Southern Cross launches Cancer Cover Plus, and more daily news

Southern Cross has announced the launch of Cancer Cover Plus. The new cover is intended to give members broader chemotherapy options. Cancer Cover Plus will give members the option to upgrade to Chemotherapy 100, which has a benefit limit of $100,000 or Chemotherapy 300 which has a benefit limit of $300,000. Additionally, members will have the choice to access non-Pharmac cancer drugs.

“Southern Cross Health Insurance (SCHI) is launching competitive cancer care cover to give members more choice when it comes to chemotherapy, including increased access to cancer drugs not subsidised by Pharmac.

SCHI’s new Cancer Cover Plus has two optional upgrades - Chemotherapy 100 (benefit limit of $100,000) and Chemotherapy 300 (benefit limit of $300,000) – to help members during their cancer treatment journey. This covers the cost of Pharmac and non-Pharmac, Medsafe indicated chemotherapy drugs and their administration for the treatment of cancer.”

Nick Astwick has said that the new cover has been designed with the needs of members in mind. Cancer Cover Plus has been developed to complement the unlimited surgical and radiotherapy benefits. Astwick notes that the cover was created so more New Zealanders have faster and more access to affordable cancer treatment options.

“We understand that a cancer diagnosis, or the fear of one, can be scary for people so we wanted to give members peace of mind by providing them with more cancer cover options.

 

“We have developed them to complement the unlimited surgical and radiotherapy benefits we offer in most of our plans, and this will help to provide a comprehensive package to the vast majority of our members who have these products and also tell us their main concern is cancer care,” he said.

 

The Southern Cross Healthy Futures Report 2020 revealed that 79 per cent of New Zealanders are concerned about not having access to cancer treatment services and 59 per cent are worried about experiencing or developing an illness or disease.

 

“Not all cancer drugs are funded by Pharmac which makes them unaffordable for many people. We created this new cancer cover so Kiwis could have faster access and more treatment options to receive potentially lifesaving chemotherapy drugs if they need to,” said Astwick.” 

In other news:

At goodreturns: Adviser consultancy firms say full licensing provisions bring mandate for change

From Partners Life: Do your self-employed clients have the right income cover? 


Core services focus by banks sees them exit insurance

Current economic conditions are accelerating a recent trend in banking - a focus on core services - as evidence, we offer this series of announcements:

Alongside this, traditional branch services are being cut or slimmed down. This shift to digital was given a further shove by lockdowns so the time is right to re-appraise the value of each branch in the network. In addition to that, the value of each service in the branch is being reconsidered as well. With the decision by ANZ to withdraw from offering cash foreign exchange services being announced: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/123131192/anz-to-stop-offering-foreign-currency-citing-drop-in-demand-due-to-covid19 

Although perhaps this is not just about economic conditions, but also competitive ones. Digital disruption is coming to the world of banking. A slew of online and consumer lenders has been grabbing attention (and high valuations) on the ASX. More challengers are likely to come. This is prompting a strategic rethink by several banks. The regulatory environment is shifting as well, creating more space for the change:


FSC Generations Journalists Panel

Interesting to hear the journalists panel talk at the FSC conference. Lots of commentary on the election campaign, less that is directly relevant to the financial services sector, but some big themes looming in the background: tax cuts and debt.

This contrasted significantly with the interview with James Shaw, Co-leader of the Green Party that had a lot of discussion of the proposed law to require reporting on assets that can be affected by climate change. That is immediately relevant to every fund manager and insurers. As an investor I am interested - it can be difficult to understand possible exposure clearly in many companies, let alone funds that invest widely. It is a valid criticism of investing through index trackers that you are bound to buy a bunch of shares in industries that we know will suffer a lot of disruption over the next couple of decades.

After James Shaw, we had Emma Mellow, candidate for Auckland Central for the National Party. Emma is someone I have worked with through FSC conference committee. Her background, work ethic, and practical focus on what matters are clearly excellent. I live in the Northcote electorate, but if I did live in Auckland Central I know that I would have a great representative in Emma Mellow if she were elected. 

Journalists Panel October 15 FSC Conference


FSC Generations: Accelerating the customer agenda. What needs to be true?

Session title

Accelerating the customer agenda. What needs to be true?

FSC Generations conference - 3.30pm on Tuesday 13 October. 

Session content

The customer agenda isn’t going away. If anything, relative to other industries and global practices, New Zealand’s insurance industry is facing into expectation and experience headwinds that will test even the most imaginative. So how can the industry step up to the plate and deliver meaningful strides forward? Is it necessary even? Or are we already doing enough in the shadow of the FMA’s thematic review?

