Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Aplastic Anaemia

Introduction

Were back with another item analysis - this time for Aplastic Anaemia.

Please find our proposed sub-items below.

Sub-items rating review

Aplastic

Notes

A defined treatment option is a commonality across all insurers, excluding Asteron Life who have a more open definition when compared to their competitors. We have included a sub-item for those insurers who require diagnosis from a medical specialist along with a deduction to those that do not offer an additional treatment option. Aplastic Anaemia is a lowly weighted item in our database; however, our proposed rating aims to emphasise the difference in the definition between insurers, rather than focusing too much on ranking them from best and worse.  

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


AIA report on common preventable non-communicable diseases

AIA NZ has published a report on risk factors that lead to the most common preventable non-communicable diseases that result in death. AIA found that New Zealanders underestimate the impact of non-communicable diseases. AIA uncovered that New Zealanders thought that non-communicable diseases accounted for 10% - 50% of deaths when non-communicable diseases actually cause 90% of deaths.

AIA

Click here to read more

"A new report from AIA NZ has uncovered the five risk factors that lead to the five most common preventable non-communicable diseases which account for more than 90 percent of New Zealand’s deaths.

The findings, rooted in research originally founded by the United Nations, demonstrate how many of the world’s deaths are caused by lifestyle factors that contribute to preventable but deadly diseases.

Coined 5590, the five risk factors of physical inactivity, poor nutrition, smoking, excess alcohol and environment interaction, contribute to five common non-communicable diseases: cancer, diabetes, respiratory disease, heart disease and poor mental health.

The widespread impact of non-communicable diseases

Further local independent research conducted by AIA NZ shows that Kiwis vastly underestimate the impact non-communicable diseases have in the community. Half of Kiwis think non-communicable diseases account for only 10-50% of deaths in New Zealand each year. In reality these diseases account for 90 percent.

Nick Stanhope, AIA NZ Chief Executive, says the case for focusing on health promotion and preventing non-communicable diseases is stronger than ever.

“Non-communicable diseases are the leading cause for preventable death not only in New Zealand but across the globe. In 2019, 74 percent of the world’s total deaths were caused by non-communicable diseases. Furthermore, non-communicable diseases took seven places in the top 10 causes of death,” says Stanhope.

“Covid-19 has been on our minds for the past year, with more than a third of Kiwis thinking Covid-19 was responsible for the most deaths globally in 2020. However, the more insidious threat is non-communicable disease.

“At AIA NZ, we believe it’s our social responsibility to move away from simply being a payer of claims, to partner with Kiwis to live Healthier, Longer, Better lives.”


Partners Life approve use of electronic signatures, and more daily news

In response to increasing demands to accept electronic signature services Partners Life has announced that they will begin accepting documents with electronic signatures that are submitted through a range of e-signature services. Partners Life may request further information if a submitted document doesn’t clearly show the electronic service used. Additional information may include the document’s audit trail to ensure one of the approved services have been used.

“We have received an increasing number of requests regarding the acceptance of electronic signature services. Electronic signature services provide a safe, auditable means for clients to sign documents digitally.

We can confirm we will accept documents signed using the following services:

  • 2Shakes
  • RightSignature
  • DocuSign
  • AdobeSign
  • HelloSign
  • NitroSign
  • Formstack
  • DocHub
  • PandaDoc

If a submitted document does not display the electronic service used, we may request further information, such as the document’s audit trail, to be certain it was signed using one of the approved services. Please note Memorandum of Transfer forms cannot be signed using electronic signatures and we still require a physical signature on these forms.”

In other news:

FSC: ReGenerations Reimagined will begin on 19 October at  3.30pm

Partners Life: Expressions of interest now open for 3 day New Adviser Training Course

AIA: Last days for adviser wellbeing survey feedback

The Co-operative Bank: Mark Wilkshire will join as the new CEO on 25 January 2022


Partners Life set to change Level Life premium rates, and more daily news

Partners Life has announced that from 1 November Level Life premium rates will increase by up to 20% for new business. This change is a result of monitoring the performance of products against several expectations, including claims, lapse rate, expenses, and positioning expectations. Partners Life has clarified that the change in premiums won’t apply to existing guaranteed level premium life covers.

