Stats NZ update data collection approach relating to sex and gender

Stats NZ has revealed that after conducting an extensive public consultation there will be a change to the statistical standard relating to how gender, sex and variations of sex characteristics data is collected and reported. The new standard will ensure that definitions and measures are consistent and that they are inclusive of the transgender and intersex population. Stats NZ has also revealed that the collection and reporting approach is based around a human rights approach.

“An updated statistical standard will inform how agencies collect and report information on gender, sex, and variations of sex characteristics, Stats NZ said today. 

The refreshed standard makes definitions and measures consistent, provides guidance for collecting transgender and intersex population data, and is grounded in a human rights approach. 

“It’s important we collect data in an inclusive way, and our process for developing the updated standard reflects this. The refresh has involved extensive public consultation, input from government agencies, international peers, and the support of subject matter experts,’’ Government Statistician and Chief Executive Mark Sowden said.” 

Advisers and insurers also collect sex and gender information. It would be good to see the same standard applied in order to allow data sets to be compared effectively. A graphic from the Statistics NZ guide is shown below to illustrate how to ask the relevant questions. It seems that for the purposes of insurance data collection the approach recommended is to ask sex as assigned at birth and also then to ask gender (as shown in the third part of step three). When underwriting cover, however, identification of intersex variations would appear to be important. Moving these from the health questionnaire to the part of the application where sex and gender questions are asked would help some respondents a great deal. This is illustrated by the additional questions suggested in step three below.  Statistics NZ Guide to collecting gender sex and variations 2021-04-29 143507
 

 
Visit our website to read this news story and the updated standard:


Cigna maintains AM Best financial rating, and more daily news

Cigna New Zealand has maintained a Financial Strength Rating of A and a Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of A. Mark Schollum, Cigna Chief Financial Officer, has commented on the results saying that Cigna is pleased that the ratings haven’t changed. Schollum continued by saying that the unchanged rating is an indication of Cigna’s financial standing, business sustainability and strong global backing. Schollum has also noted that Cigna’s confidence should reassure financial advisers and customers during this climate. AM Best has highlighted that Cigna’s financial and operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM all contributed to the rating assessment.

“Cigna's Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a” with stable outlooks, remains unchanged from last year's assessment.

Cigna New Zealand chief financial officer Mark Schollum says Cigna is pleased the rating has remained unchanged.

“This is confirmation of Cigna’s strong balance sheet, the underlying long-term sustainability of our business and our strong global backing,” Schollum says.

“At Cigna, we’re committed to being here for our customers not only now but in the long-term. Having this continued confidence in our business should be reassuring to our advisers and customers in these uncertain times.”

AM Best is a United States-based global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry.

In its rating report, AM Best states, "Cigna has strong earnings and dividends from the group’s insurance entities".

"These have helped bolster holding company metrics, such as interest coverage and reduction of outstanding debt...and Cigna’s insurance subsidiaries have consistently provided cash flow upstream in the form of dividends, which have been growing each of the past two years, given favourable operating results.

"Cigna Life & Health Group reported strong earnings again in 2020, supported by lower utilization in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the organization also consistently reporting strong double-digit profitability ratios," the report states.

AM Best goes on to say the ratings of Cigna Life Insurance New Zealand Limited (CLINZ) "reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM.

"Furthermore, the ratings of CLINZ factor in rating enhancement from the Cigna group. This reflects integration and ownership from Cigna group and AM Best’s expectation that the group would provide capital support if required.”

“CLINZ ranks among the largest life insurance companies in New Zealand, benefiting from a multichannel distribution approach. While the company accounts for a small component of the Cigna group’s consolidated revenues and earnings, it is viewed as significant to the group’s operations in the Asia-Pacific region." Click here to read more

In other news

From Good returns: Have you been thinking enough about qualifications?

From Insurance Business Mag: New Zealand – Australia travel bubble to begin on April 19

From Insurance Business Mag: Why insurance needs to focus on ethnic and cultural diversity


Quotemonster Chatswood Team

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This is your Quotemonster and Chatswood work team: I am so proud to work with such a great group of people. They have worked incredibly hard over the last few weeks as we had to make a lot of changes to meet new requirements for customers by 15 March. Since then we’ve trained hundreds of clients in updated processes. It has been so very busy and the team has stepped up.
 