This year’s panellists:

  • Gail Costa, Chief Executive Officer, Cigna Life NZ

Gail has led the Cigna New Zealand team through a period of growth and change since returning home in 2018. With over 18 years of executive experience with the company, Gail has held CEO positions in Turkey, Hong Kong and Europe. She also led the New Zealand business from 2003-2013.

Prior to joining Cigna, Gail was the General Manager Operations for Royal Sun Alliance Life Insurance. She has also held finance, marketing and operational positions at Colonial Mutual Life, New Zealand Council for Educational Research and AMEV Life. Gail is a qualified accountant and holds a bachelor degree in Commerce and Administration from Victoria University and a Diploma in Direct Marketing from the Institute of Direct Marketing, London, UK.

  • Nick Stanhope, CEO, AIA

As CEO for AIA New Zealand, Nick is proud to lead a passionate team of over 1000 people with the goal of making New Zealand one of the healthiest and most protected nations in the world. With over 28 years of experience in the financial services sector, Nick has held a diverse range of senior leadership roles in New Zealand. Nick was most recently CEO of Sovereign for two years. Prior to this, Nick held a variety of senior leadership roles at ASB Bank Limited. These included Executive General Manager of Wealth & Insurance and other key roles across business banking, retail specialist services and corporate banking. At the beginning of his career, Nick spent seven years at NCR Corporation, including three years with AT&T. Nick has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and is a Board Member of the Financial Services Council of New Zealand. Born and raised in Auckland, Nick is married with two daughters. He is passionate about health and wellbeing, and in his spare time is a keen cyclist and gym goer. He has also competed in triathlons and Ironman events.

  • Don Allerston, Financial Services Executive

Don describes himself  as a customer first thinker - before it became fashionable; the result of over 28 years’ experience in and about the industry both on and off-shore. Indeed, far from being institutionalised as a result of his time in financial services, Don has chosen instead to constructively disturb our space for what he sees as the continuing need to press for experience-first change beyond traditional perspectives.

Prior to spending 8 years on the Asteron Life and Fidelity Life executive teams, Don has occupied senior roles with some overseas blue-chip organisations including AMP UK Financial Services, British Airways, AXA and Royal and Sun Alliance. A self-confessed ‘overseas souvenir’, Don married his Kiwi partner in Wellington back in 2005 before migrating from the UK in 2010. He became a New Zealand citizen in 2016.

  • Russell Hutchinson, Principal, Chatswood Consulting

Russell Hutchinson, is a director at Chatswood Consulting Limited and runs the management consultancy. Russell is also a co-founder and director of Quality Product Research the company that runs www.quotemonster.co.nz. Through extensive domain knowledge of the marketing challenges for life and health insurance lines of business

Chatswood offers specialist management consulting business for insurers and larger adviser businesses. Russell believes that good decisions are built on good information and good options. His work includes product development, distribution strategy, advice process, and digital projects. Russell writes regularly on industry issues at www.goodreturns.co.nz, in Asset magazine, and at www.Chatswood.co.nz on personal insurance products and wider financial services sector issues.

  • Mark Banicevich, Industry Engagement Manager, Partners Life

Mark is Industry Engagement Manager at Partners Life, and his role includes developing strategies to help financial advisers transition to the forthcoming advice regime. Previously, Mark worked in intelligence at the Financial Markets Authority, where he drove the project reviewing replacement business in life insurance, which won an innovation award from the NZ Institute of Intelligence Professionals. Mark also teaches strategic management accounting at The University of Auckland Business School, and runs an International Taekwon-Do school.

Why you would attend

The line-up of panellists provides professionals in the industry the opportunity to gain a better understanding of potential changes needed to stride as far forward as possible in the future to withstand any challenges or do they believe we are already doing enough.

Benefits of attending:

  1. Independent industry expert insights
  2. A look into the future of insurance in New Zealand
  3. Discover if we as an industry are doing enough based on the FMA’s thematic review

FSC Generations: Professional Advice - Get In Shape: The Next Bite of the Apple, supported by Chatswood Consulting

Chatswood Consulting is pleased to support the FSC's Generations conference and the professional advice session in particular. In a time of great transition, why not meet with the decision makers of the regulatory change?

