New Zealand’s protection gap according to Sharron Botica, and other daily news

A recent report suggests New Zealanders are under-insured by hundreds of billions of dollars. Spinoff asks Sharron Botica from AIA New Zealand to explain why it’s so important to make up the shortfall.

“Customer insight work carried out by AIA has told us that people often feel protected against death, illness and other physical circumstances because they feel they can lean on whānau and community to help out. But this isn’t always realistic, and it can be a dangerous mistake that could leave that support network severely and unexpectedly cost-laden.

According to a Financial Services Council NZ report from 2020, 71% of New Zealanders are under-insured when it comes to life insurance.

….. we drastically underestimate how much financial pressure is created when a household loses half of its income.

In 2018, the retirement commissioner Diane Maxwell said the New Zealand “she’ll be right” attitude could be playing a part. That attitude has major consequences and leaves your loved ones to carry a heavy burden.

While relying on savings is a common plan in case of a significant event causing a loss of income – the proverbial “rainy day fund” – you need to have savings to use. Data from Stats NZ showed New Zealanders typically don’t have great savings, with just 0.4% of income being saved over the quarter ending March last year."

More daily news:

FSC says NZ Income Insurance Scheme needs "more time"

Southern Cross wins Organisational Change & Development award at the NZ HR Awards 2022

Jackie Waddams appointed as General Counsel for AIA New Zealand

FANZ’s 1 June webinar covers key insights, updates and best practice for insurance advisers, register here.

Goodreturns: JP Hale thinks he knows why your clients are unhappy

Quality Product Research: addition of specific injury insurance rating

Specific Injury Cover is of great benefit in circumstances where ACC or other insurance policies do not provide sufficient financial protection. Although it presents as a succinct product (or optional benefit), it offers a comprehensive injury cover at an affordable price. It may be the case that this product appeals only to a particular market niche, but we believe that its benefits and features are of considerable value and should therefore be included within our rated products’ suite.

We have a draft comparison of those insurers who offer this product but are yet to release this publicly, pending data to support our ratings.

We invite you to join us on this rating process as we greatly value your input and feedback on changes we make to our platform. We are looking at gaining further insight into this product and would really appreciate any data that you are able to share with us from experience. We are especially keen to gain a better understanding of:

  • The most claimed benefits within Specific Injury.
  • The most claimed fractures.
  • The features that are claimed more than once.

It would be of considerable assistance if you are able to provide us with relevant data and claims information.

Once we have received and reviewed all the feedback, relevant information and data from the Insurers we have communicated this to, we will publish a preliminary rating report for you to review.

Please note that at this stage, the rating framework we have formulated for Specific Injury Cover can change depending on the information we receive from those insurers who wish to participate in this exercise. The finalised ratings will subsequently be published and be available to view on Quotemonster.

If you're interested in being involved in this rating, have had a client with a claim, or are an expert in this field please email us on 

We look forward to your assistance and input with this rating exercise and thank you in advance for your participation and time.

FSC announces Future ready advice summit, Queenstown – and more daily news

The Financial Services Council has announced the new Future Ready advice summit in Queenstown. Come along and join us at the summit and learn about – if you do, we will see you there. More from the FSC:

“Join us at the Future Ready Advice Summit on 14 June 2022 in beautiful Queenstown at the Heritage Hotel. This Summit follows the successful online event in February this year, and gives us a much-needed opportunity to reconnect and learn, while supporting Kiwi tourism.

By attending, you will:

  • Hear directly from our regulatory partners and key decision makers
  • Get the latest advice on thriving under a financial advice provider license
  • Hear from experts and focus on the future and developing professional advice practices
  • Join our Advice Masterclass focused on future-proofing the business model of the future
  • Network with peers and hear from industry leaders
  • Speak to suppliers for practical help and support through the changes
  • Contribute towards your Code Standard 9 competence requirements 

Both streaming and in-person tickets are now available for purchase. In-person numbers are limited, so we encourage you to register quickly to avoid disappointment.

More daily news:

Partners Life announces new adviser training course 20-22 June

AIA launches new limited cover starter plans

Financial Advice New Zealand regional roadshow

Quality Product Research: Medical – proposed rating for Product Flexibility


Recently, we read an article on Risk Info NZ about Accuro removing their time restriction for members, and former members, who want to make a claim on their policy. This led to us to review if medical providers impose a time limit to their claims. Many insurers have reported that although this clause is present in their wording, they do not enforce it at claims time, however our stance is that we have to rate based on the policy document.     

If you would like to have a read of the article, please click here



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 Manager, Quality Product Research Limited,

Assisted dying service data reporting and more daily news

The first data report from the assisted dying service has been issued. Although future reports will cover a three month period, the first one covers slightly longer because the start date for the service was not aligned with a quarter end - so it covers 7 November 2021 to 31 March 2022. In summary, this is what has happened: 

Between 7 November 2021 and 31 March 2022, 206 people applied for assisted dying. As at 31 March:

  • 59 people were still in the process of assessment or preparation for assisted dying
  • 81 people did not continue the process (due to being ineligible, withdrawing or dying of their condition)
  • 66 people had an assisted death.