“As a key leader in the Life and Health Insurance industry, Partners Life is focused on ensuring the sustainability of our products for the long-term benefit of our clients.

This means we are constantly measuring and monitoring the performance of our products against expectations in respect to claims, lapses, expenses and competitive positioning.

Our latest review has identified a need for us to adjust our guaranteed level premiums for Life Cover.

With effect from 1 November 2021, Level Life premium rates will increase by up to 20% for new business, which reflects our experience assumptions, and will bring our pricing for guaranteed level life premiums in line with the rest of the market.

This change in premiums will not apply to existing guaranteed level premium life covers (including future contractual CPI indexation increases), in keeping with the guarantee.

As is usual, any non-CPI increases of guaranteed level premium life cover on existing policies will be priced based on the premium rates applicable at the date of increase.”

In other news

nib: Nib halts travel insurance sales in Australia and New Zealand

AIA: Not all life insurers are equal

From Stuff: Why you should constantly review your insurance coverage


The biggest threat to the life and health insurance sector:

An insurable event is one which can be defined, measured, and is uncertain. Uncertainty is crucial. Things that are certain cannot be insured. Another feature of an insurance contract is asymmetrical information – we know general risks – like how likely cancer is – the insured knows specific risks – like how their health is. We have an obligation to each other, defined in law as utmost good faith.

But of course, you know all that.

Some people don’t, and some of them are actively working to break down the essential elements of the insurance process. One of those is the right to underwrite. We need to defend that. If a person knows that they are much, much more likely to suffer a critical illness such as cancer, they will be much, much more likely to seek insurance. This anti-selection causes headaches for both insurers and everyone else in the same risk pool: people with normal risks who end up paying over the odds for their cover. Pricing for risk is vital. Does this make me heartless about the problems of the person who is far more likely to develop cancer – not at all – I am glad to contribute to the costs of their care and support them, as we do through our health service and welfare benefits if they are needed. But some people believe private insurers can be compelled to cover people without pricing for the risk to the general good of all. I wish this were the case, but if we do compel insurers to take uninsurable risks, we are likely to see insurance enter a swiftly downward heading spiral: as costs rise the healthier and wealthier lives head for the exit, relying on higher savings and family to help. When that happens the remaining pool must be re-priced higher, which in turn makes the cover un-affordable for all but the worst risks. Then the risk pool fails – and no one has cover. A valuable risk sharing tool is lost.

If the aim is to destroy the insurance industry, depriving millions of a valuable risk sharing tool, the best way to do that is to deny the right to price risk. That takes all sorts of forms: the most common we have heard of recently is that we should not be able to price for mental health risks, or that we should cover cosmetic procedures in health, or that policies should always return the whole of the premium paid, or that we can’t ask all the questions we need to when underwriting, or that it is okay for the insured to withhold medical information. We must always push back against the idea that each of these would be a cost-less decision to take and would not harm other New Zealanders. Each would have consequences. Things that are certain - or very nearly certain - like events in the past or inherited conditions which emerge in later life, are not suited to insurance. As a society we need to look after people who suffer in this way - and that is probably the role of government, not insurance.

Of course, when it comes to underwriting, insurers could do more around education. Looser underwriting rules may have an adverse claims impact. Most clients cannot know that.  Material non-disclosure is not very common, normally it’s a genuine mistake. Mistake or not, some of the non-disclosure can be driven by fear or shame. Being clear about the benefits of underwriting can help reduce these a lot - as can smart question design.

 

In other news

From Good returns: 'Hole in one' cover and the design of insurance products

AIA has announced data can be passed from Iress’ Risk Researcher tool to AIA’s Quote Builder and eApp. Click here to read more

Health insurer nib has replaced the free travel insurance cover feature that was part of Ultimate Health with some additional mental health coverage. Details are to come.