This year’s panelists

  • Sharon Corbett, Manager Financial Markets, MBIE

Sharon manages the financial markets policy team at MBIE. She has been leading the Ministry's team amending New Zealand's financial advice legislation since the review commenced in 2014

  • John Botica, Director of Market Engagement, FMA

John Botica is the Director of Market Engagement at Financial Markets Authority. John is an experienced senior executive, director and consultant in the financial services industry. He was co-founder of the Assure NZ Group, Managing Director at Guardian Trust and General Manager Wealth Management at AXA

  • Angus Dale-Jones, Chair, Code Working Group

Angus is the Chair of the Code Working Group and is a chartered accountant and former financial services regulator in Australia and NZ. Angus runs a conduct, compliance and regulatory strategy consultancy

  • Derek Grantham, Principal Consultant, FMA

Derek works directly with the Director of Market Engagement, and has successfully represented the FMA at numerous industry events, often as a speaker or panelist. This has helped build effective relationships between the regulator and market participants and presented the FMA as a modern and approachable regulator. He is passionate about engaging with the financial sector to ensure that New Zealand financial markets remain transparent and fair.

Why you would attend

In this time of change, some may feel overwhelmed, some may be looking for further insight and guidance while others may want reassurance that they have made the best possible choice for their adviser business.

The FMA recently reported that over seven thousand advisers are associated with transitional licenses and that two thousand advisers are yet to apply.  Hear directly from Director of Market Engagement, John Botica and Principal Consultant Derek Grantham from the FMA on all that you need to know about transitional licenses. Sharon Corbett, Manager Financial Markets at MBIE and Angus Dale-Jones, Code Working Group Chair, will be part of the panel to share their insights.

The line-up of panelists provides any advice professional the opportunity to gain a better understanding of different aspects relating to transitional licenses.

Benefits of attending

  1. Hear directly from the regulator
  2. Independent industry expert insights
  3. Your licensing questions answered

How to attend

Find out more about the programme and how to register at this link.

Learn more about structuring your adviser business for the new regime

If you want an unbiased view on the right next steps from a structuring point of view, do contact us, we are happy to engage with your preferred compliance consultants to bring an industry and environmental context to your decision, or recommend either of our preferred consultants to help you make that choice. 


AIA initiative to combat underinsurance, and more daily news

AIA has announced that eligible policies allow customers to pay it forward by gifting life insurance.  In a study commissioned by AIA, it was found that New Zealanders are underinsured and rank poorly when compared to other OECD countries as they often don’t want to think about death and the financial implications of dying on loved ones.

“New eligible AIA policies come with the option to gift life insurance to a loved one

New independent research commissioned by life, health and wellbeing insurer AIA New Zealand highlights some of the reasons why New Zealand ranks near the bottom of OECD countries  when it comes to insurance protection.

The research reveals more than a third of Kiwis don’t want to think about the idea of dying and haven’t considered the financial impact it would have on their family.

Two thirds of those surveyed said that they’d never had a conversation with family about life insurance when they were growing up and one third 4 said that they don’t understand the benefits of life insurance. More than half 5 have never tackled the topic of what would happen to their finances if they were unable to work due to death, serious illness, or injury.”

Nick Stanhope, AIA NZ CEO, said that New Zealanders need to plan for the future. To help encourage the discussion and planning process AIA has announced the introduction of the Share the Love initiative. The initiative will run from 28 September 2020 and 28 February 2021 and will allow customers to gift a six-month $50,000 policy for free.

Nick Stanhope, AIA New Zealand Chief Executive, says New Zealanders need to become more comfortable with planning for their future and with having conversations about financial protection.

“Our research shows that New Zealanders generally don’t like to think or talk about these difficult but necessary topics. When it comes to protecting our finances and wellbeing our lack of financial planning is leaving us behind most other OECD countries.”

“At AIA, we want to make it easier for New Zealanders to have a conversation about why life insurance is important. It’s why we’re encouraging all new eligible policy holders to Share the Love.”

AIA’s Share the Love is a first-of-its-kind initiative in New Zealand where new policy holders are encouraged to gift a free six-month $50,000 policy to a loved one." Click here to read more

In other news

Financial Advice: Bring in the Experts: Unlocking the Code in the New Financial Advice Regime - Part 2

Financial Advice: Special General Election Debate - 2020 Election Economic Debate

FSC: Get In Shape Webinar Series: Session 10 - Privacy - Reviewing your obligations under the Privacy Act


Legal and regulatory review for the life and health insurance sector

28 Sept 2020 – Council of Financial Regulators published an updated table of deferred regulatory initiatives due to COVID-19, originally issued in April 2020. https://www.fma.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/CoFR-Timetable-of-Regulatory-initiatives-September-2020.pdf

28 Sept 2020 – The Ombudsman released the results of a survey on access to government information. https://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/news/ombudsman-releases-access-government-information-survey

The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier says too many New Zealanders are still unaware of their rights to request information from Ministers, government agencies, and councils despite a growing thirst for information by the public.

