How many people have never had a conversation about life insurance?

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. 


Insurers set to pay assisted dying claims, and more daily news

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

FMA: FMA appointments reflect serious move into fintech space

Southern Cross: ProCare and Southern Cross join forces to enter virtual healthcare market

FSC: FSC Enjoys A Solid Year Of Growth Despite Challenges

Advisers Raise $12.5k For Fiordland Conservation Trust’s Kids Restore The Kepler


Medical insurance premium rates usually go up - but a few have gone down

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.  


Science behind high Income Protection premiums, and more daily news

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

nib: nib takes place among top 100 most diverse firms worldwide

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

 

 

 


FSC Session: Insurance - Accelerating the Customer Agenda. What Needs to be True?

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.

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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.

  • COVID-19 has already made the industry different – some of the trends we need to take from it are technology, digital, or still face to face meetings. We should let me the consumer decide and we respond to their needs.

  • The FMA asks to just do the basics well. The processes are not always there to achieve customer satisfaction. Embed a culture that is more customer eccentric. There won’t be a dramatic shift from the FMA, what was set in the code and conduct review is it.

  • Conduct risk management needs to be elevated to the same level as financial risk management for the customers sake.

  • We need to demystify the products and get a clearer customer understanding. We should come together and create centralised terms across the industry to help with customer understanding and to build trust.

  • There are numerous giant companies like Amazon who have made a move into the insurance industry – are we saturating it?

  • The pace of change has to be more manageable. We need to be better at data and insights – we currently tend to live off older information. We need to keep pace with changing needs and demographics. It is a continuous journey, it is not a one quick fix.
  • 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.

 

 

 

 


Growing number of advisers taking a more holistic approach and more daily news

Professional IQ has reported that a growing number of advisers are taking a more holistic approach in their processes. Rod Severn, Professional IQ CEO has said that advisers are aware of the benefits of adopting more holistic approaches as it helps in accommodating the financial constraints clients are facing as a result of COVID-19.  Severn said that the adoption of a holistic approach means an adviser needs to spot areas that need more attention and refer clients to others with the necessary expertise. It has been reported that clients value a more holistic approach.

“Taking a “holistic approach” to client finances is becoming more important in light of the cashflow pressures faced by many as a result of COVID-19, and Professional IQ College CEO Rod Severn says more and more advisers are starting to see the value in utilising this method.

Severn says that a holistic view doesn’t mean advisers need to become “experts in all areas” - simply that they need to spot areas which may need attention, and to refer clients to other specialists where necessary. He says clients find a lot of comfort in working with an adviser who takes a 360-degree view of their finances, and who understands their position against a broader political and economic landscape.”

Severn noted that some advisers have expressed interest in completing additional strands as part of their Level 5 qualification while others have expressed interest in completing additional strands after completing their qualification as they see the value in diversifying their knowledge base.

“Severn says that some advisers have expressed interest in pursuing additional strands as part of their Level 5 qualification, and are seeing this as a step towards diversifying their advice capabilities. He says that, ultimately, a well-rounded approach will result in better client outcomes - something every adviser is focused on demonstrating to the regulators. 

“We’ve had some interest from advisers who want to do more,” Severn said.

“When they completed the qualification for the area that they specialise in, they’ve then come back and told us that they want to do an additional strand because they think they can use that in their business moving forward.” Click here to read more

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Partners Life: Partners Life will be sponsoring podcasts produced by Cure Kids

Fidelity Life: Adviser Development Manger role is being advertised

AIA: Senior Marketing Manager is being advertised

FSC: there is still a chance to register for the Generations conference

Wealthpoint: Wealthpoint creates new head of investments role


FSC Generations: Accelerating the customer agenda. What needs to be true?

Session title

Accelerating the customer agenda. What needs to be true?

FSC Generations conference - 3.30pm on Tuesday 13 October. 

Session content

The customer agenda isn’t going away. If anything, relative to other industries and global practices, New Zealand’s insurance industry is facing into expectation and experience headwinds that will test even the most imaginative. So how can the industry step up to the plate and deliver meaningful strides forward? Is it necessary even? Or are we already doing enough in the shadow of the FMA’s thematic review?