In September of 2020 we estimated that the End of Life Choice Act could see around 240 people use the service each year. It is probably too early to say with any accuracy based on only one quarter's numbers whether that estimate is a good one. However some of the wilder ideas about usage are not yet supported by the numbers.

For more information check out the Ministry of Health's data page on the subject.

More daily news

  • Waikato-Tainui has partnered with Southern Cross Health Insurance (Southern Cross) to offer health insurance to its 14,000 kaumaatua and help facilitate better health outcomes for its tribal members
  • Fidelity Life has appointed three senior business development managers to co-ordinate the work of the others: congratulations to Gary Binnie, Michelle O'Connell, and David Telfer on their appointment
  • AIA reports that Bill Lisle, AIA Regional Chief Executive, and past Director and Regional Chief Executive for AIA Australia and NZ from 2017 to March 2022 has died.


Pinnacle Life explains why it sometimes deletes Facebook comments and more daily news

Pinnacle Life has a good post explaining why it sometimes deletes Facebook comments. We have probably all seen comments which fall into this category: a real problem, often with an insurer, but sometimes not even with a life insurer, let alone the insurer who runs this particular page. There is genuine hurt and heart behind the complaint, but sometimes this strays into abuse. They explain:

We don’t believe other people should be able to use our page or posts to promote themselves or their beliefs, including spreading misinformation or disinformation. If our feed is used in this way, we will hide or delete those comments.

For example, we get genuine complaints from people who have been let down or treated badly by their insurer from time to time. Our first step in these instances is to check if they are a Pinnacle customer. Of all the complainants on our Facebook page, none have turned out to be a Pinnacle customer. These folk often have valid reasons to be angry or upset. These stories upset us too.

We usually reply to these comments offering support but also pointing out that every company and policy is different. If, however, the commentator turns it into a platform for a tirade against the insurance industry, we will hide or delete those comments.

In the last 12-18 months, the type of comment we have hidden the most has been to do with covid and covid vaccines. We will hide any comment that purports the covid vaccine to be a cause of death or injury or that insurance companies won’t cover you if you have had the vaccine or any other type of misinformation. We have written several blogs about covid and the vaccine, outlining the fact that covid makes no difference to whether you are covered or not, and neither does the vaccine.

Any comments with swearing or bad language will also be deleted!

The whole post offers a good insight into what it means to manage a social media page.


More daily news:

Southern Cross has won the Reader's Digest most trusted health insurer survey

AIA is hiring three underwritiers

The FMA published an article on NFTs.

Resolution Life acquires superannuation business

In Australia, Resolution Life has acquired a substantial superannuation client base from AIA. From a New Zealand perspective this underlines AIA's Australasian commitment to focus on the life and health business. From the media release:

'Resolution Life Australasia has agreed to acquire AIA’s Superannuation & Investments business for an undisclosed amount, describing the move as one that will “strengthen” its market presence...

S&P Global ratings says the proposed acquisition will improve Resolution Life’s scale in the Australian market and drive operational efficiencies.

“The purchase supports our assessment of the insurer as a closed-fund consolidator – a stronger business model than that of a pure run-off,” the rating agency said.

AIA says the assets it has agreed to sell were purchased as part of its acquisition of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s life insurance and investments business known as CommInsure Life. Australia CEO and MD Damien Mu says the sale reflects AIA’s intention to focus on its core business of life and health insurance and wellbeing services. “Post the integration of CommInsure Life, we commenced the next step of our transformation journey, through which we will create a simpler, faster and more connected AIA,” Mr Mu said.'


In other daily news:

  • Only 14 of 26 insurers working with advisers in Australia accept digital signatures
  • Can you produce a statement of advice in under two hours? That's what's required according to some Australian advisers in order to be profitable in that market
  • Would you like to participate in a benchmarking project to understand how your business compares to others (anonymously) in terms of key financial metrics? if so, contact us.


New Southern Cross CEO appointment, and more daily news

Southern Cross Healthcare has announced that Chris White will take on the role of CEO permanently. He has been operating as the interim CEO since October 2021. White has said that Southern Cross operates in an exciting sector and that the insurer is filled with great people.

“Southern Cross Healthcare has announced that interim CEO Chris White will take up the role permanently, effective immediately.

Since taking on the role of Interim CEO, Chris has led the Healthcare team through one of its most challenging and unprecedented periods in the organisation’s history.

Greg Gent, Chair of the Southern Cross Healthcare Board, said: “Despite the additional challenges of Covid, Chris’ strengths in leadership and his commercial but personal approach to building a strong and sustainable business are very evident and the business remains in a strong position.

“Together with our very capable Executive Leadership Team, the Board is extremely confident that we have a CEO who will lead the business through this exciting and progressive phase in our organisation.”

