Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

12 Apr 2021 – RBNZ advised that it is ceasing to publish certain weekly banking customer lending metrics, as it also resumes publishing certain insurance financial statistics. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/statistics-news-and-updates

12-13 Apr 2021 - Financial Sector (Climate-related Disclosures and Other Matters) Amendment bill introduced into Parliament, intended to amend the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013, the Financial Reporting Act 2013, and the Public Audit Act 2001 by implementing a single broad policy to broaden non-financial reporting by requiring and supporting the making of climate-related disclosures by certain FMC reporting entities and supporting related matters. Relevant web links are https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_109905/financial-sector-climate-related-disclosures-and-other and https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/nz-becomes-first-world-climate-reporting

13 Apr 2021 – FMA provided a breakdown of financial advice providers in the new regime. https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/media-releases/breakdown-fa-providers/

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13 Apr 2021 – RBNZ announced the establishment of a new standalone Enforcement Department to promote confidence in compliance across regulated sectors. The Enforcement Department is operationally separate from the Bank’s Supervision team, but the two will work closely together to achieve the Bank’s compliance goals. https://mailchi.mp/rbnz.govt.nz/reserve-bank-launches-new-enforcement-department?e=1769bcd465


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

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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


March peaks interest in comparison

An all-time record high of 2,504 users on quotemonster.co.nz in the last 28 days confirmed that it was a very, very, busy March. More advisers than ever are interested in comparisons. Advisers tell us that consumers like comparisons. Guidance around replacement advice requires that either a comparison is done, or the risks of proceeding without having done a comparison are explained - for example, in this report. It seems that advisers, regulators, and consumers all agree that comparisons are an essential part of financial advice. This situation is dynamic - you cannot form a view and then keep expecting that to hold true - every quarter, on average, four insurers change the pricing for eight product lines and the policy wordings for five product lines. So if you haven't compared, how can you be confident in your recommendation? 


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

1 Apr 2021 – MBIE published a discussion document seeking public input into problems and proposed options to address jurisdictional inconsistencies between approved dispute resolution scheme rules, with submissions closing on 6 May 2021. https://www.mbie.govt.nz/have-your-say/review-of-approved-financial-dispute-resolution-scheme-rules/  This review process does not include the option of merging the scheme (along the lines of the Australian approach). The review looks at limits, consistency, and jurisdictional issues that may affect claimants. It is well worth taking a look at the document - advisers that have had claims would be advised to take a look too, your feedback may be especially valuable. 


Quality Product Research: Inflation Adjustment item update for Life Cover

Introduction

Inflation is often overlooked when customers are looking to purchase Life Cover. Although it may not be necessary for short term policies, it is however, a valued feature for long term policies (i.e., those that are in place for 20 years or more). 

Sub-items rating review

Hello

Following up on adviser feedback, we have recently added the optional Inflation Adjustment feature to MAS increasing the accuracy of our rating for Life cover for this insurer.

Please note we currently only show the pricing difference between indexed vs non-indexed (as shown below) and the rating for optional items are excluded from the total rating you will see on your research report.

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Notes

The Inflation Adjustment benefit does not significantly vary among providers. Companies differ in expiry age, with Pinnacle being the only that expires at age 60. ANZ bank seems to be the only provider with a deduction for the sub-item “Excludes when premiums are waived”. A significant difference is whether the benefit is optional or included.    

Why is this important?

The benefit would be of high value for those looking to purchase long term policies. To not have this option would have a great impact in the future as you would understand that the cost of living will only increase as time goes on (and so should our Life cover). 

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. 


nib on why customers should consider comprehensive health insurance, and more daily news

nib has prepared a list on why customers should consider comprehensive health insurance. nib lists five reasons why members are better off with comprehensive health insurance. These reasons are:

“Greater choice

Your clients choose who they receive treatment from, and alongside their GP or specialist, they decide where and when. Having access to more options helps reduce uncertainty and enables them to make plans to minimise related disruptions caused in their lives.

Less waiting, less worry

It is not uncommon to spend months waiting in the public health system before receiving treatment. While your client is waiting, their health may deteriorate further, and secondary issues could develop. Access to private healthcare, afforded through health insurance, can significantly reduce waiting times, creating greater peace of mind.

Less time off work, less lost income

Poor health could require needing to take time off work to recover. This could result in lost income for your client, as well as any of their family members who may need to support them. Furthermore, without private health insurance, they may have to cover the cost of private treatment themselves, creating additional financial burden.

Access to leading edge treatments

Health practices and treatments are advancing rapidly. Private health insurance can give your clients access to treatments that they may not have otherwise been able to afford.

