What if only 17% of people ever went to the doctor?

That would be ridiculous wouldn't it - if only 17% of people went to the doctor when sick. Imagine, most people thinking that going to a doctor was unnecessary. It would be like thinking that a doctor couldn't  really know that much more about how to be healthy, or at least recover from sickness, than you do, so why pay all that money? 

Yet that is what people think about financial advice. It is one of the of the surprising conclusions of this paper from the United States on why people do not seek financial advice. Link

Perhaps you are about to dismiss that as the product of those foolish Americans, known for strange ideas - but the Commission for Financial Capability research shows similar levels of apathy for financial affairs here. Different survey aims and objectives, but very similar results from their survey at this link (especially refer to table three). 

There is no greater enemy to financial well-being than apathy. What we focus on, we can usually find a way to improve. The big debates within the sector tend to be about how to improve. That's valuable and so much earnest energy is expended there. I am part of it and I value the struggle and enjoy it. But I have to keep reminding myself, the really big debate, the one that would make all the difference, is how to get people paying some attention. 


Quality Product Research: value-based research supports evidence-based advice

We have recently had an influx of new users register on Quotemonster and would like to take the time to re-introduce our Research and Rating Methodology.

We think that using real-world data to make our research value-based makes it a lot easier to see which features and benefits really count, and which are just bells and whistles.

Our Four-Factor Research includes:

  1. Definition – the quality of the policy wording

In our definition score, we are purely looking for differences between policy wordings but will use the same sub-items across products (e.g., Agreed value, Indemnity, Loss of Earnings). We start with a score of 100 and usually make deductions according to restrictions and limitations in cover. Our approach differs for “Exclusions” as these take away from the policy so you will see this as a negative total score. A variation of this approach is also used in our rating for “Offsets.  

  1. Incidence – How likely the benefit is to be claimed

We collect data from re-insurers, statistics, underwriters, and medical experts to identify how likely each benefit will be claimed on.

  1. Amount – How much would be paid

Here we identify how much each insurer will pay. In trauma insurance, some companies pay the full benefit for an item, others only make a payment of 10% or 20% of the sum insured because the condition was not severe enough to warrant a full payment. Our score is varied according to how much would actually be paid. For some benefits, we create a claims scenario to determine the amount paid as it is not as clear-cut.

  1. Frequency – How often the benefit would be paid

Here we determine if a claim can be made more than once. A client can only claim on life insurance once, therefore the frequency will be 100% however this is less clear-cut for Medical which is where we create a claims scenario that will reflect multiple claims over a lifetime of the policy.

We then multiply the four factors to obtain the Insurance Quality Score that you will see on Quotemonster.

Definition x Incidence x Amount x Frequency = Insurance Quality Score

Also, we don't so this alone. We take advice - from a variety of expert sources below, and also from regularly engaging with advisers and insurers. In fact, we are running two consultations right now, and receiving input from reinsurance research to update our trauma claims incidence rates. We support an evidence-based approach to advice. 

Methodology add on v1

If you would like a one-page explanation of why methodology matters please email or call the team and we can send you the methodology info-graphic. If your team has new staff members (or any that would like a refresh), we can invite them to our regular Quotemonster and Advicemonster training sessions (attendees include Insurer Product Managers and various other Industry members). Please feel free to email through contact details of those who are interested in attending (researcher@qpresearch.co.nz). 

 

 


Fee-charging options for holistic financial planning services

Tony Vidler directs us to this article by Alan Moore of XY Planning Network. It contains a comprehensive list of all the main methods for charging fees in the investment and general financial advice sector. There are some gems to be picked up for those that work in focused insurance businesses, or run an advice business in which insurance, home loans, and KiwiSaver are significant components. The establishment of a good fee schedule and methodology provides a valuable hedge against concerns about the fee model. Having one does not mean one cannot support the other - you can offer fee options as alternatives to commissions and also hybrids of the two. Do check it out. 


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.”

In other news

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]


Cigna set to implement number of new processes, and more daily news

Cigna is set to implement several changes, including a new commission structure, a new specific injury product, new eApp and online Adviser Hub, and new underwriting processes. The announcement was made during Cigna Live. During the livestream, David Haak, General Manager of Distribution, discussed the changes to commission by noting that advisers would no longer be paid on a 13 month basis, instead payments would commence from month two. Cigna will also offer an 'as earned' payment option that will allow advisers to spread out commission payments.

During the session Alison Manning, Head of Product, announced that a new specific injury product would be introduced. The product will focus on offering financial support to customers that suffer injuries such as fractures or burns. Unlike other products, this product will offer cover up to $5,000 for single injuries and more for multiple injuries, regardless of age and smoker status. Cigna will not consider any offsets due to ACC payments. Payment will be a lump sum and will provide cover for surgery after an accident. Customers will be able to include this product as an add-on to other policies.