On his appointment, Mr White said, “Despite the challenges Covid-19 has presented within health, it’s an incredibly exciting sector with huge opportunities to deliver quality outcomes to New Zealanders. Southern Cross Healthcare is a dynamic business filled with fantastic people who are passionate about delivering high quality healthcare experiences and it is a privilege to be in a position to lead our journey from a hospital-centric organisation to a healthcare organisation.”

Chris began with the Southern Cross family as a CEO on the Insurance side of the business in 2017. From there, he moved across to Southern Cross Healthcare as Chief Operating Officer, and then to his current role as Interim CEO in October 2021.

A part of the Southern Cross group, Southern Cross Healthcare comprises a nationwide family of joint venture and wholly owned hospitals; specialist centres; physiotherapy; rehabilitation; and employer health and wellness providers.

Southern Cross Healthcare directly employs more than 2,500 staff across a network of services spanning Whangarei to Invercargill.”


In other news

From Good returns: Missing members: concerns raised over legality of code committee

AIA: AIA boss back

AIA CEO makes Insurance Business Global 100 list, and more daily news

AIA NZ CEO Nick Stanhope has been selected for the annual Insurance Business Global 100 list. The Insurance Business Global 100 list acknowledges those making a difference in the insurance industry. Stanhope has acknowledged the work of the AIA team over the past year and has said that he will be focused on reconnecting with the AIA team and AIA’s business partners.

“It was announced today that Nick Stanhope, CEO of AIA New Zealand, was selected for the annual Insurance Business Global 100 list which recognises industry leaders around the world making a positive difference and helping to drive change across the insurance sector. This is the third consecutive year Stanhope has been selected for the list.

“I’m pleased to once again be recognised,” says Stanhope, “and I want to acknowledge the enormous effort that the AIA NZ team put in over the last 12 months to continue to make a difference for our customers and partners. 2021 was an outstanding year for us in term of business performance in light of the challenging environment we were operating in.”

While there is no doubt the global pandemic brought with it challenges, Stanhope says there has been one silver lining for the insurance industry. “Covid-19 really highlighted the importance of life insurance for many New Zealanders, and making sure their financial wellbeing is protected.”

Stanhope took some well-deserved extended leave at the end of 2021, with Chief Customer and Digital Officer Sharron Botica taking up the reins as Acting CEO for the three month period. During that time Stanhope enjoyed some quality family time with his wife and daughters, and moved their family home north of Auckland to idyllic Matakana, leading from the top with embracing the company’s flexible working approach.

Now back at the AIA helm he is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities 2022 presents for his business.

“This year brings further conduct regulation with the Financial Markets (Conduct of Financial Institutions) Amendment Bill (CoFi) later this year, and AIA is focused on making sure we have the right tools in place to support our people, partners and the wider industry in complying with these new requirements.”

Stanhope says his attention this year will be centred on reconnecting – with his people and AIA’s business partners. “The past two years have been challenging with very few employees in any of our AIA NZ offices. We did this purposely with our people’s health, safety and wellbeing at the forefront, and to minimise the risk of Covid-19 spreading throughout our workforce. I feel we need to start getting back to more of a ‘business as usual’ mindset, while embracing these new ways of working.

“It really felt like we were all in survival mode for a large part of last year, and I look forward to having more in-person interactions, reconnecting at events, and getting out there to see our advisers and business partners in 2022.”

Stanhope also indicated AIA’s intention to bring new innovations to the NZ market. “We’re exploring how to extend the current insurance pool to help protect more Kiwis. The traditional new business risk market is in decline, and we want to help close the protection gap by addressing unmet customer through focussing on seamless digital and affordable solutions.

“I’m excited about what AIA could create by leveraging our global support network, and how it will deliver on AIA’s dream of championing New Zealand to be one of the healthiest and best protected nations in the world.”

In other news

From Good returns: Financial advice industry gets hard word on cyber security

Resolution Life: Resolution Life CEO moves on

AM Best: AM Best the latest to distance itself from Russia

Quality Product Research: Medical - Major review process commenced for UCR Limit


Medical insurance is one of the most hotly contested areas of product comparison. Adjustments are made frequently to our Research to keep up with changes, however it’s still a complex and difficult product to compare. Following a challenge by a rated company to our methodology for assessing UCR/EMP/network limits, it’s time we reviewed the method of how insurers apply UCR Limits and have therefore started the process of a major review of this item.

Theme of review

We would like to begin by renaming the item from “UCR Limits” to "Network or market price limits/UCR"

Our review seeks to categorise and evaluate the impact of the following:

1) No requirement to use specified providers/network and no UCR/EMP

2) Requirement to use specified providers/network

3) UCR/EMP applied to all costs (including specified providers /network)

4) UCR/EMP applied to only non-network costs

5) UCR/EMP applied only specific sets of costs (e.g., overseas)

Review process

We will begin by alerting insurers of our plan to review, including the five points above anticipating they will respond with which applies to their product with appropriate references to their policy document.

Once all required information has been collected, we will make the appropriate changes to our database and share our new rating on our social platforms for further feedback.

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 Manager, Quality Product Research Limited,