We have just distributed a new Medical Comparison database to all subscribers.
Changes in V84:
- Updated nib rates effective 1/1/21
- Update AIA policy fee effective 1/1/21
We have just distributed a new Medical Comparison database to all subscribers.
Changes in V84:
nib has said that members that receive financial advice are better off. In addition, nib CEO Rob Hennin noted that half of nib’s members join via financial advisers. Hennin credited nib’s view by highlighting the findings from an internal study which found that members with advisers have more financial certainty and more health benefits. Hennin used the findings of nib’s internal study and studies commissioned by the FSC to conclude that people who receive financial advice are better off, saying that people with financial advice experience an improvement to their overall health.
“Health insurer nib says it is “absolutely clear” that customers with insurance advisers end up better off, and says advisers have done an “extraordinary” job adapting to the challenges that have come with COVID-19, and multiple lockdowns.
According to nib New Zealand CEO Rob Hennin, approximately half of the insurer’s business currently comes through its adviser channel. He says its internal studies have been clear – customers with advisers have more financial certainty, and also see increased health benefits as a result.
“It’s absolutely clear from our research and the work the Financial Services Council has done that Kiwis who receive financial advice are better off,” Hennin told Insurance Business.
Hennin acknowledged the work advisers have done saying that their response to COVID-19 was extraordinary. Hennin mentioned the increased use of digital tools and other methods to reach and assist clients.
“Advisers have just pivoted and done an extraordinary job throughout COVID-19,” Hennin added.
“They’ve really embraced digital tools and they’ve gone out, consulted with their clients and done whatever they can to ensure they all have access to the care and protection that they need.”” Click here to read more
In other news
AIA has announced the addition of a new benefit to AIA Vitality. Customers will have the chance to earn an Apple Watch when weekly physical targets are reached. This change is intended to motivate customers to increase physical activity. To have the chance to earn the Apple watch customers will need to enter into an interest-free loan agreement to ensure upfront costs are covered. Once customers enter to agreement, AIA contributes to monthly repayments, if physical targets are met, customers will not be required to pay anything. Len Elikhis, chief product and vitality officer, has said that this new addition to AIA Vitality will offers significant value to customers.
“AIA recently launched a new benefit for its AIA Vitality customers, and is giving them the chance to earn an Apple Watch for reaching weekly physical targets – an initiative it says will be a strong motivator for customers to increase their physical activity.
To earn their Apple Watch, customers must enter into an interest-free loan agreement to cover the upfront cost. AIA then contributes to the monthly repayments, and if all physical targets are reached, the customer ends up paying $0.
Len Elikhis, chief product and vitality officer says the initiative offers “significant value” to the AIA Vitality membership base, which has been growing steadily since its launch.”
Elikhis noted that the new initiative is intended to make the Apple Watch Series 6 more accessible as well as encouraging members to achieve goals.
“The Apple Watch Benefit is another example of the significant value AIA Vitality is providing for our members,” he concluded.
“The aim of the benefit is to make it easier for members to access Apple Watch Series 6 to further encourage our members to achieve their physical activity goals.” Click here to read more
In other news
nib has announced it’s partnership with Tend to allow eligible nib members unlimited access to Tend’s GPs through an app. Rob Hennin, nib New Zealand CEO, has said that the partnership will allow members to become more proactive about their health and wellbeing. Hennin said that nib believe that enabling members to easily access GPs. Through this partnership, nib will help members in taking preventative actions. Hennin has noted that nib advocates for digital healthcare to ensure people overcome barriers and seek medical help.
“Health insurer, nib New Zealand and digital-first healthcare provider, Tend today announced details of a transformational new partnership that will see eligible nib members offered unlimited access to Tend’s GPs through a secure app on their smartphone.
nib New Zealand CEO, Rob Hennin, says the partnership, which is a New Zealand health insurance first, enables nib members to be more proactive about their health and wellbeing by providing an affordable and convenient way to see a GP.
“At nib, we share Tend’s vision of making New Zealanders the healthiest people in the world. To do this, we need to be making it as easy as possible for Kiwis to talk with a doctor wherever they are and whenever they need to,” says Mr Hennin.”
“We also need to be encouraging more New Zealanders to be taking a preventative and proactive approach to their healthcare, and this means thinking differently about how we deliver health services.
“That is why we are huge advocates of digital healthcare because it helps address many of the barriers preventing people from seeking medical advice. Our new partnership with Tend means our members no longer need to take time off work, travel across town and sit in a waiting room when they are sick. Instead, seeing a doctor will be easy.”
