ANZIIF to offer conduct and culture training course, and more daily news

It has been announced that ANZIIF will offer Building Integrity, a conduct and culture training course. The course is focused on the FMA’s view on conduct, conduct issues, consequences and improving customer outcomes.

“ANZIIF has announced a new training course for insurance professionals in New Zealand called Building Integrity, which will focus on conduct and culture issues across the sector.

ANZIIF says the course is designed to educate insurance players on the FMA’s view of conduct, and it will explore what conduct issues exist, the consequences that may come with them, and how an insurance professional or organisation can develop a strategy to improve customer outcomes.”

Rebecca Slingo, general manager, learning has said the course is recommended to anyone in the industry. The duration of the course is 90 minutes and covers five different sections:

  • fire & general
  • underwriting
  • broking
  • claims
  • life insurance

“General manager, learning, Rebecca Slingo says the course is “highly recommended” to anyone in the industry looking to make improvements to their customer service.”

“The Building Integrity training course has five sections, and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. It is designed for insurance professionals across different regions, and covers multiple areas of insurance including fire & general, underwriting, broking, claims and life insurance.” Click here to read more

In other news:

Asteron Life: Asteron implemented a vulnerability framework to help employees recognise vulnerable customers

Asteron Life: The ability to offer firefighters a special code when quoting in AsteronConnect was improved and is now effective

Asteron Life: COVID-19 SME index found that 85% of SMEs surveyed experienced declines in revenue

Asteron Life: COVID-19 SME index found 44% of SMEs applied for the wage subsidy to pay employees

Asteron Life: COVID-19 SME index found that one in four SMEs are considering making changes to their life insurance

Replacement case puts spotlight on 'churn'

Greens want ACC extended to cover sickness

Gastric cancer claim denial, and more daily news

After taking out life and trauma insurance from Westpac in 2013, a family was denied a $100,000 insurance payout after Ailepata Ailepata was diagnosed with gastric cancer. His wife Shirley Farani has said this money would have helped raise her children.

“A South Auckland crane driver has been denied a $100,000 payout for his gastric cancer after a government-owned finance company switched his policy.

His wife is furious that on the basis of what she says is a salesperson's garbled pitch - and despite recent official warnings to the insurance industry about its practice of "churning", or replacing old policies with new ones - her family of three children has now been pushed to financial breaking point.”

The switch in policy resulted after they inquired about taking out a mortgage and a New Zealand Home Loans broker suggested they change insurers.

“The family, who live in Māngere Bridge in Auckland, had paid for life and trauma insurance cover from Westpac since 2013. When, in 2018, they enquired about a mortgage with government-owned New Zealand Home Loans, an agent visited their home. He suggested changing insurers. They did, but ended up with less cover.”

The change in insurer meant that their new cover was $100,000, half the amount they had with Westpac.

“They thought having their insurance with their mortgage provider might make sense, she admitted. The new policy provided just $100,000 trauma cover, half of the $200,000 they had under Westpac.She found that out when she made a claim for the gastric cancer, she told RNZ.” Click here to read more

I am always conscious that there will be another side to this story, and knowing New Zealand Home Loans, a statement of advice on file. It will be important to know about those. Of course, either way, this won't look good. It is a reminder that doing the right thing isn't just a question of what is correct from a procedural point of view, but how it will look from the public perspective. Nobody wants coverage like this.

In other news:

Asteron Life: Market insights and impact from Covid-19 webinar

Fidelity life: Updated agency agreement will come into effect 6 July

FMA: Financial advice's 'golden opportunity'

FMA: John Botica welcomes disclosure requirements and new regime start dates

UPDATED: Melanie Purdey shares top FAP related questions, and more stories

Melanie Purdey shared what she thought advisers should be asking to ensure that they make the right decision in regard to joining a FAP.  Melanie covered culture, controls, communication, capability, and conflict.

Advisers need to consider the culture of the FAP. To ensure that there is synergy between them and the FAP. Melanie suggests advisers look into the FAP’s leadership, integrity and commitment to customers.

“Does this FAP have the leadership and legacy of looking out for clients’ best interests and putting them in priority?

Have they modelled a culture committed to attracting advisers with integrity or have numbers been the main driver for recruitment? Have they demonstrated leadership in dealing with renegade advisers who have committed breaches in the past?”

Click here to read more

In other news:

Asteron Life: Underwriting and New Business teams moved into a regional-based structure

Fidelity Life: Premium increases for some Income Protection and Key Person Cover customers effective 1 August 2020

Fidelity Life: Premium increases for some new level trauma covers, including Trauma Multi effective 1 August 2020. The underlying rates for some personal IP covers will increase for benefit periods to age 65 to age 70.  For new business for level Trauma and IP the to age 65 term will become to age 70. This was first reported incorrectly by Chatswood as a change to ages of eligibility, our apologies for the confusion. 

Fidelity Life: Planned changes or removal for some sales discounts including Key Person Cover

News roundup: Partners Life mini conference

Partners Life will be hosting a mini conference on Thursday 7 May 3.00 pm until 3.45 pm. Russell will be sharing industry insight alongside Tim von Dadelszen. Be sure to register by Wednesday 6 May by clicking here. 

"Come and listen as well-known industry expert, Russell Hutchinson from Chatswood Consulting chats with Tim von Dadelszen, Partners Life’s General Manager Digital Innovation, about their individual views on the role that logic should play in the provision of Life Insurance Advice.Is life insurance advice a science or an art? Come and join the discussion."

