Most trusted sourced of financial advice revealed

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand’s report has found that New Zealanders are more likely to seek financial advice from family and friends at informal gatherings. People reported that their friends and family were the most trustworthy source, followed by accountants. The good news for financial advisers is that as people get older, they understand the value and importance of professional financial advice. Click here to read more

AIA; Business continues and adviser support

Here is the latest news from AIA in regards to keeping business operating and continued support to advisers:

Our workforce
To help protect our people and best support you, in line with Government direction, we will:

  • reduce the number of people in our offices for essential services only, and
  • transition the rest of our people to working from home.

Our service to you
As we transition our people to remote working, there may be impacts on our service levels and the way we provide services to you. We will work hard to minimise these impacts and we ask that you please support us by: 

  • Limiting calls to our Contact Centre to urgent enquiries only by instead using one of the following alternative channels
  • Reducing contact to our Claims team by limiting calls only for essential and urgent claims
    • Delays may be experienced as we move our teams to work from home; we thank you for your patience while we transition our teams to work remotely as much as possible
  • Using our eApp instead of paper or emailing through customer applications
    • When you email a paper proposal to us, it requires multiple handovers between different teams. We expect that paper proposals, even those emailed, will take longer than usual to process.
    • The eApp bypasses this issue and significantly speeds up the submission processes.
  • Internal replacements from AIA Real and Sovereign TotalCare Max to AIA Living can take longer to complete than processing new applications submitted via eApp
    • Wherever possible, please consider deferring like-for-like replacements to AIA Living

Our external providers
We are working closely with our service providers to ensure that we can continue to provide key services, including medical information.

For the safety of our Health Screen nurses and Claim Case Managers, all visits have moved to phone based. We are also working with our reinsurers to assess our ability to obtain medical information to support our underwriting and claims processes.

We are open for business
We remain open business and will do our best to support you to assist your existing customers and protect new customers seeking insurance.

We are continuing to monitor developments and at this stage there are no planned changes to our AIA Living product range.

As noted above, delays may be experienced as we move our teams to working from home and we thank you for your patience and support during this time.


Insurers encouraging advisers operating remotely

Most of the people I know have had a very busy few days - apart from those that were already in self-isolation. The small business buyer wasn't at Pak N Save - they were at PB Tech. Not everyone is at the same place in their journey of digital transformation, and this week is a rough one for those that have more manual processes. For them, as for all of us, digital provides a welcome slice of good news.

Start with your basic hardware set-up (a reasonable laptop or desktop computer, a decent internet connection, microphone, camera, good chair, a good room in which to set it all up). Perhaps you already had an extensive home rig - and you just had to plonk the work laptop down on the desk. But maybe you've been busy with family and the pieces are in boxes taken from work over the last few days. You might want to check out some of the shots of home set-ups that people are sharing online to get some ideas. Here are two great links:

I particularly like the ones that show innovation, with things like computers squeezed into odd spaces, some DIY to get desks and screens that work well, and so on. The hardware, the physical office set-up in space is just the tip of the iceberg, however. It's the software, the tools, the process and the attitude you bring that makes the difference. 

Here digital has some great news for you - even if your software set-up is minimal, it doesn't matter. Digital can be adopted and improved well during your isolation - services can be set-up, signed up, and learned purely online. If you haven't done this before, you can get help online. Your tech support people will be delighted to help you - remotely, of course. Insurers have already got a wide range of online tools covering quoting, needs analysis, application, and underwriting. Quotemonster is operating - usage is up about 20% - so you can do needs analysis and write SOAs. 

There are also lots of online resources and a blizzard of emails from insurers about how cover works (normally for existing clients), how underwriting will work during this period (some restrictions on available product and some additional underwriting rules and processes), and how claims and administration work with most teams operating from home (its a bit slower, and call volumes are higher).

If you can offer a reassuring message to clients, I expect it will be gratefully received. If you can reach out to prospects and the wider community, some will doubtless respond. 


The FMA wants advisers to keep helping their clients

The FMA is encouraging advisers to keep helping their clients: 

The Government has confirmed financial services among its list of essential services that need to continue to operate when New Zealand moves to Level 4 in its COVID-19 response.

Financial advice is not covered by the definition from the Government of workplaces/offices that need to remain open but it clearly remains an important service.

Our expectation is that most advisers should be able to work from home, with no need to staff offices.   This means advisers can continue to provide support to clients without compromising the Government’s social distancing objectives.

We encourage advisers to contact their clients and be available to help with their inquiries during these challenging times.

The problem of vendor financing your client base sale

A common way to help a younger (and often, less wealthy) adviser buy your client base is through vendor financing. Often the loan is secured against the client base. Which sounds fine. In fact it was fine, back when all you needed in order to manage a client base was to be a Registered Financial Adviser. After all, if you were selling a client base, you were already an RFA. But selling a base in this way no longer works in an environment with changed agency requirements. New agency terms appearing now, changed to reflect the implementation of FSLAA and with provisions for expected conduct law, require that an adviser must be appropriately licensed. So if you vendor finance you need to maintain your license status. That may suit some, but won't meet the needs of those that are selling in order to avoid having to do just that. 

Work is a great focus

Take all necessary precautions, and follow health advisory. Then get back to work. That's not a selfish message - as much as possible it is important that people can keep as much econmic activity going during this tough period. Although I am very busy, that's not the case for people who have been laid off. We don't want to make this worse than it has to be. Seth Godin expresses this particularly well in his post on the benefits of work during the current COVID-19 - it is a great way to do something positive, to focus on growth, to place your thinking on a practical and optimistic track. Check it out at this link: 

Asteron Life mixing and matching options for IP and Mortgage Protection Insurance

Asteron Life has recently made a number of changes to IP options based on SME research and also adviser feedback. See more details from them below:

Ability to Mix and Match different Income Protection options
One enhancement we made was the ability to offer new clients a range of flexible cover options which combine MLC and IP to tailor cover which suits your client. All new business has the option to combine Loss of Earnings (LOE) or Loss of Earnings Plus with Mortgage and Living Cover.

New Ten-hour benefit
We have also introduced an optional Ten-hour benefit which allows customers to work for up to 10 hours without it affecting their Living support benefit payment under Mortgage and Living Cover. This benefit provides a great option for customers who are self-employed and may work hours which don’t generate an income. 

Survey of Financial Advisers

The Financial Services Council would like financial advisers to help out with a survey: 

Financial Advisers – have your say

Financial advice in New Zealand is undergoing rapid change. On behalf of the Financial Services Council, CoreData Research is giving you the chance to have your say on how the change is affecting you, your business and your clients. This is a rare opportunity to tell us what you really think, and to provide your opinion on how the advice community is feeling and the impact the change is having. The survey takes an average of 12-15 minutes to complete, depending on your responses. Your responses will remain anonymous.

To begin the survey, click here.

Many thanks in advance for your time,

CoreData and the Financial Services Council