Partners Life Updates Claims System and more daily news

Partners Life has announced the launch of a new claims management system. The system is designed to improve how case managers support clients through the claims process, creating a better overall experience and enabling better links to treatment options. From the Partners Life release:

Claims management transformation

Like you, we know how important it is to see claims go through smoothly and know clients appreciate hassle-free service with prompt settlements. We always seek ways to improve client satisfaction, so we are shifting our service level up a few gears.

Today, we launch our new claims management system – designed to deliver a more straightforward and efficient ‘incident to outcome’ claims service for clients, and you as advisers.

Initially focused on Risk claims, this comprehensive operating system upgrade represents one of the most significant investments we have made since Partners Life opened its doors eleven years ago.

…With this system, case managers can better guide clients through their claims journey smoothly – and successfully manage their return to work and independence.

Our case managers will have a greater capacity to coordinate services and treatments, supported by better workflow automation.

In addition, the system’s case segmentation matrix helps coordinate claim journeys related to their level of need. This built-in workflow management feature ensures the best possible client outcomes by providing real-time monitoring, facilitating better resource allocation or escalation response.

… This new claims management system guarantees a more consistent approach, improved payment control, quality assurance, and the best client outcomes.

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NBR suggests Suncorp may contemplate selling Asteron Life


Asteron Life's Financial Strength Rating (FSR) 

Asteron, as part of the Suncorp Group, is pleased to share that S&P (Standard & Poor's), one of the largest credits rating agencies has upgraded our Financial Strength rating from A+ to AA-, with a stable outlook. Find out more about the rating here 

Why has the rating been upgraded? 

  • Underwriting performance has remained not only strong but stable and resilient. 
  • S&P believes that the Suncorp Group has withstood impacts such as COVID-19 and natural hazard volatility better than peers.
  • Benchmarked against international peers who are AA-rated, the Suncorp Group has been found to be in line in terms of performance.
What does this mean for you? 
We're mindful that you may have indicated Asteron Life's FSR rating on some of your marketing collateral and online platforms which will need to be updated with the upgraded rating. We have a number of suggestions as follows: 
  • For website updates, it may be easier to add a link to our FSR website page. In this way, you don't have to make amends if there are any further upgrades.
  • For printed marketing collateral, change this out at your next print cycle and for digital assets, make a note to change the FSR rating in a timely manner.

AIA offers Best Doctors to advisers, and more daily news

AIA has announced that the Best Doctors service will be offered to advisers. This decision is in response to the results of the recently publish adviser wellbeing survey results.   Sam Tremethick, AIA Chief Partnership Insurance Officer, has said that AIA wants to encourage change for advisers.

“In response to the 2021 New Zealand Adviser Wellbeing research report, AIA New Zealand is extending the highly sought-after Best Doctors service to financial advisers.

According to Sam Tremethick, Chief Partnership Insurance Officer, “Best Doctors is a fantastic offering, supporting our employees, corporate customers - and now advisers - with the option of securing a second expert medical opinion on any medical diagnosis.”

The NZ Adviser Wellbeing research AIA launched last week showed that 20 percent of advisers surveyed are seeking or have sought medical care for stress, 15 percent have been advised by their doctor that they are in a high-risk category for heart disease or stroke, and 41 percent had a moderate to high mental health risk – almost double the risk of the general NZ population.

“We want to help bring about change for advisers, and are proud to be able to offer this to any advisers in New Zealand that have a relationship with us.”

Best Doctors is a telehealth service that provides access to international specialists and New Zealand registered mental health clinicians. Providing world-class advice and support when it is needed most, Best Doctors supports customers with diagnosis, treatment, and information, providing the confidence to make informed health decisions.

The AIA offer also includes access to Best Doctor’s market-leading Mental Health Navigator service, which provides direct online access to a multidisciplinary team of mental health experts including psychologists and psychiatrists.

