer services. Walker has said that the system will allow Accuro to better support new and existing members as well as helping to ensure future product implementations are more efficient. The new system will be at the center of the daily operation of Accuro, including managing policies, onboarding new members, choosing and changing plans, pricing, processing preapproval and claims, and providing services to members. The new system will help to minimise manual processes.

“According to Accuro chief executive Lance Walker, the company has teamed up with Wellington-based digital technology solutions provider Optimation to develop a new system to support innovation, efficiency, and provide faster, more personalised, digital customer services.

“As a not-for-profit cooperative insurer we are focused on delivering great customer experiences for our members and ensuring that our processes and technology enable that,” says Walker.

“This new system will allow us to better support our new and existing members and future proof us so that adding new products and services and responding to changes in the market is quicker and easier.”

The policy administration system is at the heart of Accuro’s day to day operations, including managing policies, onboarding new members, choosing and changing plans, pricing, processing preapproval and claims, and providing services to members.

“One of the real benefits we are targeting is a reduction in manual processes, which limits the ability of our team to focus on added value member servicing, and can impact on processing time and accuracy,” says Walker.” Click here to read more

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Asteron Life simplifies policy transfers, and more daily news

Asteron Life has announced that policy transfer between advisers or to FAPs is now simplified. Advisers will no longer need to complete specific forms or send through a copy of the Sale & Purchase Agreement. Instead, advisers will need to inform their BDM who the seller and purchaser are, when the transfer will happen, and whether it is a full or partial transfer of policies. Asteron Life will send a Notice of Transfer for both parties to sign and return.  Asteron Life has highlighted that all transfer requests need pre-approval. The pre-approval will be issued when an adviser states their intention to transfer policies.

“We have simplified our process for transferring client policies to another adviser or FAP. Our new process means there are no specific forms for you to complete, and no need to send us a copy of the Sale & Purchase Agreement between the two parties. Please discard any existing Sale & Purchase or client transfer forms you might have on file, as these will no longer be accepted. 

Going forward, you only need to contact your Business Development Manager/Consultant with the following information:

  • who the two parties are (seller and purchaser);
  • when the transfer is to happen (minimum of 7 days’ notice required);
  • whether or not you are transferring all of your client portfolio or only some specific clients (in which case you’ll need to tell us their full name and policy numbers).

We will then send you a Notice of Transfer for both parties to sign and return to us to action. 

A reminder that all transfer requests do need our pre-approval. We can confirm our approval when you first advise us of your intention to sell/transfer clients to another Adviser/FAP.”

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ASB: Head of Financial Advice Competency

Vahry Insurance: Julia Vahry has been selected in New Zealand as one of the most outstanding young professionals

Accuro: Accuro is celebrating its 50th anniversary

Gen Re: Finding a Way Forward for Disability Income Insurance in Australia - Considering the Financial Aspects of Product, Underwriting and Claims [Part 4 of series]


Accuro on how COVID-19 impacted the industry, and more daily news

Accuro CEO Lance Walker has shared insight on how COVID-19 impacted the industry. Walker has noted that Accuro saw higher than usual levels of policy suspensions and lower claims during the second quarter of 2020, then higher claims towards the end of the year. Regardless, Walker highlighted that Accuro remained resilient because of the business continuity process in place. New business sales has been described as remaining at good levels during the initial COVID-19 period in 2020 and continuing into 2021. Walker has said that there has been very strong direct sales for individual policies and strong growth in group sales. Accuro has concluded that there is now a heightened awareness of the benefits of health insurance.

“The insurance industry took a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic last year, with many insurance providers and their people forced to quickly adapt to the unstable environment and address emerging risks.

Now that New Zealand has largely eradicated the pandemic, Accuro Health Insurance (Accuro) chief executive officer Lance Walker shared with Insurance Business how it impacted Accuro and the health insurance sector, the current challenges in the industry, and how to address risks.

Walker (pictured), who joined Accuro as a CEO during the COVID-19 pandemic last year, said the pandemic’s most immediate impact was that hospitals were not performing elective surgeries during the lockdown. As a result, Accuro saw lower claims during the second quarter of 2020, then higher claims towards the end of the year.

 

“We also saw higher than usual levels of suspensions due to financial hardship – although most of these are now reverting to paid policies,” Walker continued.

Despite the impacts of the pandemic on the sector, Walker shared that Accuro remained resilient, thanks to its business continuity processes.

“Like many organisations, the COVID-19 lockdown was a live test of our business continuity processes, and the team came through that with flying colours,” he said.

“We were able to conduct business remotely from day one with minimal impact on our levels of customer service (our levels of customer satisfaction remained above 90% for the 2020 year). This remote working model has continued post-COVID-19, with many of our team now choosing to work from home from time to time in line with our flexible working policies.”

Accuro’s new business sales also remained at “good levels” through both the initial COVID-19 period in 2020 and continuing into 2021.

“In particular, we have seen very strong direct sales in the individual space and strong growth in group sales,” Walker said.

“Our conclusion is that COVID-19 has heightened awareness of the benefits of health insurance – both for individuals and employers (who are even more focused now on employee health and wellbeing).”  Click here to read more

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Professional IQ: Claim v circumstance seminar

 

 


Quality Product Research: Health Insurance - major review process commenced for exclusions item rating

Introduction

Medical insurance is one of the most hotly contested areas of product comparison. Adjustments are made frequently to many features. Exclusions, however, are complex and difficult to compare. Although we update our exclusions ratings with every new product change released it is time to review the method and balance of the scoring of these items. We have therefore started the process of a major review.