 

Not vaccinated yet? Click here to get it done: https://bookmyvaccine.covid19.health.nz/


Asteron Life announce policy changes, and more daily news

Effective Monday, 27 September, Asteron announced a series of product enhancements to their personal range. Asteron Life has announced that changes have been made to expiry ages for Trauma Recovery Cover. The new expiry age for both standalone and accelerated benefits has increased from 75 to 85. Additionally, the expiry age for Continuous Trauma and Trauma Reinstatement benefit have increased to 75, and the maximum entry age for Asteron Life Trauma cover has increased to 70. Robyn Bartlett, Asteron Life Product Manager, has noted that the changes are a result of focusing on flexibility and usability for both advisers and customers. As part of the change, Astron Life has also:

  • Added premium holiday benefit and premium and cover suspension to business insurance policies 
  • Added a new lump sum specific injury benefit 
  • Made changes to its Major Trauma ratios 
  • Changed the definitions for seven conditions in its Trauma policies for new and existing customers back to 2004 
  • Updatied policy wordings for various benefits including grief support and financial planning 

“Asteron Life has announced changes to expiry ages for Trauma Recovery Cover, as part of a suite of product enhancements it has released this week. 

For its standalone and accelerated benefits, the expiry age is lifting from 70 to 85. Some other benefits including its Continuous Trauma and Trauma Reinstatement benefit will lift to age 75. 

Robyn Bartlett, Product Manager at Asteron Life, said that flexibility and usability have been the core values that have driven the range of enhancements the company is releasing. 

“We have heard from advisers that they value being able to give their customers choices when it comes to building a package of insurance cover to suit them,” say Bartlett.  

“Increasing the expiry ages of our Trauma recovery packages gives advisers and customers increased flexibility to put together insurance that will give them peace of mind in their unique circumstances.” 

The maximum entry age for Asteron Life Trauma cover will also be extended to age 70. 

Bartlett said that providing a valuable Trauma cover that would create great outcomes for customers was a big focus for the insurer. 

“Trauma cover is one of the most valuable products for our customers at claim time,” she says.  

“As well as updating the entry and expiry ages, we have also made changes to the definitions for some conditions, including the updated cerebral aneurysm definition being a direct result of compelling customer feedback.” 

In 2018, Asteron Life released its Continuous trauma benefit, which remains the only benefit of its kind in the market in New Zealand. Continuous Trauma is an optional benefit which gives customers Trauma cover that they can claim on up to three times for unrelated events, even immediately after they have made a claim.  

“With things like Continuous Trauma and our latest enhancements, we’re working to create a robust Trauma that will give customers peace of mind over the long term, and improve the ability of customers to make a claim when they need to.” 

The changes to the expiry age take effect this week, and existing Trauma policyholders’ expiry ages will be automatically extended. 

As well as changes to its Trauma product, Asteron Life has released a number of other product enhancements including: 

  • Adding premium holiday benefit and premium and cover suspension to business insurance policies 
  • Adding a new lump sum specific injury benefit 
  • Making changes to its Major Trauma ratios 
  • Changing the definitions for seven conditions in its Trauma policies for new and existing customers back to 2004 
  • Updating policy wordings for various benefits including grief support and financial planning 

These and a suite of other changes are live in Asteron Life’s system this week.” Click here to read more

We will keep our users on Quotemonster in the loop as to when these ratings will be made available on our quoting platform. 

Please feel free to send through any information or feedback to info@quotemonster.co.nz 

 

In other news:

Financial Advice: Katrina Skanks had a global meeting with Financial Planning Standards Board, to plan for the World Financial Planning Day

FSC: ReGenerations Reimagined will begin 19 October. All ticketholders will be given all access passes for the new schedule

AIA: adviser wellbeing research closes on 10 October

FMA: FMA appoints Karen Chang as Acting General Counsel


Partners Life underwriting process updates, and more daily news

Partners Life has announced that there will be several changes made to the underwriting process from 27 September. The updates include the removal of certain requirements for large sums assured cases, changes to Monthly Disability non-medical limits and Trauma Cover non-medical limits, making questionnaires available on MyPartnersLife, and making the latest Adviser Underwriting Guide available on MyPartnersLife.