Dr Lorelle Drew, Lead Consultant Psychiatrist for Best Doctors in New Zealand, explains further: “The need for mental health services has been on the rise for several years and Covid-19 has seen an increase in this need for support and care.  Access to services through virtual care has also been on the increase, which provides benefits such as people being seen safely and without the stress and disruption of long travel, parking and childcare arrangements for example. 

“Through Best Doctor’s Mental Health Navigator it is much easier to access psychiatrists and psychologists with timelier assessment, treatment, and recovery as a result,” says Drew.

“We know mental wellbeing is an area of significant concern in New Zealand, with depression the leading cause of disability worldwide,” adds Tremethick. “Through the Mental Health Navigator we can help NZ advisers get the right advice and information they need, so they can prioritise their mental health.

“We believe it is important to take a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, which is why we are thrilled to have this benefit extended to include advisers’ immediate families as well, so they can also receive the right advice and support.”

In other news

Partners Life: Partners Life has received the Rainbow Tick certification for a fourth consecutive year

FMA: Meet new FMA chief executive Samantha Barrass

Asteron Life: Grant Willis says that claims acceptance rate is over 96%


Financial Advice publish report, and more daily news

Financial Advice NZ has published the results of the Better Behaviours research The report is a continuum of the 2021 report Trust in Advice. Overall, the report highlights that New Zealanders that have access to financial advice demonstrate better financial behaviours than those without access to financial advice.

“Kiwis who seek out and receive professional financial advice exhibit good financial behaviours more often than unadvised Kiwis. According to Financial Advice New Zealand’s new report, Better Behaviours - research on the value of financial advice, regardless of income level, advised Kiwis are more prepared for retirement, feel better about their financial position and are more comfortable making big financial decisions.

Building on the research report from 2020, Trust in Advice, which clearly showed that financial advice and advisers are trusted and highly valued, the Better Behaviours report measures the extent of positive financial behaviours demonstrated by advised Kiwis compared to those who are unadvised.

The results are clear: advised Kiwis exhibit better financial behaviours:

More than two thirds of advised New Zealanders say that advice has led to outcomes such as a better understanding of the risks of their financial plan (77%), a better understanding of how to achieve financial goals (74%), and they are better equipped to actually stick to these financial plans (70%).

The vast majority of advised consumers say that their advice relationship is meeting their needs. When asked whether the service provided by their adviser met their needs, a strong majority (91%) said yes to at least some extent.

Advised Kiwis are on track for better future outcomes by being better budgeters. With budgets and plans in place, advised consumers are more confident in making big financial decisions with 94% saying they are very or reasonably confident compared to 83% of the unadvised.

Higher use of KiwiSaver will drive better outcomes. Across the advised and unadvised wage/salary earners, both groups had high rates of KiwiSaver contribution (82% vs 72%).

Advised Kiwis understand the value of reviewing and making changes to their mortgage. 86% of advised Kiwis with a mortgage have reviewed that mortgage in the last year, but only 68% of unadvised have done the same. 90% believe those changes will save them money in the long term.

Higher uptake of insurance across age and income levels protects the advised. Almost twice as many advised Kiwis have Life Insurance (59% compared to 32%) and Health Insurance (55% compared to 28%) than unadvised. Usage of other types of insurance such as Income Protection and Total and Permanent Disability Insurance are more than three times higher amongst advised Kiwis than the unadvised (34% and 10%, 31% and 10%).

Understanding risk and reward drives diversification and ongoing investment reviews. Beyond KiwiSaver and property, advised Kiwis are more likely to have other investments (61% vs 35%), indicating they have a wider diversification of investment assets than the unadvised.

Advised Kiwis plan for and expect a better retirement. Across every age band, advised Kiwis feel they have a better understanding of how much money they will need in retirement (62% vs 40% overall).

The Better Behaviours results clearly illustrate that advised Kiwis are more likely to have a

documented budget and financial plan, to review their financial products regularly, to understand risk vs return, and to take-up and cancel insurance products when appropriate. They are also more likely to have positive mortgage behaviours, setting themselves up to save interest and carve years

off the life of their mortgages.