Chris Hand, North Island Regional Manager, noted that Cigna has been developing a new eApp and online Adviser Hub for the past 12 months. Hand said that the new hub is intended to offer advisers and customers more data security. The new hub is also set to streamline the quoting and application process.

Similarly, Cigna is set to improve underwriting processes. Chief Operating Officer Debbie Eyre highlighted that the new underwriting approach will ensure disclosure processes are made easier. This change includes shorter questions to increase completion rates. Cigna plans to have a single simplified underwriting process for all products. 

“Cigna's top brass made the announcements during a live webcast to more than 1200 advisers and industry commentators this morning.

General manager of distribution, David Haak gave some information about Cigna's new commission structure but did not cover specific rates as that information would be sent to advisers at a later date.

However, Haak did say the new commission structure would be simplified and tailored to individual advisers.

He says renewal commissions will be paid from month two, instead of month 13 and 100% of documented commissions would be paid out.

We understand this to mean that commissions are paid to the financial advice provider, who may pay them on to dealer groups or service providers. The payment of renewal commission from month two has the effect of increasing the commission paid in year one, but not at month one, clearly. 

"There will also be an 'as earned' payment option where you can spread out commissions over a longer period, instead of a lump sum."

Cigna head of product, Alison Manning also announced a new specific injury product that would provide more financial support for injuries like fractures or burns.

Manning says cover is not determined by age or smoker status and would provide up to $5000 of cover and a higher payment for multiple limb fractures.

It will also cover second and third-degree burn cover and can be used as an add-on to any other policy.

Accidental injury cover is a valuable addition to the product range - there are now three insurers offering similar products, so we shall be adding the rating to research subscribers (available at quotemonster.co.nz). 

She says the new product was called for by advisers and "Cigna had listened and tailored the product on feedback from the industry".

Cigna's specific injury cover will not take into account any offsets due to ACC payments, will be paid out as a lump sum and will also provide cover for surgery after an accident.

Cigna's North Island regional manager Chris Hand gave a brief overview of the company's brand new eApp and online Adviser Hub that has been developed over the past 12 months.

He says the new hub will provide more data security for advisers and their clients as well as streamlining the quoting and application process allowing advisers to send questions to clients directly before any face to face meetings.

"In many cases, this will lead to instant cover and allow advisers to amend quotes on the fly."

Cigna's chief operating officer Debbie Eyre commented on the company's new underwriting approach that she says will make the disclosure process easier and clearer for its customers.

This will involve a new, shorter set of questions designed to increase disclosure rates and "maximise completions at point of sale".

"Regardless of the level of cover...there will be just one ruleset and one questions set...and will apply to almost all of our products - income protection, mortgage cover, trauma, life cover and waiver of premiums.

"This will mean our underwriting team are freed up to talk to you about more complex cases." Click here to read more

In other news

From Good returns: From army life to life insurance - a big gun leaves the industry

Quotemonster: QuoteMonster appoints new general manager


Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Diabetes Mellitus (Adult)

Introduction

The Ministry of Health estimates that over 263,000 New Zealanders are living with Type 1, Type 2, or gestational Diabetes, with the highest incidence in Maoris, Pacific Islanders and South Asians. Many insurers do offer cover for diabetics, however, add on significant premium loadings (at times even 400%) in order to minimise the risk that arises from insuring a high-risk individual. 

Proposed Rating  

Sdd
Notes

The ongoing advancements in medicine have prompted us to review this rating. Policy definitions are similar among insurers with minimal variation. Interestingly, many insurers offer a partial/diagnosis benefit for Type 1 Diabetes once the insured is over 30. However, AIA offers full payment for Type 2 and Type 1 Diabetes after age 30. Asteron Life only offers a partial benefit with their optional Early Trauma Benefit.

Why is this important?

Clients that have a family history of Diabetes will be interested to find how each insurer rates in this area. Diabetics often pay increased premiums, regardless of how well their condition is managed, so there is a high level of responsibility on the adviser to conduct annual reviews that may reduce loadings or exclusions for their clients.  

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


Quotemonster and Advicemonster updates - live now

We have updated the quotemonster site, on Thursday, and made the following items live, for more detail see below:

  1. New SOA report content setting options allow you to create more customisations for your SOAs if you are an Advicemonster subscriber. To access these click settings, then SOA Setting, then Report Content Setting
  1. New SOA template for Need analysis recommendation note pad - bring through all your calculations from the recommendation notepad in Advicemonster to quote and to the SOA.
  1. New nib rates applied to the site
  1. FSP input validation for user setting and register form - so it is important that your FSP number matches your name and the entry on the FSPR. A reminder that sharing your login is a breach of our terms and conditions and unusual account activity (like switching user names) will be picked up and we will be contacting account-holders that actively share their logins. 
  1. Improved the health product breakdown table in the research report.
  1. Applied Fidelity level standalone trauma maximum level term rule
  1. Changed Partners Life IP and MP max-age to 57 - as we do not quote reduced commission versions of income protection
  1. Update Web version number to v 3.8.7

Congratulations to Albert, Doreen, and the whole team on a big package of updates. Our special thanks to the advisers sending us issues and suggestions for improvement of the Advicemonster process and the SOAs. 