“The following changes were implemented into our systems over the weekend, and are effective today, Monday 27 September 2021:

Removal of some requirements for large sums assured cases
We have reflected on what value each of our limit requirements give to us, and have identified that a number have rarely affected the outcomes in the past. As such, we have removed the following from our standard limits requirements:

  • Resting ECG’s. This means that the Code C Medical Examination is no longer required to be completed by a Senior Physician, and a GP medical will now be sent in its place
     
  • HIV and Hepatitis C blood tests from Code B blood tests
     
  • HIV, Hepatitis C, Full Blood Count and ESR blood tests for Code C and above, where Life Cover does not exceed $5,000,000 and TPD Cover does not exceed $3,000,000

Changes to Monthly Disability non-medical limits
We have reflected on our non-medical limit sums assured for monthly disability cover, and have heard your comments around clients issuing cover at either $7,999 per month or $14,999 per month.  As such, we have changed the limits by $1 as a quality of life change, so you can now issue up to $8,000 per month on the personal statement only and between $8,001 and $15,000 per month with an additional Code B blood test and PMAR.

Changes to Trauma Cover non-medical limits
Previously our guidelines considered industrywide standalone Trauma Cover, while the rest of our non-medical limits only considered the risk held by Partners Life. We have updated this to now reflect all Trauma risk held by Partners Life, and have increased the non-medical limit from $1,500,000 to $2,000,000.

Questionnaires available on MyPartnersLife
Historically when clients have had to provide additional disclosure after you have submitted an application, our underwriting team has requested relevant questionnaires be completed from the application form.

With the continued growth in MUM, we recognise the use of our paper application form is fast becoming a thing of the past. As such, we have digitised all of the manual application form questionnaires, which are now available on MyPartnersLife’s forms section.

Adviser Underwriting Guide
We are also pleased to advise that the latest version of our Adviser Underwriting Guideline is available on MyPartnersLife. This updated guide incorporates all changes to our product offerings made since March 2020, including the addition of our new Moderate Trauma Cover and Income and Expense Cover. It also reflects the updated non-medical limit requirements indicated above.”

In other news

Asteron Life: Feedback improves Asteron's trauma cover

From. Good returns: [The Wrap] It's time to check in on advisers' wellbeing

AIA:

GRTV Adam and Sam.mp4 from Good Returns TV on Vimeo.


Industry awards finalists revealed, and more daily news

The Life Insurance Company of the Year award finalists for the 9th Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance awards were recently announced. Finalists include AIA, Asteron Life, and Fidelity Life. Additionally, Amy Cavanaugh, Pinnacle Life General Manager Operations and Len Elikhis, AIA Chief Officer - Product and Vitality are among the finalists for Young Insurance Professional of the Year award. Click here to read more

“The top New Zealand insurers will have their time to shine at the upcoming awards hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF).

This year will mark the 9th year of the awards that aim to "...unite all sectors of insurance for a celebration of excellence, professionalism and community".

The finalists were announced this week with Fidelity Life up against Asteron Life and AIA NZ for the top life insurer award.

The 2019 awards also saw Fidelity Life's Ben Holloway win the gong for the young insurance professional of the year.

This year, Pinnacle Life's Amy Cavanaugh and AIA NZ's Len Elikhis are two of seven young professionals nominated for the award.

"This year’s awards are centred around 2020, celebrating how our industry has supported the customer, community, and its people," the ANZIIF says.

The judging panel will explore how organisations or individuals have contributed to professionalism in the insurance industry and how they have successfully addressed issues by implementing innovative change.