Across the board (mortgage advice, investment advice, insurance advice and financial planning), quality financial advice has given Kiwis the tools to think about their finances in a pro-active way, given them more financial confidence and control, and has had a significant effect on their sense of financial wellbeing.”

In other news

Cigna: From 2 March 2022, the traffic light indicator will be activated on My Score Card. This will display a green, orange or red status along with due dates for any requirements within the Current Learning and Declaration sections of an adviser’s score card.

From Good returns: Advice pays

Asteron Life: Asteron Life is extending the benefits of the Best Doctors service to new and existing customers with Trauma Recovery and Cancer Cover.


nib foundation name Health Smart Grants programme partners, and more daily news

nib foundation has announced a partnership with Clearhead, the University of Otago and Youthline as they all work to reach youth and young adults through digital platforms. Through nib foundation’s new Health Smart Grants programme each organisation has been awarded over $128,000 in funding.

"Three New Zealand organisations dedicated to empowering Kiwi young adults to make smarter health choices have received over $128,000 in funding from nib foundation’s new Health Smart Grants programme.

nib foundation Executive Officer, Amy Tribe, said the foundation is thrilled to partner with Clearhead, the University of Otago and Youthline, who are each doing their part to reach our rangatahi (youth and young adults) and help prevent long-term health problems.

“Chronic health conditions account for 80% of all deaths in New Zealand, yet we know over a third of these are caused by modifiable risks that can be reduced or avoided. Through these partnerships we aim to help Kiwis better understand these risks and the positive lifestyle changes they can make every day to live longer and healthier lives,”

Mrs Tribe said.  

The charities will use digital platforms to deliver innovative programmes and educational campaigns targeted at youth and young adults on topics such as mental health and wellbeing, and harmful alcohol consumption.

“We intentionally partnered with charities who were eager to use digital platforms to reach their target audience so that more people are provided the opportunity to keep on top of their health,” Mrs Tribe said.

“For example, our funding will support Clearhead to develop a digital tool via their online platform to help young adults find their purpose in life. This is in response to data collected from their users which revealed loneliness and a lack of purpose are the two leading causes of psychological distress among young people,” she added.

Meanwhile, the University of Otago will use the funding to build on the findings of their Youth2000 Series Survey and address harmful drinking in young people through a series of evidence-based webinars and online fact sheets to influence community-level action.

“Another significant contributor to chronic disease and health loss in New Zealand is alcohol and harmful drinking, and these risky drinking behaviours often begin early on in high school,” Mrs Tribe said.

“That’s why we’re supporting the University of Otago to develop these resources that we hope will influence policymakers, programme developers, and those who work with young people to better educate the community on alcohol harm and reduce long-term health impacts,” she added.

nib foundation’s 2022 New Zealand Health Smart partners are:

  • Clearhead NZ - Digital tool for finding life purpose
  • University of Otago NZ - Reducing Alcohol Harm in Young People
  •           Youthline - Empowering young New Zealanders to support their own wellbeing and build resilience

In other news

Asteron Life: Principal Underwriter role being advertised

FSC: Strong year for health insurance sector in 2021

Southern Cross: Workplace happiness key to retaining staff amid the ‘Great Resignation’


Asteron Life pricing update - live on Quotemonster now

On Friday 25th Asteron Life announced to advisers some changes which will go live on Monday 28th February.

Premium rate reductions are included in the changes. While we have some more detailed analysis to conduct the summary is that from age 50 up there are life rate reductions of between 9% and 13%.

Asteron's announcement also includes:

"Aside from the rate changes, the other exciting piece of news we have is an extension of our Best Doctors offer to even more customers. Currently Best Doctors is only available to our Income Protection customers, and select legacy product customers; we’ll be extending this to customers with Trauma cover as well."

The rate changes have been made live on Quotemonster now.

 


AIA publish adviser wellbeing report, and more daily news

AIA has revealed the full findings of the adviser wellbeing survey that was conducted last year by Dr Adam Fraser and Dr John Molineux. Acting CEO, Sharron Botica, has said that AIA has a role to play in role in raising the topic of adviser wellbeing with different industry bodies and leaders.