In other news:

Asteron Life: Asteron Life - May webinars

Kloogh gets sentencing date

Broker group urges advisers to invest in new tech

Insurers weigh up pandemic impact

Government offers further relief for small businesses

How the top 10 New Zealand travel insurers are handling Coronavirus


Asteron Life: Webinars

Asteron Life are hosting a number of webinars this week, below is a list of the topics:

Watch a demonstration of how to use AsteronConnect. From how to quote, understanding the application process, the underwriting rules engine and how to submit business through to Asteron Life via the e-app.

Learn how Asteron Life’s many Optional Trauma Benefits can work together to offer the perfect Trauma solution as well as affordability levers to help your clients keep their cover for longer. This session will get you thinking outside the box.

Why Asteron Life
You will gain an understanding of the Asteron philosophy of being a sustainable business. This is a high level overview of our points of difference, how you can leverage discounts and create a package for your clients that addresses short and long term needs as well as client affordability.

Adviser Portal (BEN) Campaign Tips
This session will cover an overview of our Business Enquiry Network (BEN) and how you can use its tools to connect you with your clients during and after Covid-19, including how to run campaign reporting.

Disability Income in Covid-19
Asteron Life has six Disability Income contracts, each designed to meet different needs of clients. This session will help you determine which DI cover is more suitable for your client’s individual circumstance, especially in a Covid-19 environment.  

Personal Insurance Overview 
You’ll gain a high level overview of all of our lump sum benefits and their points of difference in the market.

NEW - Claims
NOTE: These sessions will be offered in the week of 27 April.
James Thomson from Claims will lead you through our Claims philosophy, the impact of Covid-19, valuable claims statistics and help answer some of your FAQs.

Each webinar session will run for 60 minutes, which includes 45-50 minutes of content and 10-15 minutes for questions. 

Click here to register.

Normal in the new not-normal

All underwriting involves balancing a range of factors, but income protection underwriting is at least an order of magnitude harder to get right compared to life cover. Mental health, financial underwriting, and moral hazard play a much greater part. So many insurers are adopting a wait and see approach to the product until it is possible to assess the full impact on the economy of the control measures deployed against COVID-19. But now is not a normal time - as this announcement from Asteron Life illustrates, and I think underlines the point not just for them, but also for other insurers: 

An update on underwriting

With many clients facing uncertainty around the future of their businesses and jobs, Asteron Life will continue to consider requests for Disability Income cover on their individual merits at time of application.

To remain consistent with our usual underwriting process, applicants who are currently working at full capacity in their usual hours and duties can still be considered for Disability Income cover. Applicants who are not currently working will have their Disability Income cover assessment deferred until they return to work in their usual capacity. If you’re unsure as to whether or not a client is eligible for Disability Income cover, please contact your aligned underwriter or BDM for guidance before submitting an application.

As one adviser put it to me recently, maybe you don't need to have a lot of new rules, maybe you just need to underwrite. The point here though is that very few people right now are working at full capacity in the usual hours and duties. Essential workers are, mostly. I am, and many knowledge workers in the financial sector will be, albeit from home. Just that change in location will affect the approach of some underwriters. But most of the workforce aren't. That cannot be ignored. If you aren't working in your normal hours, or your normal duties, and you aren't receiving your normal pay, and your business (or sector, or employer) doesn't have its normal future, you can't really expect to get normal IP terms. So underwriting in the time of COVID-19 is difficult and as I pointed out in my post below, income protection may never be the same again

Asteron’s commitment to service

With Asteron Life team members working remotely it is business per usual. Clients looking to make claims will be offered the usual service and support. Asteron is working alongside providers to offer rehabilitation and assessment services via video conference. In regards to underwriting, Asteron will continue using their tele-interviewing service. If you are looking to book a time, you can do so through AsteronConnect. Although Asteron is closing applications for redundancy cover and restricting clients from increasing their existing benefits, they are supporting clients who have changing financial circumstances by offering:

Options under Lump Sum Covers

  • Premium Holiday
  • Premium freeze
  • A mixture of stepped and level premiums
  • Restructuring Trauma cover

Options under Disability Income Covers

  • Premium and cover suspension  

Asteron Life: Response to coronavirus

Asteron Life have announced the following options for customers in their recent adviser newsletter:

Options for customers

Some of your clients will be feeling the economic impact so we’d like to remind you that we have options available for customers who have changing financial circumstances.  

Options under Lump Sum Covers include:

  • Premium Holiday – a built-in benefit which allows customers to stop paying premiums for up to six months if they’re unemployed or experiencing financial hardship. Claims are still able to be made during this time.

  • Premium freeze – allows customers to freeze their stepped premium on lump sum covers for 12 months. This option reduces the lump sum benefit and applies from the policy anniversary.

  • A mixture of stepped and level premiums - options are available to suit long-term cover needs while matching short-term pricing needs.

  • Restructuring Trauma cover – an option to decrease premiums while still providing cover. For example, some Trauma Recovery Cover can be converted to Major Trauma benefit, which is a more affordable option as the trigger point for claims on 29 of the 45 listed conditions is higher. Another option is converting Trauma Recovery Cover to Cancer Cover, which has the same policy definitions but does not provide cover for other conditions.

Options under Disability Income Covers:

  • Premium and cover suspension - allows customers to suspend their premiums and cover for up to 12 months if they are experiencing financial hardship or are unemployed or on long-term leave from work. Cover can be reinstated at any point within the 12 months without further medical underwriting. Any conditions which first occur while the customer is on a premium and cover suspension will not be claimable, either during the suspension period or once cover is reinstated. 

Our policy wordings include other options such as Family Assist, Dependant Relative and Overseas Assist and others, which customers may find useful at this time. If your client’s circumstances fall outside the above options, please talk to your BDM about how we can help.