From left to right, back row first: Melissa Waddel, our super new administrator; Treena Jordan, new Quotemonster GM, who starts with us on the 12th - we’re really looking forward to Treena joining us; Jerusalem Hibru who has been doing some great marketing work making us busier than ever. Doreen Dutt, researcher, who has also been so supportive of all the extra client calls for help. Kelly Pulham, who has been crucial to all the extra training and changes we’ve been doing. Fran, of course, who as well as business analyst and data work has taken on more leadership responsibility.
 
Front row, Rob Dowler compliance support and advice extraordinaire; yours truly; Ed Foster, does great data science work, and Albert Liu who is also an accomplished data scientist and IT leader. It has been so busy but working with this crew is a real privilege. We have big plans and lots of exciting stuff coming up. 

RBNZ publish guide for building cyber resilience, and more daily news

RBNZ recently published a guide on how to build cyber resilience. Deputy Governor and General Manager of Financial Stability Geoff Bascand noted that the cyber space has been identified as a significant source of operational risk for financial institutions. The guideline focuses on what RBNZ’s expectations are and uses material from national and international cybersecurity standards. Bascand announced that a draft guideline has been published and is open for feedback. 

“The Reserve Bank – Te Pūtea Matua is today releasing draft guidance on what regulated entities should consider when managing cyber resilience.

The cyber world has long been recognised as a significant source of operational risk for financial institutions, Deputy Governor and General Manager of Financial Stability Geoff Bascand says.

The draft guidance, which is open for feedback, outlines the Reserve Bank’s expectations around cyber resilience, and draws heavily from leading international and national cybersecurity standards and guidelines.

“As cyber risk continues to rise, there is growing awareness that cyber incidents could present risks to the stability of the entire financial system. Improving cyber resilience has become a key priority for prudential regulators around the world,” Mr Bascand says.”

RBNZ is set to run the consultation until 29 January 2021 as they believe the management of cyber resilience is a shared responsibility. The guideline works around related publications from other official agencies. After the 14 weeklong consultation period, RBNZ will release the final guideline.

“We recognise that managing cyber resilience is a shared responsibility and that it is important to collaborate and coordinate with all relevant stakeholders. The proposed guidance and our information collection plans have been designed to complement the work of other government agencies with a direct interest in promoting cyber resilience in the financial sector – including the Financial Markets Authority, the National Cyber Security Centre and the Computer Emergency Response Team.”

The consultation is open for 14 weeks and closes on 29 January 2021. The Reserve Bank will release the final guidance early next year.” Click here to read more

In other news

Fluidity is more important than work-life balance – manager

Commerce Commission looks into issues of Aon-WTW merger


Research on lack of women in financial advice

Goodreturns has a piece covering research on why there are fewer women in financial advice. They quote the percentage of female advisers as 23.5% applies only to investment advice, and can be reasonably easily verified with reference to FMA information on AFAs. I am pleased to say the in the area of insurance advice, female participation is quite a bit higher - although no easy reference source exists, the audience at Quotemonster workshops is indicative. I was struck by this comment, however: 

"The study said the industry could help by normalising part-time work opportunities"

But many of the changes to the financial advice regime will make part-time work harder. In Australia advisers are telling me that the requirements of FASEA (much tougher than in New Zealand, and probably needlessly so) will make exactly the kind of part-time work the authors envisage impossible. 