“A new report released by AIA New Zealand finds that Kiwi financial advisers increasingly face work burnout and deteriorating mental wellbeing.

Conducted by researchers Dr Adam Fraser and Dr John Molineux for AIA NZ, the study shows that one in five advisers are seeking or have sought medical care for stress, with 15 percent reporting that their doctor has advised them that they are in a high-risk category for heart disease or stroke.

Sam Tremethick, AIA NZ’s Chief Partnership Insurance Officer, says that AIA NZ undertook the research to better understand how operating in a global pandemic, increasing industry regulation, and changing client needs are impacting the adviser industry.

“Financial advisers largely fly under the radar as a sector. They work under difficult circumstances and have challenging roles. So we felt it was important that we better understand how the industry is faring on the whole and identify ways they can be better supported.”

Results found that a quarter of advisers are considering leaving their job due to stress, and a quarter also intend to take stress leave. Furthermore, two in five advisers believe this stress is impacting their ability to get adequate sleep.

Looking at specific pressure points, more than 60 percent of advisers who responded to questions about key sources of stress said the newly introduced government regulation was highly to very highly stressful, 42 percent said work overload was highly to very highly stressful, and 37 percent said meeting future education standards was highly to very highly stressful.

The good news is that seven in 10 (67 percent) of advisers surveyed said they are doing a good job in managing work-life balance, and 44 percent of advisers said that they feel their ‘personal time is their own’.

Similar research conducted in 2020 across the financial adviser sector in Australia provides a clear caution of the risks Kiwi advisers face if current industry issues aren’t addressed.

“Many of the NZ advisers said the increase in compliance and regulation had already had a negative impact on them. They were very concerned that New Zealand may follow the lead of Australia, where regulatory demands  have led  to advisers becoming disengaged and more likely to leave the industry,” continues Tremethick. “However, we appreciate the regulatory environment is very different over the Tasman, and maintain that overall the changes in NZ were a needed step to improve the professionalism of our industry, and support good customer outcomes.”

AIA NZ’s Acting CEO, Sharron Botica, agrees. “Having reviewed the research findings, we believe our role at AIA NZ is to be a catalyst for change by raising the conversation around adviser wellbeing with industry bodies and leaders, and to challenge what we can do to collectively make improvements for the future.

“At AIA we are committed to helping people live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives, with the goal of making New Zealand the healthiest and best protected nation in the world. Aotearoa’s financial advisers and their businesses are an important part of this. For a business to be able to deliver meaningful impact, it must be in good shape. And for a business to be in good shape, its people need to be in good shape.”

AIA has committed to looking at their own practices for ways to improve and offer additional support to advisers. Plans include extending AIA NZ's Best Doctor’s offering to all advisers that have a relationship with us. Best Doctors provides the option of securing a second medical opinion on any medical diagnosis, as well as access to a range of medical experts including those specialised in mental health. The company will also host a number of wellness-focussed sessions for advisers throughout the year, and make further enhancements to the current AIA Vitality programme offering for mental wellbeing.

“For us, it's about guiding and supporting each other to think differently about the health of ourselves and our businesses so we can make a greater difference for our clients, our business, our own wellbeing, and our communities,” concludes Botica.

The study contains recommendations for the industry and individual advisers on ways to improve and better support wellbeing outcomes. Please refer to the AIA NZ website for detailed report findings and further insights.

AIA adviser wellbeing survey key insights

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Partners Life announces changes to COVID amendments, and more daily news

Partners Life has announced that the temporary amendments to Premium Holidays and Policy Suspensions will be reverted back. Below are examples of when customers are eligible for Premium Holidays and Policy Suspensions.

“On the 17th August 2021, we extended our financial assistance offering to assist clients who may have been financially impacted as a result of

COVID-19 restrictions, so that they could have the best chance of retaining their valuable cover in the longer term.