Cecilia Robinson, Tend co-CEO has said that Tend is excited about the partnership. The Tend app will allow nib members to have common conditions managed, talk with doctors or nurses and receive e-prescriptions, test results, and laboratory forms on their cell phones. If an in-person consultation is needed, members can make appointments to see doctors in person.
"Tend co-CEO Cecilia Robinson says Tend is excited to be teaming up with a leading health insurer to provide nib members access to a gold standard digital-first primary health service.
“Tend is a ground-breaking healthcare service that delivers GP services through a purpose-built app on your smartphone and is as simple to use as Netflix or Instagram,” says Robinson.
“Like nib, we want to empower Kiwis to take greater control of their healthcare by allowing them to see to a doctor when they want, how they want and where they want, including from the comfort of their home.
“Through the app, eligible nib members will be able to talk with a doctor or nurse as easily as if they are sitting in the room with them. They’ll also be able to receive e-prescriptions, test results or laboratory forms directly to their smartphone.
“Many common medical conditions can be managed through virtual consultations, including minor ailments, various chronic conditions, follow-up consultations and the initiation of laboratory investigations and repeat prescriptions.
“If an in-person consultation is required or desired, patients can simply make an appointment to visit Tend’s state-of-the art clinic for a physical examination.””
In other news
nib has published the findings from its State of the Nation Parenting Survey. The survey looked into the concerns of parents in 2020. Behavioural issues was identified as the top health related concern. This concern was raised by 34% of all participants. While parents with young children reported that their biggest concern was children experiencing extensive episodes of irritability, anger and short-temperedness. Nathan Wallis, nib parenting expert, commented saying that the shift during lockdown added to an already emotional stage for toddlers. When discussing lockdown experiences, participants noted that prolonged negative behaviour were common occurrences.
“Leading health insurer, nib New Zealand, has released the findings from its second annual nib State of the Nation Parenting Survey, shedding light on the concerns that have been top of mind for Kiwi parents during a year unlike any other.
Behavioural issues are the number one health concern Kiwi parents have for their children, cited by more than a third (34%) of respondents, up 13% from 2019. Last year’s biggest health-related concern, sleep, still features prominently, as do stress levels and diet and exercise.
Taking a closer look at families’ lockdown experience, the number of respondents reporting sustained episodes of negative behaviour from their children (lasting two weeks or longer) grew significantly during the nationwide lockdown period. Concerningly, this increase has been largely sustained since lockdown ended.
Parents of younger children reported prolonged episodes of irritability, anger and short-temperedness as their biggest concern, while among parents of high schoolers, the sharpest increase came in levels of concern around changes to children’s motivation.
nib parenting expert, Nathan Wallis says, “Lockdown saw most families dealing with added stress as they adapted to new and novel experiences. Toddlers may in many ways have felt this most acutely as they are already in a very emotional stage of development - it’s called “Terrible Twos” for a reason. Toddlers are also just beginning to learn how to manage their emotions, so it’s mum and dad who have to do most of it for them. This was understandably compounded by lockdown, so many parents of toddlers had it quite hard.””
The study also found that parents struggled. Participants reported that their motivation, energy levels, and performance at work decreased during lockdown while feeling overwhelmed increased. Parents reported that their biggest source of stress was financial uncertainty which impacted 39% of participants. The study found that only 8% of participants didn’t feel any stress. When discussing the future, 70% of participants reported that they felt positive and 67% believed that lockdown helped to solidify their family unit.
“The findings also clearly demonstrate the toll 2020 has taken on parents themselves. Lockdown saw sharp increases in the number of respondents suffering from decreased motivation, decreased energy levels, a sense of feeling overwhelmed, and declining performance at work. Any subsequent reduction since lockdown ended has been limited to just one or two percentage points.
The biggest source of stress reported by parents this year was financial uncertainty, impacting 39% of respondents – followed closely by the impact of COVID-19 on the world, general job-related stress and the economy. Fewer than one in 10 respondents (8%) reported not feeling any particular level of stress over this period.
For the 42% of respondents who saw their financial situation worsen due to COVID-19, the impact of this was reflected in general stress levels, and also felt in terms of quality of sleep and relationships.
Despite an undeniably tough year, it’s not all bad news. When asked about the outlook for their family, 70% of respondents reported feeling positive about the future and 67% believe lockdown strengthened their family unit, with many reporting a greater sense of happiness, and better communication as a result.”
Here is a list of the key findings:
Parents’ biggest health-related concerns for their children:
· Behavioural issues – 34% (up 13% from last year)
· Diet and exercise – 33%
· Sleep (lack of, too much, pattern changes) – 31%
· Stress levels – 31%
Biggest behavioural concerns, with episodes lasting two weeks or longer (as experienced pre-, during and post-lockdown):
· Pre-school children – prolonged episodes of irritability, anger and short-temperedness.