Preventative care

Prevention is better than dealing with illness and discomfort. With the nib Proactive Health Option, it’s easier for your clients to stay healthy, and to enjoy life and all the things they have worked hard for. They’ll be covered for screening, such as breast screening, prostate screening, heart screening and mole mapping, allergy testing and vaccinations, gym memberships, weight loss management programmes, quit smoking programmes and routine health checks.” Click here to read more

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Partners Life: Partners Life is asking FAPs to login to the FSPR for the FAP and engage financial advisers by March 31 to ensure Partners Life has the latest list from the FSPR

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nib:  nib’s Head of Adviser Distribution, Chris Carnall, provided a brief overview of the Intermediary Agreement


Wealthpoint introduces general insurance service, and more daily news

Wealthpoint has introduced the launch of the standalone General Insurance brokerage. Wealthpoint CEO Simon Manning has said that Wealthpoint General Insurance was formed to support advisers expand general insurance services as well as expanding supplier members with a focus on growing commercial, property and liability business lines. Wealthpoint General Insurance is based on the longstanding relationship with Vero and AMP General as well as new arrangements with Delta and Star Insurance. Manning has said that the dealer group has been considering this for a while as general insurance has always been a significant part of business for members. Creating a standalone brokerage means that Wealthpoint can form a working relationship with larger insurers under the IAG brand. Wealthpoint has partnered with Steadfast to form the new brokerage.

“The dealer group, formed from the former AMP advisers association, launched Wealthpoint General Insurance, a standalone brokerage for its 50 member businesses to transact through.

Wealthpoint chief executive, Simon Manning, said Wealthpoint General Insurance had been formed primarily to support member businesses to expand their general insurance offering to clients.

He said Wealthpoint was keen to expand the range of suppliers members could deal with, particularly for commercial, property and liability business lines.

Successful long-term relationships with AMP General and Vero Insurance were still in place and new supplier arrangements with specialist insurers such as Delta and Star Insurance were introduced for Wealthpoint members in the past year.

But, Manning said Wealthpoint was conscious that access to some of the larger insurers, including those operating under IAG brands, was only possible if structured through a standalone brokerage.

"General insurance has always been a pretty big part of our members' businesses and it's been something we have been thinking about for a long time," Manning said.

"There are a few unknowns about how much it will be used as it is only an option for our businesses who want to expand their GI operations or look to bring in more expertise."

Manning said uptake had been encouraging since they began offering its expanded services at the start of this month and "if we overshoot on our expectations then we will have to look for some more people pretty quickly".

"At the moment we are a small staff and are monitoring things closely but the phones have been ringing, so it's pretty encouraging."

He said while some Wealthpoint member businesses had explored the option of setting up their own brokerages, there were significant barriers such as high setup costs, lack of scale at member level and potential regulatory risks.

He said with that in mind Wealthpoint had joined forces with Auckland-based brokers Steadfast.

"They have been extremely helpful, they are very professional and have arrangements with virtually all of the market so that's helped us form alliances with all of the providers we want to.

"They have given us a really good tech platform as well.

"Now it's up to us working through the list of insurers and working with them to bring them onstream. Getting agreements in place will take time and we are being quite methodical working through that." Click here to read more

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Partners Life Customer Outcome Matrix update, and more daily news

Partners Life has provided more information on the upcoming Customer Outcome Matrix reporting and commission changes. Current bonus rates will remain in place until 30 September 2021 to ensure advisers have time to prepare and adapt before bonus commission rate changes are implemented on 1 October. Partners Life has noted that this adaption period is sufficient for advisers to understand the Customer Outcome Matrix process. Partners Life has also noted that they are in the process of completing changes to ensure regular reporting on Customer Outcome Matrix results.

“We have always maintained that we have wanted to provide at least 3 months visibility to the COM reporting prior any Bonus Commission changes coming into effect, allowing you sufficient time to review your own reporting and to be able to understand the feedback and how this relates to your engagement and servicing of clients.

We have continued to make good progress and are nearing the completion of the implementation project.

Given the material changes associated with COM, and with the many other industry changes that are occurring, we have however, made the decision to extend the ‘Go-live’ date for potential bonus rate changes to 1 October 2021.

We are confident that this will not only provide a robust reporting period to allow you to understand and get comfortable with the COM data but will also allow you to continue to encourage your clients to expect and participate in the COM survey process.

We will further underpin your current bonus rates until 30 September 2021 to provide you with an appropriate period of time to understand and adapt to the results of the COM.

We are close to completing the necessary changes to MPL to provide you with regular reporting on your COM results from your MPL dashboard. We envisage this being available towards the end of April.

Full implementation of COM, including the Bonus Commission levels, will now commence on 1 October 2021.”

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