With the country having moved into the ‘Traffic Light’ settings of the COVID-19 Protection Framework and with Level 4 Lockdowns behind us, we feel the time is right to revert to the original criteria for Premium Holiday claims and Policy Suspension claims, as documented in the policy wordings.

For your reference, below is a brief summary of when your client may qualify for a Premium Holiday claim.

If the Life Assured undergoes any of the following:

Redundancy; or Bankruptcy; or Leaving paid employment to become a full-time caregiver to a spouse, de facto partner or Civil Union partner who for the first time requires such care as a result of an illness or injury; or Leaving paid employment to become a full-time caregiver to a Dependent Child who for the first time requires such care as a result of an illness or injury; or Death of a spouse, partner or child; or Natural Disaster where the event affects a life assured’s ability to undertake their usual work and where interruption is likely to last more than thirty days; or Any other event Partners Life agrees to, at its sole discretion

For Policy Suspension claims only:

Employer approved leave without pay; or Employer approved parental leave; or Overseas travel; or Tertiary Education”

In other news

Financial Advice: Key changes to the Privacy Act 2020 and what it means for your business

Astreon Life: Suncorp announces half-year results

Asteron Life: Suncorp NZ leader on inclusivity and making insurance products fit for purpose


Highway to Health Seminar Series set to resume, and more daily news

nib has announced that the Highway to Health Seminar Series will resume from 10 February 2022 and will continue until 25 February 2022. The seminar series will include topics on the expansion into life insurance, health management programmes for clients, and the value of group health insurance. Those looking to attend the seminar in person will need to present their vaccine passes while those without passes will have the opportunity to watch a recording of the seminar through Take Five.

After a long break due to COVID-19 restrictions, we’re going on the road to bring you our next seminar series. The Highway to Health seminar is coming to a location near you, with presentations and discussion on a whole range of topics that will help you have more healthy client conversations.

What We’ll Cover

Highway to Life - CEO Rob Hennin

The Kiwi Insurance acquisition will see nib expanding into life and living insurance, to fully deliver on our purpose of ‘your better health’.

Highway to Health Prevention

Find out about our health management programmes that can help your clients, our members, take control of their health and wellbeing, and prevent or delay serious health issues.

Highway to Group Health Insurance

Learn more about the value of group cover and wellbeing for businesses and their employees.

Your Health Comes First

With New Zealand now operating under the New Zealand Covid-19 Protection Framework, nib has carefully considered how we will operate our business under this framework. We are committed to ensuring the safety of our advisers, members, our people and the public.

Standing by our commitment to keep our community safe, it will now be a requirement of anyone attending an nib hosted event to provide a valid My Vaccine Pass. We’ll also work within the requirements of each region regarding the traffic lights system.

For our upcoming seminars, you’ll need to show your My Vaccine Pass on arrival. If you don’t have this, you can watch our recording of the seminar via Take Five, so you don’t miss out.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your Adviser Partner Manager, we’re here to help. As we all move into a fresh year, we hope things will be looking brighter for our communities and the economy. Click here to register

In other news

Financial Advice: Economic Update with Cameron Bagrie

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MAS: Dayeon Lee named as one of the MAS Here for Good Scholarship recipients

Asteron Life: Suncorp shuffles New Zealand leadership


Quality Product Research: rating of specific injury as a standalone benefit

Introduction

We have had quite a few requests in the past to add Specific Injury to our product suite on Quotemonster. Now that we have three insurers in the market that offer a comparable standalone product – AIA, Asteron Life and Cigna (plus Partners Life has a built-in version of the benefit) we are working to release a draft rating to our users. If you would like to receive a copy, please email me (details below). Our resources highlight the importance of Specific Injury in situations where ACC or other insurances are unable to offer cover and this is a wonderful opportunity for you to be involved in the addition of this benefit to our platform, so any feedback you have is greatly appreciated.

Process

Insurers are aware that we are adding Specific Injury to Quotemonster and are open to provide any data or claims information. We will publish a draft rating for review by all industry personnel and circulate them for review. Any changes will be based on our view of all the information sent to us and will subsequently be posted for further review.

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