Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Agreed Value Income Protection: Occupational Retraining

Introduction

We continually review the ratings of all our benefits and have renamed “Occupational Retraining” to “Vocational & Rehabilitation Support”. Our intention with this review is to make clearer the difference between the features in readiness for more detailed research reports that are in development. Better describing the current variations and recognising that early intervention has the ability to prevent a client’s disability from escalating further and reduces more severe complications that may lead to a long-term claim – a positive outcome for the client, insurer, and employee.

Please find our proposed sub-items below.

Proposed sub-items 

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Notes

The monthly payment limit differs between insurers, however the necessity to offset is a similar feature. The major insurers (aside from Fidelity) offer coverage for Childcare Assistance, which is likely to be claimed more often than some of the other expenses. Partners Life receives a deduction for “benefit not available for all payment periods” as they do not offer their “Vocational and Retraining benefit” for payment periods which are less than 2 years. Similarly, AIA reduces their monthly payment to 6 months with 1, 2 or 5 year benefit periods. Fidelity is the only insurer that will not pay out the full benefit until the insured has returned to paid work (minimum of 20 hours). AIA, ASB and Partners Life are the only insurers that clearly offer assistance either during or after the waiting period - an important feature, as early intervention can significantly affect the length of a claim. 

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


Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Agreed Value Income Protection: Rehab and Home Modifications

Introduction

Following on from our previous post on “Vocational and Rehabilitation Support”, we have also reviewed “Rehab and Home Modifications” and renamed the item to “Home Modifications and Equipment”.

Please find our proposed sub-items below.

Proposed sub-items

Equip

Notes

The biggest variation can be seen in the monthly benefit limits. AIA and ASB have limited their payment to 6 months while Partners Life uses a tiered approach (the monthly payment reduces in line with the payment term).

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


Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Coma (Trauma)

Introduction

Following on with our recent theme of revising ratings, we have reviewed Coma, re-assessing the item based on modern definitions.  A rarely claimed on benefit, yet significant coverage in the media when the insurer decides not to pay out.  

Below are the proposed items for Coma.

Coma

Notes

Momentum life is the only provider that requires the insured to be in a coma for 96-hours, while Westpac uniquely requires a permanent neurological deficit. Three insurers, Fidelity, Pinnacle and Westpac specifically exclude medically induced comas and a similar definition is observed in the use of life support systems and response to internal and external needs.

Few insurers continue to use the Glasgow Coma Scale in their definitions – here is a quick overview of what the scale demonstrates https://medictests.com/units/glasgow-coma-score

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


Legal and regulatory review for the life and health insurance sector

20 May 2021 - Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Hon David Clark, April 2021 diary released with the following potential financial services sector related meetings noted:

  • 6 Apr 2021 – RBNZ (Geoff Bascand, Deputy Governor and Toby Fiennes, Head of Financial System Policy Analysis)
  • 12 Apr 2021 – Munich Re (Dr Achim Kassow, Member of the Board of Management, Dr Tobias Farny, CE, Asia Pacific & China, John Shewan, Chairman Australasia; Ralph Ronnenberg, MD Australasia)
  • 13 Apr 2021 – AON (Dominic Christian, Global Chairman Reinsurance Solutions & Robert De Souza, CE, AON)
  • 14 Apr 2021 - Insurance Brokers Association of NZ (Melanie Gorham, CEO & Barry Hellberg)
  • 15 Apr 2021 – Financial Services Council Event (Speaking)
  • 15 Apr 2021 – Southern Response (Alister James , Chair)
  • 15 Apr 2021 – Meeting with Financial Services CEs (Lyn McMorran , Financial Services Federation; Joe Bishop, Police and Families Credit Union; Roger Beaumont, NZ Bankers Association; Dr Suzy Morrissey, Commission for Financial Capability; Jane Wrightson, Retirement Commissioner; Liesl Knox, Avanti Finance; Sue Foley, Westpac; Steven Bendall, ASB; Antonia Watson, ANZ)
  • 15 Apr 2021 – Launch of the National Strategy for Financial Capability (Speaking)
  • 15 Apr 2021 – Mindful Money (Barry Coates, Founder & CEO)

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2021-05/Hon%20Dr%20David%20Clark%20Proactive%20Diary%20Release%20April%202021.pdf


Quality Product Research: (Inbuilt) Child Trauma – Part Two 

A reader has queried whether QPR takes the sum insured into account in our Research Ratings.  And the answer is yes, we do consider the amount paid by each insurer. In fact amount paid are a vital part of a value-based assessment approach - and something we capture much better than simple feature lists of benefits do. 

In trauma insurance, some companies pay the full benefit for an item, others only make a payment of 10% or 20% of the sum insured because the condition was not severe enough to warrant a full payment. Our score is varied according to how much would actually be paid. In the scenario for Child Trauma, we have a claims amount of $100,000 and calculate how much would be paid out by each insurer.  

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Furthermore, based on adviser feedback we have corrected our ratings to reflect the fact that Asteron does include the option to convert their child cover to adult trauma at age 21. Interestingly, if the parent is on Trauma Recovery (TR) and considering converting their child cover to TR with Early Trauma they are required to complete an application. 

