Recent Product Updates

We have just uploaded the Quality Product Research Limited database QPRV10.1 to Quotemonster and subscribers. This version included the following changes:

ANZ Trauma Cover:

Policy wording also updated to the most recent document in the database, standalone cover.

ASB Mortgage Protection Review:

Review & change made to Offsets / Mental Health Limitation / Partial Disability provisions

Asteron Life

Enhancements of Trauma, TPD & Mortgage Protection for Business and Personal  products (effective 19 June 2017)

Kiwibank Mortgage Protection Cover:

Product has been rated & policy wording uploaded to database

Westpac Trauma (accelerated only)

New score added under ‘Diagnosis & Partial benefit’ to capture ‘minor heart attack’

Sovereign Critical Illness 

Updated pricing is being tested and will be applied to Quotemonster by tomorrow morning. The policy wording for these product enhancements has not yet been reviewed and will be reviewed and updated by 26 June, the QPR database will be updated again during that week. 

 

 


Banks: Mortgage Repayment Cover

We recently had an adviser ask us this question: 

If you are on claim with a bank mortgage cover and your mortgage is repaid during your claim does the claim end before you get to the end of the claim term?

Here is what we found:

ASB – Mortgage and Income Protection, benefit continues after mortgage has been repaid until the end of the chosen payment term.

Westpac – payments will cease if the mortgage is repaid. If disabled after the maximum 30 months and the life assured meets the TPD definition, Westpac will repay the outstanding loan amount. The policy then ceases.

Other banks have either Income based products, or an Agreed Value with a chosen benefit amount (Living Expenses).


Bank Insurers Argue Against "Sales" vs "Advice" Distinction

David Chaplin reports: 

"Banks have mounted an all-out attack on Financial Advisers Act (FAA) reform proposals to clearly distinguish ‘sales’ from ‘advice’ setting themselves at odds with industry bodies and consumers."

and also adds for clarity that

"...the big four Australian-owned banks and Kiwibank all strongly argue against introducing a formal distinction between ‘salesperson’ and ‘financial adviser’ into the regulatory mix."

Those a pretty strong words from David. I was interested in how we know that consumers would like a clearer distinction, and you might be too: 

"An accompanying MBIE survey also found almost 90 per cent of consumers said “clarifying the difference between ‘sales’ and ‘financial advice’ would help them better understand what they are receiving”

Read the balance of the article at this link


ASB Systems Now Allow the use of Salutation Mx Instead of Mr, Mrs, or Ms

ASB systems are now set up to allow the use of the salutation "Mx" instead of Mr, Mrs, or Ms. The addition of a non-gender specific salutation is a useful addition to the toolkit to respect diversity. Addressing a person as they wish to be addressed is good manners, of course, and good business sense. You can read a copy of the announcement at this link


Policy Upgrade Features

Policy upgrade features, the practice of updating in-force policy terms and conditions with upgraded features is relatively new. Some long-standing providers have only but recently adopted it. Due to the gradual incorporation of this feature by companies that distribute through primarily through financial advisers, many have shadowed competitors’ policy wording, and an increasing number of in-force policies now have the same terms as those issued new. Also, many benefit terms and conditions are very similar.

There are however two fundamental standards to consider:

  1. When did the upgrade benefit come into effect; and
  2. To what specified policy issue date (if any) does this benefit retrospectively apply.

We have summarised these in the table below:

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For those companies with pass-back provisions  extending to 2001 as a proportion of in-force books only a small minority of policies in-force will have products that do not auto update, but these may still number in the tens of thousands.

Most providers choose to extend this feature only to policies issued since the feature was introduced. Moreover, where the feature has been ‘passed-back’ to existing policy-holders, a limit has been fixed to how far back it applies. Consequently, the oldest in-force policies may be excluded from qualifying for this feature. Insurers have maintained this is a result of contractual obligations with reinsurers wherein older policies were approved on the basis of different terms and conditions than to those of newly-issued ones. Valid though it may be - insight conveys that clients who have been paying premiums for lengthy periods are, perhaps, disadvantaged. On the other hand some of these older policies retain some features that may not be available in a modern policy.