§ 12% pre-lockdown, 28% during lockdown, 25% post-lockdown
· Primary and intermediate children – prolonged episodes of irritability, anger and short-temperedness.
§ 17% pre-lockdown, 32% during and 28% post-lockdown
· High school children – prolonged episodes of decreased motivation.
§ 12% pre-lockdown, 37% during lockdown, 23% post-lockdown
Biggest personal impacts of lockdown – experienced by parents themselves:
· Decreased motivation – 13% pre lockdown, 29% during lockdown, 28% post-lockdown
· Decreased energy – 14% pre-lockdown, 29% during lockdown, 30% post-lockdown
· Feeling overwhelmed – 19% pre-lockdown, 33% during lockdown, 31% post-lockdown
· Declining performance at work – 5% pre-lockdown, 14% during lockdown, 13% post-lockdown
Parents’ biggest sources of personal stress:
· Financial uncertainty - 39% of respondents
· The impact of COVID-19 on the world - 36%
· General job-related stress - 34%
· The economy - 34%
Impact of lockdown on family unit:
· Greatly strengthened family unit – 24%
· Somewhat strengthened family unit – 43%
· Made no difference to family dynamics / relations – 28%
· Somewhat weakened family unit – 4%
· Greatly weakened family unit – 1%
Parents’ outlook for the future of their families:
· Very positive – 22%
· Positive – 48%
· Neutral – 18%
· Concerned – 2%
· Extremely concerned – 2%
· Don’t know / unsure – 8%
In other news:
AIA: AIA Taking Small Steps campaign won Best Brand Campaign at Interactive Advertising Bureau awards
Okay, I know that life insurance is not quite the compelling subject for others as it is for me, but AIA recently conducted some research which revealed a quite astonishing fact:
"... two thirds of Kiwis having never had a conversation about life insurance..."
Thanks to Nick Stanhope, CEO of AIA, for bringing that to our attention. It is a wake up call for the sector. Of course, some people have had a conversation and forgotten it - which is, when you think about it, the same thing. Remember the proverb: "To know, and yet not act, is not to know". Some people are unable or simply do not require cover - but to be unaware of it entirely is a massive failure on the part of the industry. If there is responsibility to be attached to this concern, then it is the responsibility of the industry, not the consumer, to provide a remedy.
Various insurers have confirmed that terminally ill customers who choose to undergo assisted dying will be eligible for claim payouts. Before the referendum AIA was the only insurer to state that it would pay if the referendum passed. Recently, Cigna has said that it would pay out if assisted dying became legal and customers decided to end their life. Jane Barron, Pinnacle Life spokeswoman, noted that customers with a terminal illness are entitled to claim if it has been stated by a doctor that they have 12 months or less to live; so those that would have an assisted death are already entitled to claim.
“AIA, New Zealand’s largest life insurance company, said it could still settle claims if ACT MP David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Act became law, but others were yet to settle on their stance at that time.
With preliminary figures from the Electoral Commission on Friday showing 65 per cent of New Zealanders voting in favour of the End of Life Choice Act, terminally ill adults with fewer than six months to live will be able to request assisted dying.
One of the life insurance companies contacted by Stuff this week, Cigna, said it would pay out if assisted dying became legal and policy holders took up the option of dying with assistance. Cigna chief executive Gail Costa said the End of Life Choice Act stated that a person who died as a result of assisted dying would be taken to have died as if assisted dying had not been provided, or have died from the terminal illness from which they suffered.
“Provided a policy holder who takes up the option of dying with assistance meets all terms and conditions, they will be entitled to claim.”
And Pinnacle Life spokeswoman Jane Barron said people with a terminal illness were entitled to claim on their Pinnacle life insurance policy if their doctor said they had 12 months or less to live.
“Therefore, anyone who is in the situation where they are considering an assisted death is already in a position to be able to make a claim.”” Click here to read more
Chatswood thinks it likely that all the providers of the best life cover will include payment on this basis, as they already make advance payments for terminal illness, which is decided on terms that probably include more cases that those envisaged by the End of Life Choice Act, based on modelling shared in our recent Quarterly Life and Health Sector review.
In other news
In the most recent update to our medical premium comparison database (v83) we have the details of medical insurance premium rate changes by AIA and Southern Cross, both implemented on 1 November. Subscribers to the medical insurance premium comparison database will see that while AIA's increase is fairly uniform, the Southern Cross changes are more varied. One group of coverage has got cheaper, with a very small decrease. That was the rating for basic policies with no additional features (the most common example being specialists and tests). Even within this group for a few ages the premium rose, a few rates were very minor adjustments, but for a good slice of the most basic cover there was a small reduction in price. The reasons for the price change in this particular group will be explored in more detail in our Quarterly Life and Health Sector review, which we plan to have available to subscribers in the week before Christmas.
