Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Aplastic Anaemia

Introduction

Were back with another item analysis - this time for Aplastic Anaemia.

Please find our proposed sub-items below.

Sub-items rating review

Aplastic

Notes

A defined treatment option is a commonality across all insurers, excluding Asteron Life who have a more open definition when compared to their competitors. We have included a sub-item for those insurers who require diagnosis from a medical specialist along with a deduction to those that do not offer an additional treatment option. Aplastic Anaemia is a lowly weighted item in our database; however, our proposed rating aims to emphasise the difference in the definition between insurers, rather than focusing too much on ranking them from best and worse.  

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


Asteron Life announce policy changes, and more daily news

Effective Monday, 27 September, Asteron announced a series of product enhancements to their personal range. Asteron Life has announced that changes have been made to expiry ages for Trauma Recovery Cover. The new expiry age for both standalone and accelerated benefits has increased from 75 to 85. Additionally, the expiry age for Continuous Trauma and Trauma Reinstatement benefit have increased to 75, and the maximum entry age for Asteron Life Trauma cover has increased to 70. Robyn Bartlett, Asteron Life Product Manager, has noted that the changes are a result of focusing on flexibility and usability for both advisers and customers. As part of the change, Astron Life has also:

  • Added premium holiday benefit and premium and cover suspension to business insurance policies 
  • Added a new lump sum specific injury benefit 
  • Made changes to its Major Trauma ratios 
  • Changed the definitions for seven conditions in its Trauma policies for new and existing customers back to 2004 
  • Updatied policy wordings for various benefits including grief support and financial planning 

“Asteron Life has announced changes to expiry ages for Trauma Recovery Cover, as part of a suite of product enhancements it has released this week. 

For its standalone and accelerated benefits, the expiry age is lifting from 70 to 85. Some other benefits including its Continuous Trauma and Trauma Reinstatement benefit will lift to age 75. 

Robyn Bartlett, Product Manager at Asteron Life, said that flexibility and usability have been the core values that have driven the range of enhancements the company is releasing. 

“We have heard from advisers that they value being able to give their customers choices when it comes to building a package of insurance cover to suit them,” say Bartlett.  

“Increasing the expiry ages of our Trauma recovery packages gives advisers and customers increased flexibility to put together insurance that will give them peace of mind in their unique circumstances.” 

The maximum entry age for Asteron Life Trauma cover will also be extended to age 70. 

Bartlett said that providing a valuable Trauma cover that would create great outcomes for customers was a big focus for the insurer. 

“Trauma cover is one of the most valuable products for our customers at claim time,” she says.  

“As well as updating the entry and expiry ages, we have also made changes to the definitions for some conditions, including the updated cerebral aneurysm definition being a direct result of compelling customer feedback.” 

In 2018, Asteron Life released its Continuous trauma benefit, which remains the only benefit of its kind in the market in New Zealand. Continuous Trauma is an optional benefit which gives customers Trauma cover that they can claim on up to three times for unrelated events, even immediately after they have made a claim.  

“With things like Continuous Trauma and our latest enhancements, we’re working to create a robust Trauma that will give customers peace of mind over the long term, and improve the ability of customers to make a claim when they need to.” 

The changes to the expiry age take effect this week, and existing Trauma policyholders’ expiry ages will be automatically extended. 

As well as changes to its Trauma product, Asteron Life has released a number of other product enhancements including: 

  • Adding premium holiday benefit and premium and cover suspension to business insurance policies 
  • Adding a new lump sum specific injury benefit 
  • Making changes to its Major Trauma ratios 
  • Changing the definitions for seven conditions in its Trauma policies for new and existing customers back to 2004 
  • Updating policy wordings for various benefits including grief support and financial planning 

These and a suite of other changes are live in Asteron Life’s system this week.” Click here to read more

We will keep our users on Quotemonster in the loop as to when these ratings will be made available on our quoting platform. 

Please feel free to send through any information or feedback to info@quotemonster.co.nz 

 

In other news:

Financial Advice: Katrina Skanks had a global meeting with Financial Planning Standards Board, to plan for the World Financial Planning Day

FSC: ReGenerations Reimagined will begin 19 October. All ticketholders will be given all access passes for the new schedule

AIA: adviser wellbeing research closes on 10 October

FMA: FMA appoints Karen Chang as Acting General Counsel


Partners Life underwriting process updates, and more daily news

Partners Life has announced that there will be several changes made to the underwriting process from 27 September. The updates include the removal of certain requirements for large sums assured cases, changes to Monthly Disability non-medical limits and Trauma Cover non-medical limits, making questionnaires available on MyPartnersLife, and making the latest Adviser Underwriting Guide available on MyPartnersLife.