This year’s panellists:

  • Gail Costa, Chief Executive Officer, Cigna Life NZ

Gail has led the Cigna New Zealand team through a period of growth and change since returning home in 2018. With over 18 years of executive experience with the company, Gail has held CEO positions in Turkey, Hong Kong and Europe. She also led the New Zealand business from 2003-2013.

Prior to joining Cigna, Gail was the General Manager Operations for Royal Sun Alliance Life Insurance. She has also held finance, marketing and operational positions at Colonial Mutual Life, New Zealand Council for Educational Research and AMEV Life. Gail is a qualified accountant and holds a bachelor degree in Commerce and Administration from Victoria University and a Diploma in Direct Marketing from the Institute of Direct Marketing, London, UK.

  • Nick Stanhope, CEO, AIA

As CEO for AIA New Zealand, Nick is proud to lead a passionate team of over 1000 people with the goal of making New Zealand one of the healthiest and most protected nations in the world. With over 28 years of experience in the financial services sector, Nick has held a diverse range of senior leadership roles in New Zealand. Nick was most recently CEO of Sovereign for two years. Prior to this, Nick held a variety of senior leadership roles at ASB Bank Limited. These included Executive General Manager of Wealth & Insurance and other key roles across business banking, retail specialist services and corporate banking. At the beginning of his career, Nick spent seven years at NCR Corporation, including three years with AT&T. Nick has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and is a Board Member of the Financial Services Council of New Zealand. Born and raised in Auckland, Nick is married with two daughters. He is passionate about health and wellbeing, and in his spare time is a keen cyclist and gym goer. He has also competed in triathlons and Ironman events.

  • Don Allerston, Financial Services Executive

Don describes himself  as a customer first thinker - before it became fashionable; the result of over 28 years’ experience in and about the industry both on and off-shore. Indeed, far from being institutionalised as a result of his time in financial services, Don has chosen instead to constructively disturb our space for what he sees as the continuing need to press for experience-first change beyond traditional perspectives.

Prior to spending 8 years on the Asteron Life and Fidelity Life executive teams, Don has occupied senior roles with some overseas blue-chip organisations including AMP UK Financial Services, British Airways, AXA and Royal and Sun Alliance. A self-confessed ‘overseas souvenir’, Don married his Kiwi partner in Wellington back in 2005 before migrating from the UK in 2010. He became a New Zealand citizen in 2016.

  • Russell Hutchinson, Principal, Chatswood Consulting

Russell Hutchinson, is a director at Chatswood Consulting Limited and runs the management consultancy. Russell is also a co-founder and director of Quality Product Research the company that runs www.quotemonster.co.nz. Through extensive domain knowledge of the marketing challenges for life and health insurance lines of business

Chatswood offers specialist management consulting business for insurers and larger adviser businesses. Russell believes that good decisions are built on good information and good options. His work includes product development, distribution strategy, advice process, and digital projects. Russell writes regularly on industry issues at www.goodreturns.co.nz, in Asset magazine, and at www.Chatswood.co.nz on personal insurance products and wider financial services sector issues.

  • Mark Banicevich, Industry Engagement Manager, Partners Life

Mark is Industry Engagement Manager at Partners Life, and his role includes developing strategies to help financial advisers transition to the forthcoming advice regime. Previously, Mark worked in intelligence at the Financial Markets Authority, where he drove the project reviewing replacement business in life insurance, which won an innovation award from the NZ Institute of Intelligence Professionals. Mark also teaches strategic management accounting at The University of Auckland Business School, and runs an International Taekwon-Do school.

Why you would attend

The line-up of panellists provides professionals in the industry the opportunity to gain a better understanding of potential changes needed to stride as far forward as possible in the future to withstand any challenges or do they believe we are already doing enough.

Benefits of attending:

  1. Independent industry expert insights
  2. A look into the future of insurance in New Zealand
  3. Discover if we as an industry are doing enough based on the FMA’s thematic review

Extensive commission changes and another new agency agreement

Several companies have updated commission terms and one has a new agency agreement: 

  • AIA - has ended temporary extra commissions that were part of a limited-time offer
  • Asteron Life has rejigged initial commission, and added a temporary extra, as well as extended aggregator override. 
  • Fidelity Life has ended new business commission on indexation increases
  • Partners Life has issued a new agency agreement giving additional powers to manage expected conduct obligations. Possibly the most interesting addition is a new section which requires an adviser whose client wishes to be served by another adviser to negotiate the sale of the renewal commission - or have it switched, with compensation paid by Partners Life if they cannot agree. 

