Promoting insurance in languages other than English

AIA New Zealand has translated their core insurance brochures into simplified Chinese for each of the following benefits: AIA REAL Life, Health, Trauma, TPD, Cancer Treatment Benefit, and Mortgage, Income and Rent Cover. AIA’s in-house sales team, the Financial Services Network (FSN) also has advisers capable of offering discussions in advisers in Mandarin, Cantonese, English, Hendi, Gujrat, Marathi, Urdu, Punjabi, Tamil, Malayalam, Hokkien, Teochew, and Japanese.

Fidelity Life offers a Chinese language version of their corporate profile to assist that segment of the migrant market. They maintain an informal register of staff with different language capabilities and use that to help support clients with difficulties in English.

ANZ produce copies of insurance material in Chinese, which summarises the types of insurances ANZ offers. Including general and travel insurance. The development of this brochure aligns with ANZ’s migrant strategy. At this stage ANZ offers no other languages, although it states that it continuously reviews the requirement for other non-English brochures.

One in four New Zealanders have "No cash savings"

ANZ paid to survey over 1,500 Australians and New Zealanders to explore their financial knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in late 2017. The survey found that one in four Kiwis have no cash savings.

The absence of cash savings is of particular concern. Cash savings should be the first kind of insurance you buy - having a little money in a savings account can avoid all sorts of trouble. I teach my kids the value of having a bit put by - whether it is the unexpected invite for a friend's special occasion, a lost wallet, or an unplanned expense, the money is always useful.

Antonia Watson, ANZ's managing director of retail and business banking: "While most New Zealanders feel they are doing OK with money, we have a significant number without savings to fall back on."

The lack of savings has an impact on the insurance planning for this group - with a couple of exceptions. Many of these people will also be people that have no insurance - in effect, doubling down on their risk. For those that are very young, with family who can step in with help, and just starting out on their employment journey, this is perhaps something to be expected. Occasionally, everyone can get a bit stretched: between jobs for a couple of months, or stretching to buy a new house can create a similar cash crunch. That's not so bad if you have non-cash assets that you could always sell - and perhaps a little flexible credit facility to help you smooth out the bumps in between. But those two segments added up, should surely no equal a quarter of the adult population.

Click here to see some of the key finds from the report in an infographic. Here is the press release from ANZ and here is a pdf of the report.

Product Mapping for Banks and Direct Insurers

Below is an outline of the banks and other direct providers with a map as to which benefits and options they offer.

If you are trying to do a product comparison on Quotemonster with any of the companies below and they are not appearing, chances are you are quoting a benefit or option they do not offer.

If you would like a PDF version of this table you can download it here:  Download Product Mapping - December 2017


Australia: ANZ Sells OnePath Australia, Keeps New Zealand

Andrew Boughey, Head of Adviser Distribution for OnePath New Zealand says "ANZ Australia has today announced the sale of its OnePath Life Insurance business to Zurich Financial Services Australia. Our insurance business here in New Zealand is not part of this sale and it will have no impact on our operations. For us in New Zealand, it is business as usual."

News speculation on buyers for ANZ insurance and Comminsure

Goodreturns quotes The Australian and I saw a Reuters article today on the likely buyers for two of the largest insurance businesses in New Zealand: AIA may buy Sovereign, and Zurich may buy ANZ's insurance businesses. If true, this makes good sense for both. AIA achieves scale, which it did not have in New Zealand, and valuable additional size in Australia. Sovereign may benefit from being returned to specialist insurance ownership. The same applies for Zurich, and it will be interesting to have Zurich in this market. They may become an effective competitor in the adviser market in New Zealand with the purchase. That is, if the purchases go ahead. 

Australia: Banks and their Insurance Businesses


Updated post: 

Although I have a convention of tagging news from Australia in the headline, this post has a great deal of relevance to our market, as it accounts for the fact that insurers representing nearly half of the market are for sale. The AFR has a detailed piece which I will make a few quotes from below, but you can find at this link, on why they think that banks owning insurance companies has become a headache - hence the rush to sell them. First, the AFR says that the news CommInsure was for sale was greeted with indifference by the market because of the 'state of the industry, which has been hammered by rising lapse rates and more lately, soaring claims'.

Obviously, the situation in Australia has been quite different for a number of insurers, to the experience of the same brands in New Zealand. Sovereign is not CommInsure, Asteron Life in New Zealand contributes well to Suncorp's group profit. Overall lapse rates and claims performance differ between the countries, in part, for structural reasons. We don't have a lot of TPD in superannuation, which appears to have caused some particular problems in Australia. 

The AFR went on to list the companies sold: NAB sold to Nippon Life, Macquarie to Zurich. Then to list those for sale - they name ANZ, the life businesses of Suncorp, and quote AMP as saying it is "open-minded" - although I always felt that's the proper attitude of any business, pretty much all the time. But because these businesses are often quite closely linked behind the scenes (systems, staff, brands, reinsurance, and more). Therefore, if the Australian business is sold, it is common that the New Zealand one goes with it. Not all businesses will be sold, of course. In addition, when a business is under review sometimes a bias towards a sale can uncover an opportunity to buy. But some transactions seem likely in the coming year. If the number was two, or three, it would represent an incredible period of change. 

AFR then contemplates the question - how did it come to this? You can check out their full article for details, but two issues they list are worth contrasting with the situation in New Zealand.

The first is the ASIC report that "found 37 per cent of advice on life insurance was in breach of the law and almost half failed when high upfront commissions were charged". I read that report and it has some problems, small sample sizes, and arguable definitions of what constitutes 'failing' advice. But here in New Zealand we have an advice law which barely even makes the comparison possible. Since a written record of advice is not explicitly required under our current law it may not be possible to conduct the same kind of investigation here. But the FMA has gamely tried, and by analysing five years of data they have found a strong statistical link between incentive travel offered by insurers and higher new business and lapse rates. The insurer's might say, 'well that's what we were hoping for when we offered the incentive' but that brings us back to the quality of advice.

The second is the issue of poor systems - some so poor, AFR says, that they cannot provide good information, or hamper the ability of the insurer to report, or provide effective claims service. That sounds familiar too - and some of the systems will be common across the two markets. Replacing those systems requires new capital. So even after a transaction, that will not be the end to the change in the market. It will be the beginning. 


QPR Database Update

There have been a number of updates done in the QPR database recently (QPRV104) and subscribers now have access to these changes which include:

  • ANZ new policy wording added for Life.
  • BNZ new policy wording added for Life, TPD, IP, and Trauma. Main change to heart attack definition for Trauma.
  • AIA new policy wording added for Life, Trauma and TPD.
  • AIA Business Life and Business Trauma Standalone reviewed (Accelerated is still under review)

Research on Quotemonster also reflects the changes with are applicable.

CBA Considers Sale of CommInsure and Sovereign

CBA, the parent company to both CommInsure in Australia and Sovereign in New Zealand, are contemplating a sale: 

“We are in discussions with third parties in relation to their potential interest in our life insurance businesses in Australia and New Zealand,” CBA said

That comes quickly on the heels of the announcement that ANZ may be near concluding a sale of their insurance business.