Theme of review

The themes of this review are:

  1. A thorough review of all terms
  2. A focus on the relative weighting of the terms
  3. Calling for claims examples of how the terms are applied

Review process

We have alerted advisers and insurers to our plan to do a review and asked for data on the themes above. Changes will be based on our view of all the information sent to us.

We will then publish a model for changes to the guide scores for exclusions sub-items and ask for input on the proposed new model. Further changes may be made at this stage.

We are seeking claims examples for the review. Further changes may be made at this stage.

Timeline for review

March - advise review started

April - review claims information

May - consult on new model for rating

June - implement revised ratings

Your feedback

We value getting your feedback on how these wordings are being applied to claims you may be aware of. Please email us with details of any recent claims to help us update our understanding.

Doreen Dutt, Research Analyst, Quality Product Research Limited, researcher@qpresearch.co.nz


RBNZ addresses data breach, and more daily news

The Reserve Bank has announced that it will continue to respond to the external breach of an information sharing service. Adrian Orr has said that the RBNZ has contained the breach and is now working to understand the impact of the breach, this includes working with both domestic and international cyber security experts. It has been noted that the breach wasn’t an attack on RBNZ or other users of the information sharing service. RBNZ has said that it cannot offer more details at this time.

“The Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Pūtea Matua continues to respond with urgency to a breach of a third party file sharing service used to share information with external stakeholders.

Governor Adrian Orr says the breach is contained, but it will take time to determine the impact. The analysis of the potentially affected information is being done with pace and care.

“We are actively working with domestic and international cyber security experts and other relevant authorities as part of our investigation. This includes the GCSB’s National Cyber Security Centre which has been notified and is providing guidance and advice.”

“We have been advised by the third party provider that this wasn’t a specific attack on the Reserve Bank, and other users of the file sharing application were also compromised.”

“We recognise the public interest in this incident however we are not in a position to provide further details at this time.”

Providing any further details at this early stage could adversely affect the investigation and the steps being taken to mitigate the breach. The Reserve Bank will continue to work with affected stakeholders directly.” Click here to read more

In other news:

Partners Life: Braden McMahon announced as new participant in the Legacy Leavers video series

Fidelity Life: 9-month fixed term Senior Project Manager role advertised in December

Gen Re: Medical Underwriting Programme set to become digital from 1 March 2021

Montoux: Customer Delivery Lead (Life Insurtech) role advertised

Accuro: appointed Director role advertised


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


Accuro: Changes to its board and CEO

Geoff Annals has announced his retirement from CEO at Accuro stating “I have reached retirement age and am planning to spend more time with my family and particularly my two new grandchildren, including the latest arrival on the other side of the world,”. Gavin Rutherford will step up as the interim CEO.

Erica Hodgson, who has experience in the mental health sector, was elected as a new member of the board, replacing Pat Curry. Accuro deputy chair Marion Guy was re-elected to the board by the firm’s membership for a second three-year term. Toni Ferrier is stepping down from the Accuro board to serve as the chief executive officer of AIG New Zealand.


Accuro launches free mental health aid

Press release from Accuro:

Accuro launches free mental health solution for more than 15,000 members

12 September 2019, Wellington

Easy and quick access to mental health diagnosis and support has been added to the range of services that Kiwis can call on from Accuro Health Insurance.

About 47% of New Zealanders will experience a mental illness and/or addiction at some time in their lives, with one in five people affected in any one year*.

“For many, issues such as depression or anxiety really affect their lives. Yet a lot of people don’t seek help or have issues with their treatment plan.” says Geoff Annals, CEO of Accuro Health Insurance, a not-for-profit health insurer based in Wellington. “The Government announced significant mental health funding this year, yet access to specialists can still be very limited, with long wait times, and can also be very expensive,”

“So Accuro is launching Mental Health Navigator in partnership with Best Doctors. First launched in Canada in 2016, Mental Health Navigator has since launched in Australia and will soon be available in Europe. Accuro members are amongst the first New Zealanders to have access to this service. Mental Health Navigator is completely free for Accuro members to use alongside their specialist insurance cover, which includes a $500 benefit towards further consultations with NZ registered psychologists and psychiatrists, should follow up be required.

The Mental Health Navigator is now available, for everyone covered by an Accuro Specialist Plan, aged 18+. It’s designed to break down barriers by providing fast, comprehensive and confidential access to a team of mental health professionals. A call to the Mental Health Navigator number will be answered by a specialist mental health nurse and followed up within 10-14 days by a video call with specialist psychologists and psychiatrists. This team can diagnose mental health conditions, develop a treatment plan, or act as a valuable second opinion. The mental health nurse then provides follow up support over the next 6-12 months.

“Fast access to diagnosis and treatment is an important part of people getting better before they get worse, and with typical wait times of two to six months through the public system, we feel access within two weeks can make a dramatic difference to a person’s wellbeing,” says Geoff Annals. “Mental Health Navigator is free, and people can access the service without having to leave their own home, an important detail for members who might be fearful of hospital appointments, or have trouble travelling to them.”

“This is the first time such a quick, easy and professional mental health support service has been available to New Zealanders through health insurance. The Accuro Mental Health Navigator joins Best Doctors, SkinVision, our wellbeing Health Hub and bowel cancer screening kits as active benefits that Accuro offers its members in supporting their health before they might need to call us. We call it Active Insurance,” adds Geoff Annals.

ENDS