Recently we reported that Income Protection prices are on the rise as a result of the Australian market and COVID-19. New Zealander insurers are now being urged to amend processes and premiums before regulators intervene and introduction mandatory guides. Partners Life begun the conversation when revealing that it has increased IP premiums by 12% and made policy changes. Kris Ballantyne, chief marketing officer, has said that Partners wishes to offer affordable policies that customers can maintain for as long as they need. AIA and Cigna have both noted that they aren’t looking to introduce significant premium increases.
“It took insurer Partners Life to break the silence last month when it revealed a brave plan to start publishing the content of discussions with the Financial Markets Authority.
In doing so, it revealed it lifted its income protection premiums by 12 per cent in the past year, and had made policy changes, including not allowing self-employed people to any longer select an “agreed value” of income to be covered, instead limiting cover to actual loss of earnings.
Partner’s Life’s chief marketing officer Kris Ballantyne said the company was a “first mover” on income protection, driven by wanting to provide policies they [consumers] could afford to keep as long as they needed it.
It was a big challenge as there were a lot of agreed value policies covering self-employed people, and owners of small businesses.
Neither of its two big rivals, AIA nor Cigna, was expecting to make such large premium increases, though AIA had stopped selling new policies in which the income covered automatically increased by 5 per cent a year.
AIA chief product officer Len Elikhis said that over time, “the insured’s benefits would creep up and approach the insured’s income”.
Shane Burdack, senior underwriting consultant as Swiss Re Australia highlighted that customers with significant wealth had very little incentive to return to work when on claim, resulting in increased premium prices.
“Swiss Re senior underwriting consultant in Australia, Shane Burdack, said that in New Zealand insurers gave little thought to the net wealth of policyholders.
Yet people with significant wealth – sometimes through investments, sometimes because of payouts from other insurance policies – had a low incentive to go back to work, and stayed “on claim” for longer driving up costs.” Click here to read more
In other news
Southern Cross: Southern Cross is offering members a $149 voucher when they join Snap Fitness on a minimum 12-month term
Southern Cross: Southern Cross is offering members 10% off the retail price of a monthly LES MILLS On Demand subscription
The FSC Generations conference is well underway. Yesterday I attended numerous sessions but thought I would write up some key highlights from the session 'Insurance - Accelerating the Customer Agenda. What Needs to be True?'
The session was hosted by Mark Banicevich and had a star-studded panel including Gail Costa, Nick Stanhope, Don Allerston, Clare Bolingford, and Russell Hutchinson.
The reason for the session was to discuss what needs to be done going forward to meet the customers needs when it comes to life insurance. Three areas in particular featured a lot throughout the session: Affordability, Complexity and Trust. Below are some key points discussed:
Personal risk insurance exists to support Kiwi families – that is why we are here. But too many New Zealanders have no or not enough insurance. Only 38% of respondents from recent research have life insurance.
Customers all have different needs, so they need to work with an adviser to meet those needs as it requires time and knowledge to understand life insurance. They need to understand differences in products across the market.
Trust is also extremely important to customers. Technology has also become more important, due to lockdown. Digital experience is also very important, we need to adapt and evolve as an industry.
Advice builds trust and confidence. Customers need predictability, they want assurance insurers will deliver on their promise. They expect flexibility and customisation – that is where we should be moving to.
The advisers are not a growing number, we need to bring more advisers into the industry. They tend to operate to their own client base.
It would be useful to find out how many Pacific island and Maori advisers there are. Do we currently have enough to influence the market to different ethnicities?
As an industry we need to find new customers via platforms that suit them. We need to build more engagement – things customers are involved in they tend to remember well.
Clients’ income is dropping but premiums are increasing significantly. How do we address that CPI is increasing at 1.5% but premium percentage increases are now regularly up in the double digits. We need to be conservative with pricing, so we are around long term to be able to pay claims. Automation will help bring costs down. There is an assumption that life insurance is too expensive without people even looking into it, how can we change this?
We need to get in early with educating on life insurance – teach kids at school, what are financial products? Help them raise discussions and make decisions.
The expectations of customers is increasing, people are more time poor. Convenience is a huge thing, but we also know the value of advice. In the future we may move to a more streamlined online advice.
We need to use tools to assess health and wellbeing and assist with advice on how to improve these such as smart watches and apps.
Overall, all the topics discussed throughout the session such as price, simplicity, engagement, wellness and technology were all customer focused so it will be interesting to see what the future holds - it looks hopeful.