Interrupted: FSC Get in Shape Conference rescheduled plus more daily news

The FSC has announced that the Christchurch and Dunedin Get in Shape summits will go ahead on 14 and 15 April 2020. The second half of the summit was interrupted due to changes in COVID-19 alert levels. Similar to the Auckland and Wellington summits, the upcoming summits will include a masterclass session. Click here to register

“The two Get in Shape Advice Summits that were postponed in February due to Covid-19 alert levels have been reorganised on 14 April 2021 in Christchurch and 15 April 2021 in Dunedin.

The sessions, including the 2021 Masterclass are all designed to help and support the community to grow and adapt, following the start of the new FSLAA regime this week.

If you missed out on our Auckland and Wellington events, tickets are still available for both the Christchurch and Dunedin events. Find out more information and register.

Those already registered for the postponed events will have received an email and text with a link to the updated tickets automatically transferred to the new dates.”

In other news

Fidelity Life: new adviser portal set to go live in July

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Insurance People: Katrina Church asks: Should the government be encouraging the public to seek advice?

Sorted: Tom Hartmann writes: This is what good advice looks like


QPR: Updates for Implementation of new FSLAA Regime

To help you prepare for the implementation of the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act implementation on 15 March Quality Product Research Limited has made the following changes to the Quotemonster site:

  1. Prepared an outsourced provider statement. This provides you with information to meet the license conditions for a Financial Advice Provider to use a third party (us) as part of your advice process (for example: preparing comparison quotes and research reports). Subscribers to the research and advicemonster services will see an announcement when they next log in. A link to the outsource provider statement is included in the site in the About Us section. 

  2. Updated Advicemonster – an external review has been conducted, the draft statement of advice (SOA) has been updated, and the system for preparing the SOA has been improved. If you are an Advicemonster subscriber we suggest you run a new trial needs analysis to check out the new report – it is a more comprehensive and robust document that speeds up the process of creating new life and health statements of advice. If you don’t subscribe, or you would just like a quick refresher on how to use the system, click here to request a demonstration.

  3. Updated our terms and conditions – refer this link for details. Also, a link to the terms is included in the site in the About Us section, and on every page in the site. 

Coming up: there will be further changes to the adviser profile page to reflect changes to the FSPR due to the new license regime. We will update you on those next week. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us or call (09) 480 6071. Thank you for being a customer of Quality Product Research Limited.


What should advice cost?

What should advice cost? That was an excellent question from the audience during the first two of our recent getting in shape series. Perhaps this seemingly simple question surprised our panel. The answer to the question is not easy. It was a kind of sub-plot in the day's event: the question of the cost of advice is part of the disclosure story, part of the story about the future of advice, part of the story about the value of advisers solidly backed up by the research shared on the day. When asked what advice should cost the panel made a good beginning - in both Wellington and Auckland the first answer was "it should not be free". This echoed John Botica's  earlier comment during the first panel in Wellington where, talking about disclosure, he asked that any advisers taking commission should not refer to their advice as free. Of course advice isn't free. Often something that is not paid for is not valued. Advice is paid for (whether by fee or commission) and it is valuable. 

The question came up in the context of a discussion about how to make advice more accessible. For people to value advice they must first know it is available, believe it is worth getting - but these are just pre-conditions. Often we know something would be good for us, but don't do it.

Many people struggle with making the time to meet with an adviser - not just because of the time for the meeting, but they fear the time the work around the meeting will take. A good portion of the population are certain that their finances are a mess, and if not, then the musty file of papers definitely is a mess. So they fear judgment. Many people struggle with making room for the cost of advice. If they believe that it will require payment at the time and their budget is already stretched they will be reluctant to make an appointment. Commission has a valuable financing role to play here - but it is not the only mechanism, of course, that can make access to advice easier. 

So although advice should not be free, we need to make it easy to start the process. Which means the initial steps should be free - and easy to do.

Most advisers offer initial discussions at no charge. More can be done to make brief trials of the value of advice accessible. Social media helps, Zoom and MS Teams helps, but nothing quite beats a meeting - and the ability to slip into a 20 minute session on KiwiSaver at lunch or hear ten top tips on managing your home loan at the local mall are probably under-utilised strategies. Now add some tools in the client's first language (which will not be English in about a third of cases in Auckland) and spoken by someone who at least knows your culture a bit... these are access strategies. They reduce the psychological costs (fear of rejection, fear of shame, fear of being exposed as not having 'enough money to qualify for advice').