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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


Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Benign Brain and Spine Tumour

Introduction

The World Health Organisation states that 130 different types of brain tumours exist. A benign brain tumour is a non-cancerous growth in a distinct area of the brain. The survival rates for patients with benign brain tumours are higher than others, however this depends on the size and location of the tumour within the brain.

Proposed sub-items

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Notes

There are some noticeable differences between insurers such as whether partials exist, or if the spinal cord or tumour on the pituitary gland is covered. We have tried to make the sub-items clearly demonstrate the variation between insurers.

Why is this important?

Although QPRs weighting of this item is low, it would be of high interest to those that have a family history of brain cancers. With a lot of insurers now having specialised cancer products we would like to ensure that our rating is relevant. 

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


Daily news update: ASB and AIA to offer joint home loan benefit, and more stores

It has been announced that ASB and AIA are working together to offer current and new ASB home loan customers Compassionate Care. This benefit is free and is intended to offer customers some relief in the instance their co-borrower dies. Customers will be relieved of paying the interest portion of their mortgage for up to 12 months.

“ASB and AIA have launched Compassionate Care, a free home loan benefit for new and existing ASB home loan customers that covers the interest costs for about 12 months if one of the borrowers on the home loan dies.

It comes at no cost to the customer, and ASB and AIA say they have worked hard to ensure the process is simple and easy, with no requirement to sign up or activate the benefit.

AIA chief product and vitality officer Len Elikhis said ASB and AIA had conducted research to understand the needs of home loan customers and determined that the death of a borrower was a significant point of stress.

Not having to pay interest costs would give customers time to work out how they wanted to proceed with the loan, he said.

AIA will be tasked with adjudicating the claims.

It gave the insurer the chance to cover a large group of people, he said, and strengthened AIA’s partnership with New Zealand.” Click here to read more

This is a smart offer. It covers loads of people. As Len Elikhis points out - it is a significant concern to borrowers. It is also relatively low cost and could naturally lead to a conversation about wider cover requirements. This is also not something you have to leave to the big insurers. I know of one insurance broker who advertised free windscreen insurance for any client that bought car insurance with them. Whether the preferred car insurance paid it or not didn't matter - if it wasn't covered by the insurer they just paid it themselves. Good consumer offers like these create opportunities. 

In other news:

The depth of anger at the approach to regulation in Australia is being revealed with news like this: 

Call to boycott Australian financial adviser exam

nib: Lifeline Aotearoa Increases Support As Demand Surges Due To Covid-19

ICNZ: ICNZ And Banqer Partner To Empower Young Kiwis

 


Daily news update: Partners Life predictions for increased suicide claims, and more stories

While there aren’t usually many suicide claims made, Partners Life is now predicting that there will be an increase in suicide claims in the foreseeable future. Naomi Ballantyne has linked the economic effects of the pandemic to increased mental health problems and self-harm.

“Life insurance company Partners Life expects a rise in suicide claims as a result of businesses failing in the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

"We've certainly experienced already suicides that are directly related to businesses being shut down," Ballantyne said.

The Covid-19 economic crisis was putting unprecedented pressure on businesses and their owners, and there have been predictions the pandemic could result in a rise in self-harm.

Business failure could have an intense emotional impact on individuals, and business failures were sometimes implicated as a factor contributing to owners' sudden deaths.

In desperation, people sometimes convinced themselves that their families would be better off with a payout on their life insurance policies than with them remaining alive, Ballantyne said.” Click here to read more

In other news:

FSCL: FSCL's 'allegations against a very senior parliamentary officer' This covers the issue of the right to use the word 'ombudsman'

Reinsurance sector won't achieve cost of capital in 2020, outlines Fitch Of course, many categories of business will not achieve their cost of capital. 

Financial advice saving retirement futures: Adviser This trend isn't confined to KiwiSaver advice either - events cause people to reflect on their contingency planning, including risk.

ASB: ASB to waive home loan interest, if a borrower dies


Daily news update: AIA offer advisers commission boost, and more stories

It has been announced that AIA will be offering additional support to advisers. In the announcement AIA stated that they will be offering advisers commission boosts in two parts. The first will be focused on offering advisers 20% extra Basic Initial Commission on AIA Living applications submitted using eApp. This offer is being extended until 1 September 2020. The second method will be to offer a commission boost as part of their small business support package. AIA is looking to offer an additional 20% Basic Initial Commission on AIA Living applications submitted using eApp. This offer will run from 2 June 2020 until 1 September 2020.

“So far, 2020 has been a challenging year for us all. At AIA we want to help support you, your business, and your clients to make 2020 memorable for the right reasons.

We know from your feedback that the current biggest issue for you and your business is cash-flow.

That’s why we’re excited to be launching our 20/20 in 2020 offer that has two components: sharing the value of going digital and our new small business support package.”

In other news:

Professional IQ: Professional IQ launches level five version two

Digital advice the mass market solution: Carlyon

Economic crisis just getting started, says ASB


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

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