“The following changes were implemented into our systems over the weekend, and are effective today, Monday 27 September 2021:

Removal of some requirements for large sums assured cases
We have reflected on what value each of our limit requirements give to us, and have identified that a number have rarely affected the outcomes in the past. As such, we have removed the following from our standard limits requirements:

  • Resting ECG’s. This means that the Code C Medical Examination is no longer required to be completed by a Senior Physician, and a GP medical will now be sent in its place
     
  • HIV and Hepatitis C blood tests from Code B blood tests
     
  • HIV, Hepatitis C, Full Blood Count and ESR blood tests for Code C and above, where Life Cover does not exceed $5,000,000 and TPD Cover does not exceed $3,000,000

Changes to Monthly Disability non-medical limits
We have reflected on our non-medical limit sums assured for monthly disability cover, and have heard your comments around clients issuing cover at either $7,999 per month or $14,999 per month.  As such, we have changed the limits by $1 as a quality of life change, so you can now issue up to $8,000 per month on the personal statement only and between $8,001 and $15,000 per month with an additional Code B blood test and PMAR.

Changes to Trauma Cover non-medical limits
Previously our guidelines considered industrywide standalone Trauma Cover, while the rest of our non-medical limits only considered the risk held by Partners Life. We have updated this to now reflect all Trauma risk held by Partners Life, and have increased the non-medical limit from $1,500,000 to $2,000,000.

Questionnaires available on MyPartnersLife
Historically when clients have had to provide additional disclosure after you have submitted an application, our underwriting team has requested relevant questionnaires be completed from the application form.

With the continued growth in MUM, we recognise the use of our paper application form is fast becoming a thing of the past. As such, we have digitised all of the manual application form questionnaires, which are now available on MyPartnersLife’s forms section.

Adviser Underwriting Guide
We are also pleased to advise that the latest version of our Adviser Underwriting Guideline is available on MyPartnersLife. This updated guide incorporates all changes to our product offerings made since March 2020, including the addition of our new Moderate Trauma Cover and Income and Expense Cover. It also reflects the updated non-medical limit requirements indicated above.”

In other news

Asteron Life: Feedback improves Asteron's trauma cover

From. Good returns: [The Wrap] It's time to check in on advisers' wellbeing

AIA:

GRTV Adam and Sam.mp4 from Good Returns TV on Vimeo.


Industry awards finalists revealed, and more daily news

The Life Insurance Company of the Year award finalists for the 9th Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance awards were recently announced. Finalists include AIA, Asteron Life, and Fidelity Life. Additionally, Amy Cavanaugh, Pinnacle Life General Manager Operations and Len Elikhis, AIA Chief Officer - Product and Vitality are among the finalists for Young Insurance Professional of the Year award. Click here to read more

“The top New Zealand insurers will have their time to shine at the upcoming awards hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF).

This year will mark the 9th year of the awards that aim to "...unite all sectors of insurance for a celebration of excellence, professionalism and community".

The finalists were announced this week with Fidelity Life up against Asteron Life and AIA NZ for the top life insurer award.

The 2019 awards also saw Fidelity Life's Ben Holloway win the gong for the young insurance professional of the year.

This year, Pinnacle Life's Amy Cavanaugh and AIA NZ's Len Elikhis are two of seven young professionals nominated for the award.

"This year’s awards are centred around 2020, celebrating how our industry has supported the customer, community, and its people," the ANZIIF says.

The judging panel will explore how organisations or individuals have contributed to professionalism in the insurance industry and how they have successfully addressed issues by implementing innovative change.

The ANZIIF expects more than 400 of the industry’s top professionals spanning the breadth of New Zealand insurance to attend the awards being held at the Cordis in Auckland on Wednesday, November 17.

2021 ANZIIF New Zealand Insurance Industry Awards finalists:

Life insurance company of the year:
- AIA New Zealand
- Asteron Life
- Fidelity Life

Insurance learning programme of the year:
- AA Insurance
- AIG New Zealand

Young insurance professional of the year:
- Stephen Cantwell, FMG
- Amy Cavanaugh, Pinnacle Life
- Len Elikhis, AIA New Zealand
- Joseph Fitzgerald, Wotton + Kearney
- Steph Kelly, FMG
- Daniel Mathieson, Sherpa
- Megan Wolak, Delta Insurance

ANZIIF lifetime achievement award: Announced on the night”

Amy Cavanaugh:

Lo-amy-clr

Len Elikhis:

Aia-elt-len-elikhis

 

In other news

From Good returns: Life cover - the hard sell for Kiwi insurers

Swiss Re: How much more life insurance needs to be sold

From Good returns: Full licensing - what does it look like?