The ANZIIF expects more than 400 of the industry’s top professionals spanning the breadth of New Zealand insurance to attend the awards being held at the Cordis in Auckland on Wednesday, November 17.

2021 ANZIIF New Zealand Insurance Industry Awards finalists:

Life insurance company of the year:
- AIA New Zealand
- Asteron Life
- Fidelity Life

Insurance learning programme of the year:
- AA Insurance
- AIG New Zealand

Young insurance professional of the year:
- Stephen Cantwell, FMG
- Amy Cavanaugh, Pinnacle Life
- Len Elikhis, AIA New Zealand
- Joseph Fitzgerald, Wotton + Kearney
- Steph Kelly, FMG
- Daniel Mathieson, Sherpa
- Megan Wolak, Delta Insurance

ANZIIF lifetime achievement award: Announced on the night”

Amy Cavanaugh:

Lo-amy-clr

Len Elikhis:

Aia-elt-len-elikhis

 

In other news

From Good returns: Life cover - the hard sell for Kiwi insurers

Swiss Re: How much more life insurance needs to be sold

From Good returns: Full licensing - what does it look like?


Closing the protection gap and more daily news

Swiss Re yesterday published the results of a survey undertaken this year to understand New Zealanders' attitudes and behaviours towards life insurance:

The inaugural report, Closing New Zealand's mortality protection gap, estimates that the mortality protection gap for New Zealand households – the gap between households' financial resources and the protection they need to maintain their living standard in the event of the death of a primary earner – at USD 435 billion (NZD 670 billion) as of 2020. 

The findings show that this gap is projected to widen to more than USD 500 billion (>NZD 750 billion) within the next 10 years, in part due to rising consumption and household debt levels. As an industry, there is a need to act now.

The current COVID-19 crisis has increased the sense of risk and insecurity. More than 80% of those surveyed in New Zealand believe that losing the income of the primary earner will affect their family significantly. This is slightly higher than the 72% of all advanced Asia Pacific markets Swiss Re surveyed prior to COVID-19.

Swiss Re's findings show almost two thirds of households in New Zealand have some form of mortality protection gap. About a fifth of households have just 10% or less of the financial resources required to cover their protection needs; in other words, a protection gap of 90%.

The report also examines how to close the gap in New Zealand. Swiss Re estimates that in the decade to 2030, this could be achieved with an additional USD 1.5 billion (NZD 2.3 billion) of life premiums every year. Yet only 39% of consumers reported owning a life insurance policy, and survey responses find that buying life cover is not their default option for increasing security.

You can download the report here:  Closing the mortality protection gap in New Zealand | Swiss Re

Other daily news:

AIA Vitality is offering 1,000 points for members to get their Covid-19 vaccine

Montoux, sellers of decision science software, is running a seminar on engaging long-term care insurance clients

nib: are joining Protecht, sellers of risk management software, for a seminar on culture and conduct risk management.

Partners Life: an interview with Life Kris Ballantyne and Mark Leishman discussing financial literacy can be found here:


Quality Product Research: QPR database update V145

Quality Product Research works continually to update our product ratings. We have just distributed the QPR Database V145 to subscribers which includes the following changes:

 

* Medical Exclusions Major Review - all insurers

* Partners Life - new policy document effective 12/07/2021

> Income & Expenses Cover and Moderate Trauma rated

> Enhancements effective 12/07/2021

 

* AIA enhancements to Trauma & IP/MP effective 23/07/2021

* Pinnacle Life - new policy document loaded

> Life: no rating changes

> IP: no rating changes

> TPD Any Occ Accelerated rated

> Trauma: minor rating changes

* Reviews:

> Trauma

- Osteoporosis re-rate for all companies

- Asteron - Trauma Reinstatement replaces continuous Trauma in TBB

> IP/MP

- Total Disability Class 1&2 5yr for PL

> Life

- Financial Planning & Legal - re-rate for all companies

- Grief and Funeral Support - re-rate for all companies

- Business Future Insurability (optional) added to PL