Outwardly the upgrade policy wording benefit emerges as a generous feature accentuating insurers’ commitment to recompense the loyalty of policy-holders. However, it also serves a purpose of synchronising existing products’ content with developments in the macro-environment. An insurer benefits as much as existing clients from the upgrade benefit, which enables insurers for example to:

  • curtail anti-selection (where the healthier lives in an in-force product abandon it and update their cover with a competitor, leaving only an aging in-force client base)
  • consolidate IT platforms where all system developments designed to manage enhanced products can also accommodate all in-force clients
  • eliminate varied pricing segments for the same products - facilitating a streamlined pricing strategy
  • avert excessive administrative costs which can spur from mass policy conversions by existing clients wanting enhanced products
  • simplify operational processes by transferring older policies to current terms of administration
  • relay consistent brand messaging and product-related publications

Why Can't I see the Banks on Quotemonster

There are a number of reasons why you may not be able to see the banks on Quotemonster or in the pdf reports.

  1. We don't offer the premiums for the banks on Quotemonster and therefore you will only be able to view banks if you subscribe to QPR.

If you are using QPR and can still not view the banks it may be due to either of these:

  1. The banks may not offer the product or options that you are quoting on. For example, a number of the banks do not offer Standalone products, they only offer Accelerated so please ensure the banks offer the products you are quoting.
  2. You have to ensure that you select the banks in "Step 3: Compare Insurers" in the "Research" tab. There is a drop down box labeled "Select More Companies" which lets you select which companies you want to appear on your report. Make sure you select the banks here and click 'Save'.

If you are still having issues please feel free to contact us on (09) 480 6071.


Premium Comparison V81 - Tableau Version

A Tableau version of the latest Premium Comparison Database is now available to all subscribers. It has the same data as Premium Comparison V81 that was sent out a couple of weeks ago.

You will need Tableau Reader 9.1 to open it, which can be downloaded for free here:

http://www.tableau.com/products/reader


ASB Easy Life and Living Insurance

A number of advisers have been asking us if Quality Product Research has a rating for ASB's Easy Life and Living Insurance. They do not, but it is likely that one will be added to the research database soon. In the meantime you are welcome to look at the policy document at this link. A key point to note is the pre-existing conditions exclusion.

If you have any comments or suggestions about rating products with pre-existing conditions exclusions please let us know - there are several on the market right now and the approach will need to be based on good principles in order to work across all the different types. 


Difficulty Comparing Policies Highlighted by Interest.co.nz

Jenée Tibshraeny, at interest.co.nz, has a good piece about "navigating the road blocks preventing you from comparing 'apples with apples' when shopping for life insurance." As we spend a lot of time comparing policy documents we agree. The article is well worth a look. 

Tibshraeny highlights: 

"Of the 20 life insurance providers I’ve looked at, only half have published their policy documents on their websites.

These include AA Life, ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Cigna, Co-op Bank, Countdown, Kiwibank, Pinnacle and Westpac.

Those that haven’t include AIA, AMP, Asteron, Fidelity, MAS, OnePath, Partners Life, SBS, Sovereign and Volo."

Although I have to point out that AIA, AMP, Asteron, Fidelity, OnePath, Partners, and Sovereign do make their documents available publicly online: through sites like LifeDirect, KiwiCover, and others. If you google them, you can get several links to their policy documents. 

Tibshraeny then moves on to highlight the differences in wordings. This is trickier territory. There's a difference between "bad" differences which are merely confusing and make it hard to compare policies and "good" differences which make a policy demonstrably better than the others. There is a difference between documents that have a lot of superfluous words and details for cover that you did not buy, and those that have lots of long words because they cover more medical conditions. 

There have been some interesting developments in the UK to help raise consumer confidence in wordings.

But it all starts with a policy document.

Of course, most consumers do not read the document before they buy, but it is hard to argue that they should not have the opportunity to do so.