The release of the data coincides with International Access to Information Day 2020 which acknowledges the importance of access to information laws and the community’s right to know.

28 Sept 2020 – The Privacy Commissioner released the submission completed to the Ministry of Justice on n New Zealand accession to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. https://www.privacy.org.nz/assets/2020-09-21-OPC-Submission-on-public-consultation-re-Budapest-Convention-A709592.pdf


New Zealand’s population nears 5.1 million

Stats NZ announce that population growth appears to have accelerated. 

New Zealand’s estimated resident population reached 5,084,300 at 30 June 2020, Stats NZ said today.

These are the first population estimates to fully incorporate the 2018 Census and 2018 Post-enumeration survey (PES) results.

"One of the purposes of running a census is to recalibrate national and subnational population estimates," population insights senior manager Brooke Theyers said.

"The census coverage results from the 2018 PES, also released today, are crucial to ensure the population estimates are the best possible measure of how many people live in every community across New Zealand."

This is a normal revision of population estimates that takes place after census and PES results are available. Estimates back to 2013 have now been revised. Estimates after 30 June 2018 now use the 2018-base estimated resident population as the starting-point.

New Zealand's resident population based on the 2018 Census is estimated to be 4,900,600 at 30 June 2018. This is higher by 60,000 than the previous estimate at that date. The population is estimated to have eclipsed 5 million in September 2019. Provisional estimates initially indicated the milestone was reached in March 2020 (see New Zealand’s population passes 5 million).

"The updated estimates confirm that the growth of New Zealand's population has been relatively high, averaging 1.9 percent a year in the 7 years ended June 2020," Mrs Theyers said.

"Growth in the previous 20 years averaged 1.1 percent a year."

The higher population growth since 2013 was driven by net migration (migrant arrivals minus migrant departures), which contributed two-thirds of the growth, or an average of 56,000 a year. Natural increase (births minus deaths) contributed the remaining one-third, or an average of 27,500 a year.

In updating market dynamics for modelling future opportunities the normally resident population is the defining variable for the boundary of the market. Growth means we expect added opportunity for insurers, although we look for that in the working age population sub-segment.

Two charts illustrate the growth: 

Annual population change
Annual population change

 

 


Southern Cross experience a surplus, and more daily news

Southern Cross has reported a surplus of $32.4 million for the year ended 30 June 2020. This financial reporting comes after the $50 million return to members. $972 million was returned in claims in the last financial year, this equals to 85 cents in claims being returned for every dollar received in premiums.

“Southern Cross Health Society Group has today released its annual financial results, posting a surplus of $32.4 million for the year ended 30 June 2020.

The announcement follows Southern Cross Health Society’s pledge during the Level Four lockdown in April to return $50 million to its members.

In the last financial year, the Society returned $972 million in claims and received $1.138 billion in premiums.

For each dollar received in premiums, it returned 85 cents in claims to members, compared with an average of 62 cents in the dollar among other New Zealand health insurers.”

“The business paid out 72 per cent of all private health insurance claims, significantly more than its 62 per cent market share based on Health Funds Association of New Zealand data.

Nick Astwick said that Southern Cross was focused on members during the last financial year. This included pledging to return $50 million, setting up employees to effectively working from home and ensuring the business digitisation process is on track.

Chief Executive Nick Astwick said the Society’s focus during the last financial year was on taking care of its members: “We were with our members from the start of the pandemic, returning $50 million to them, and introducing a significant range of options for those in need of hardship relief.

“At the same time, our workforce was very quickly set up to work remotely, ensuring service levels were seamlessly maintained.”

Astwick said cost-saving digitisation of the business had continued at pace, with 82 per cent of customer channels now fully digitised, and more than 96 per cent of claims submitted digitally.” Click here to read more

In other news

Southern Cross: Woman who lives in fear of jaw dislocation determined to get replacement

Southern Cross: Southern Cross gives support to students' mental health programme

AIA: Depressed man wins $173,000 battle with insurer AIA - there will be more discussion of media claims coverage in the forthcoming quarterly life and health sector report.