More details are available to subscribers to the commission comparison report. 


AIA introduces claims management service, and more daily news

AIA has announced the launch of AIA 360, a free claims management service that is on offer to eligible IP customers. AIA currently spends over $1.1 million annually to assist customers on disability claims and has 26 case managers assigned to 1,300 cases.  This averages to 45 cases for each case manager. Chief Customer Officer Sharon Botica has said AIA is able to improve processes and offer better support with AIA 360.

“The insurer is launching AIA 360, which is described as "a personalised end-to-end claims experience providing support, guidance and rehabilitation."

The programme will be available to eligible income protection claimants and is offered free of charge.

Currently the company spends more than $1.1 million a year helping people on disability claims. It has 26 case managers looking after 1,300 rehabilitation cases.  This is about 45 cases for each case manager.

"We keep these numbers low so we’re able to provide a good level of individualised and tailored care and support to each customer," AIA chief customer officer Sharon Botica says.

She says the programme will provide support and guidance throughout the claims journey.”

Advisers will be able to offer customers support during the digital claim process. Although the service is currently being offered to those making IP claims, AIA is looking to expand the service offering in the future.

“Botica says will the company is trying to digitalise many of its processes, DI claims management requires the personal human-to-human touch.

"People are in a very vulnerable position when they claim," she says.

Botica says advisers will be able to give clients comfort that if they have to make a DI claim, there is a full service to support them.

360 Care will give clients confidence at claim time, she says.

360 Care is an evolving claims experience that will be available to more claimants in the future.” Click here to read more

In other news

Cigna: David Haak appointed as new General Manager – Distribution

Professional IQ: Advisers find “unexpected benefits” from completing Level 5

Strategi: AML compliance update webinar

FMA: World Investor Week live Q&A webinar

FSC: Financial Services Council  Annual General Meeting 2020

Partners Life: transparency, trust & the right thing to do webinar


AIA initiative to combat underinsurance, and more daily news

AIA has announced that eligible policies allow customers to pay it forward by gifting life insurance.  In a study commissioned by AIA, it was found that New Zealanders are underinsured and rank poorly when compared to other OECD countries as they often don’t want to think about death and the financial implications of dying on loved ones.

“New eligible AIA policies come with the option to gift life insurance to a loved one

New independent research commissioned by life, health and wellbeing insurer AIA New Zealand highlights some of the reasons why New Zealand ranks near the bottom of OECD countries  when it comes to insurance protection.

The research reveals more than a third of Kiwis don’t want to think about the idea of dying and haven’t considered the financial impact it would have on their family.

Two thirds of those surveyed said that they’d never had a conversation with family about life insurance when they were growing up and one third 4 said that they don’t understand the benefits of life insurance. More than half 5 have never tackled the topic of what would happen to their finances if they were unable to work due to death, serious illness, or injury.”

Nick Stanhope, AIA NZ CEO, said that New Zealanders need to plan for the future. To help encourage the discussion and planning process AIA has announced the introduction of the Share the Love initiative. The initiative will run from 28 September 2020 and 28 February 2021 and will allow customers to gift a six-month $50,000 policy for free.

Nick Stanhope, AIA New Zealand Chief Executive, says New Zealanders need to become more comfortable with planning for their future and with having conversations about financial protection.

“Our research shows that New Zealanders generally don’t like to think or talk about these difficult but necessary topics. When it comes to protecting our finances and wellbeing our lack of financial planning is leaving us behind most other OECD countries.”

“At AIA, we want to make it easier for New Zealanders to have a conversation about why life insurance is important. It’s why we’re encouraging all new eligible policy holders to Share the Love.”

AIA’s Share the Love is a first-of-its-kind initiative in New Zealand where new policy holders are encouraged to gift a free six-month $50,000 policy to a loved one." Click here to read more

In other news

Financial Advice: Bring in the Experts: Unlocking the Code in the New Financial Advice Regime - Part 2

Financial Advice: Special General Election Debate - 2020 Election Economic Debate

FSC: Get In Shape Webinar Series: Session 10 - Privacy - Reviewing your obligations under the Privacy Act