 


The missing customers, the missing new business

This article from The Economist discusses how companies from Silicon Valley are creating products that are much more suited to males than females, alienating half of their potential customers. This is in some surprisingly obvious ways: most mobile phones and gaming devices are simply too big for most women's hands to use with as much comfort and utility as the average man using the same device. This is my my wife persists with her ancient, but correctly sized, iphone SE, rather than choosing to upgrade. It's a huge lost opportunity. If you read the article you can easily feel smug - as I did - about the silly mistakes these silicon valley geniuses make - like trusting the design decisions to teams that are 75% male. But there's another part of me worrying - what are we missing? Here are two examples: 

We're missing out on women. Looking at several hundred thousand quotes, 43% of quotes arose from couples and 57.4% arose from quotes for single adults. Men were quoted for insurance on their own at a rate twice that of women. Increasing the engagement of women quoting alone to that of men would be a 20% boost to quotes for the industry. In the advised channel we are not quoting single women as often, and when we look at cover levels for women, they remain lower than for men. Remember that with declining marriage rates women tend to remain single, or if in relationship, financially independent, for longer, which expands the impact of this industry weakness. There is nothing like this skew in direct insurance.

In Auckland we're also missing out on adequately serving the multi-adult household, which now accounts for 30% of all households in this region, by featuring mainly traditional families. We're missing out on women, big time. The  We're missing out on genuine connection to client needs - by talking about insurance all the time, and not about health, risk, or the great purpose of financial risk transfer. Where there are people with a financial dependence on each other, there is usually a need for insurance. Marketing to that segment with a new solution to the challenge of making sure the benefit goes for its intended purpose would help. 

There are more, and they require detailed evaluation. The solutions to accessing ignored segments is not straightforward. All change is difficult. It's an example, however, that the industry needs to change to reflect changes in society around us. While it might be embarrassing to be talking about selling more to single women in 2019, it would be even more embarrassing to be still talking about it as a problem in 2029. While the housing crisis has been in the news almost every week for the last five years, we do not appear to have recognised one of the most obvious consequences: more shared housing. 

More details will be in the Quarterly Life and Health Sector report. 

 


AIA receive the White Camellia Supreme Award

Congratulations to AIA who walked away from the White Camellia Awards with the Supreme Award, as well as three other awards. 

The awards celebrate organisational commitment to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a UN Women and UN Global Compact initiative which encourages gender equality in the workplace.  The Supreme Award is awarded to organisations that demonstrate exceptional commitment to gender equality in the workplace and working with the community to empower women.

Sharron Botica Chief Customer Officer and Grace MacKinnon Organisation Development Consultant  from AIA collected the four White Camellia Awards


Chatswood Consulting Diversity Statement

As required by our agreement with an important customer, Chatswood has reviewed its commitment to diversity, and publishes this statement of policies intended to support our goal of a diverse and inclusive workplace. We take this seriously, as well as being what a decent business does, we also believe that it delivers an important breadth of perspective. If we can overcome unconscious bias in our workplace, it makes us better industry analysts - overcoming all sorts of cognitive biases is a skill we can practice and grow better at in a number of ways. We see to encourage participation in our business of people from different backgrounds, as well as make it possible to raise issues of barriers or behaviour that may stand in the way of that. A brief overview of our report is below:

  • Gender-based measures: out of seven staff and contractors 4 are female, 3 male. The ratio is 1:1 at director level
  • Treatment of migrants/ethnicities: four of us were born in another country – roughly consistent with the average for Auckland, where it is just under 50%
  • Disabilities: none of our staff are subject to significant physical disabilities. Our current office may not meet our future accessibility requirements
  • Sexuality: anonymous surveys and access to all directors and management provide reasonable ability to raise any concerns about discrimination or behaviour

 


Insurance and home loans - the future of financial planning

In some respects investments advisers are streets ahead of insurance and home loans advisers. Older, wealthier, and with wealthier clients they also tend to have more fee-based businesses, and work from longer-established evidence-based models for advice. But insurance and home loans advice has plenty to celebrate, and that was reflected in the changing membership of Financial Advice New Zealand, highlighted by Chairperson Sue Brown in her recent speech. The younger adviser and more diverse membership Brown was happy to talk about comes mainly from the mortgage and insurance membership. In this advice sector barriers to entry are lower, and commissions enable the cash-strapped younger people, or return-to-work mothers looking for a career to fit around children, to become advisers. That diversity is important because if we want advice to be accessible to everyone. Some of that diversity will flow through into new ways of thinking and new offers and services to clients. That cohort of younger advisers will in turn develop the skills necessary to offer full financial planning and investment advice services.