FYI: Asteron Life - Trauma Reinstatement replaces Continuous Trauma

Following on from our post on the release of Database V14.5 – a significant change we have made to Quotemonster is replacing Asteron's Continuous Trauma with Trauma Reinstatement for the Trauma Buyback option.

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This will mean that you can no longer quote Continuous Trauma however we are exploring options on how to integrate both in future. To learn more about Asteron's Trauma product please click here. Please free to email us on info@quotemonster.co.nz if you have any questions or comments.

Happy Crunching!

 
 

AIA offer one-month free premium, and more daily news

AIA NZ has announced that customers with qualifying new policies will have the first month’s premium waived. The one-month free premium is designed to offer advisers and customers support during the lockdown. AIA has noted that they understand that COVID-19 lockdowns can be a challenging time for advisers as their ability to meet new customers is limited. Additionally, AIA is offering to cover the cost of specialist appointments e-consultations for customers with health policies. The Health Screen service is now offered as a tele-consultation. To support new business demands AIA will develop the tele-underwriting service to include more conditions.

“AIA NZ has announced it will waiver the first month’s premium on qualifying new policies, as a way to support both advisers and customers during the current NZ COVID-19 outbreak.

“We know from past experience COVID-19 lockdowns can be challenging for our advisers, as it limits opportunities for them to meet with new clients. We wanted to quickly get an offer in market that will support all our advisers to continue to do business during this tough time,” says Nick Stanhope, CEO AIA NZ.

The offer applies to any new eligible AIA policy placed between 1 September 2021 and 31 October 2021, and eligible customers will automatically be credited with one month’s premium on new policies.

While the offer has been made to support advisers in the current COVID climate, Stanhope says it’s also about helping get more Kiwis covered.

“We all know the important part the insurance industry plays in addressing the sustainability challenges our communities face. Life and health insurance provides people with peace of mind, knowing that they are protecting themselves and their families against life's uncertainties. With rising consumer debt and increased cost of living, it's now more important than ever for Kiwis to review their insurance needs, to ensure they are adequately protected for the future.

“At AIA we want to help more Kiwis best protect themselves and their loved ones, and to support them in leading Healthier, Longer, Better Lives,” Stanhope says.

To find out more about the new business offer, please click here.

To further support advisers and their customers in the current COVID climate, AIA NZ is covering the cost for e-consultations needed for specialist appointments under health policies, as many customers cannot attend regular in-person appointments. AIA’s unique Health Screen service has also moved to a tele-consultation service to continue to provide an efficient medical service for customers.

AIA NZ already underwrite a number of conditions via tele-underwriting, and this service will continue to be delivered and expanded to support new business demands. The insurer has stated they are taking a pragmatic approach to evidence of medical requirements for ongoing income protection claims, and are looking for alternative ways to support customers unable to certify documents during COVID Alert Levels for lump sum products. Click here to read more

In other news

AIA: AIA offering AIA Vitality customers 1,000 points for getting both COVID-19 vaccinations. Customers will need submit proof of attendance and completed proof of vaccination via the AIA Vitality app

Asteron Life: Asteron offers Best Doctors package to advisers

Partners Life: COVID-19 premium relief update

Partners Life: adviser support programme

RBNZ: Reserve Bank deputy on the move

Russell's piece in Good returns: Taking care of your team in lock down


Income protection concerns for the self-employed and other daily news

In the UK, where the gig economy is more developed than it is here, policy makers are worried that varieties of social protections designed for full-time employment are not going to work so well in the 2st century labour market. These include pensions (to us, superannuation), holidays, and insurance. Income protection in particular is under the spotlight because, at the same time as self-employment is growing rapidly, it seems that income protection is shrinking rapidly. Income cover has become more and more restrictive for the self-employed as insurers have grappled with long-term claims with hard-to-pin-down signs and symptoms. This sounds familiar. In fact, it sounds like our future if the APRA changes mandated to ensure the sustainability of income protection eventually end up being adopted here. The essence of the problems with income protection for the self employed is a lack of flexibility in the product. That is exactly what insurers are struggling with too. If both want more flexibility it looks like there is room for a new kind of IP product for the self-employed. 

Other daily news

Fidelity Life rolled out August Lockdown mix-tape on Spotify – some fun and simple initiatives for people working from home. Link here: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/fidelity-life-company-ltd_august-lockdown-mix-tape-activity-6836487685444636672-OcWj

Fidelity Life has advertised a new role for Head of Risk and Operational Compliance. More info and the Seek.co.nz link here: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/angelareddy_head-of-risk-operational-compliance-job-activity-6835715862239031296-rVZJ

Asteron Life providing product innovation by listening to customers and advisers. Link here: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/asteron-life-limited_asteron-life-supporters-for-life-activity-6836047658919055361-Y_3g

Stuff published a handy guide to the interaction between ACC, health insurance, and harm if you get an allergic reaction to the vaccine against COVID-19 (a very rare eventuality, but there are some instances of this). Essentially, you are covered by ACC and your personal health insurance is unaffected. Link


Asteron Life financial performance, and more daily news

Suncorp NZ has reported that Asteron Life has achieved a profit after tax of $38 million in the year to June. This figure is down $2 million when compared to the same period last year. The financial outcome has been credited to improved claims experience, although interest rate market adjustments impacted the results. Additionally, there was a 4.0% increase for in-force premium as a result of new business growth and retention rates. Asteron Life has credited financial advisers for the $2 million increase in new business growth. CEO Jimmy  Higgins has said Asteron Life’s flexible products and adviser and customer focus during COVID-19 was recognised by advisers for delivering good customer outcomes.

“The New Zealand life insurance business delivered profit after tax of $38 million, down $2 million on the prior corresponding period.

The strong underlying performance was driven by improved claims experience but offset by unfavourable market adjustments as a result a rising interest rate environment. The in-force premium growth of 4.0% was driven by new business growth and strong retention rates.

New business was $2 million higher than the pcp, mainly due to increased business through independent financial advisors.

Higgins says that Asteron Life’s focus on supporting advisers and customers through Covid-19, and its suite of innovative and highly flexible products, were being recognised by advisers as a strong choice for delivering good customer outcomes.” Click here to read more

In other news

From Insurance business mag: Why insurance businesses should do regular customer testing

Swiss Re: Reinsurance companies “to drive and enable innovation”

From NZ Herald: Crime in the City: Victim of random, violent attack in Auckland's CBD on year-long road to recovery

Financial Advice NZ: Time to review your professional development plan and stay compliant in the new regime


FYI: How to quote Severe Trauma on Quotemonster

There are three insurers that currently offer Severe Trauma in their Product Suite – AIA (Progressive Care), Asteron (Major Trauma) and Partners Life (Severe Trauma)

For further information on each please click on the product below:   

To quote this on Quotemonster, simply select Accelerated or Standalone Trauma and click the “Severe Trauma” box below the cover amount

Here are some options on how to quote:

1. You can split the amount between standard Trauma and Severe Trauma to generate a quote for all three insurers

First

2. As a work around to the above, you can add $1 into the Cover Amount for standard Trauma and the full amount for Severe Trauma

Only two insurers will generate a comparision in this case as Asteron requires a minimum sum insured of $5,000 for their standard Trauma

One

3. By splitting the cover amount, you can generate a quote that contains both AIAs' Critical Conditions Cover and Progressive Care

Progress and CC

This method allows us to compare a premium and rating for Severe Trauma on Quotemonster, however if you have any feedback, please feel free to send this through to info@quotemonster.co.nz


RBNZ announce insurer Solvency Standard consultation

The Reserve Bank has announced that a consultation will be opened until 1 October 2021 for the interim standard that considers upcoming changes to accounting rules (IFRS 17). The feedback will be incorporated into the current solvency standards. Changes will be made effective at the beginning of 2022. The started is intended to assure policyholders that insurers will be financially capable of meeting promises. Geoff Bascand, RBNZ deputy governor and financial stability general manager, has said that RBNZ will work to understand the capital impact on insurers through further analysis via an industry consultation.

“The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) is asking for feedback saying the interim standard is needed to take account of upcoming changes to accounting rules (IFRS 17) and to incorporate feedback into its current solvency standards.

The Interim Solvency Standard consultation will be open for 10 weeks until October 1, 2021, will take effect from early 2022 and be in force for around three years.

The standard has been designed so policyholders can be comfortable that an insurance company has enough funds to meet its promises to policyholders, even if it fails, RBNZ deputy governor and financial stability general manager Geoff Bascand says.

“Through our review of the standard, we have modified some of the ways that we require insurers to calculate their capital needs. This is to ensure greater consistency and clarity in our requirements and to deal with new accounting standards for the insurance industry,” Bascand says.

“This will bring our method for capturing risks into line with international standards. We will undertake further analysis, in consultation with the industry, as we are keen to understand the capital impact on insurers. We strongly encourage them to engage with the consultation.” Click here to read more

 

In other news

From Insurance Business Mag: How long does it take to get a Level 5 certificate?

nib: Underwriting delays for nib special offer

Partners Life: Naomi Ballantyne will be addressing Women in Insurance Summit 2021 attendees with her “Leadership in the 21st century,” presentation

Asteron Life: Claire Sutton will be a featured speaker at the Women in Insurance Summit 2021

nib: Rob Hennin will be a featured speaker at the Women in Insurance Summit 2021

AIA: Brynlea Hunter-Morpeth will be a featured speaker at the Women in Insurance Summit 2021