Fidelity Life flood relief package, and more daily news

Fidelity Life has announced the development of a relief package that offers farming customers suffering financial hardship the option to apply to have their premiums temporarily waived without affecting insurance protection.

“In light of the recent flooding that has devastated parts of the West Coast and the top of the South Island, we’ve developed a special relief package for existing Fidelity Life farming customers suffering from financial hardship as a result of the floods. If you’ve been affected by the floods, we’d like to help lighten the load and offer you a break from your insurance premiums, while you get things back up and running. It means you will be able to apply to have your premiums temporarily waived* without impacting your regular insurance protection.” Click here to find out more

In other news

17th Annual Financial Markets Law Conference held on 26 July 2021. Key themes included:

  • Market conduct and surveillance
  • Fintech
  • CoFI Amendment Bill
  • Sustainability and climate risk
  • Cryptocurrencies and digital assets
  • A new dawn of financial market regulations

From NZ Herald: Why are Kiwis so under-insured?

AA health Insurance: Kiwis: ‘Cheaper Health Insurance Please!’

Russell’s piece in Good returns: How overpaying claims leads to product innovation


Fidelity Life ratings under review, and more daily news

It has been reported that the A- (excellent) Financial Strength Rating and the A- (excellent) Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating are under review. This is a normal development in the case of substantial acquisitions. AM Best's decision comes after it was announced that Fidelity Life is set to purchase Westpac Life. AM Best have applied an "under review" status with developing implications status on Fidelity Life’s ratings to assess the financial and operational impacts the purchase will have on Fidelity Life. The rating status will remain in place until the purchase is complete, and AM Best is able to conduct an assessment of Fidelity’s credit rating fundamentals. Click here to read more

“SINGAPORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AM Best has placed under review with developing implications the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” (Excellent) of Fidelity Life Assurance Company Limited (Fidelity Life) (New Zealand).

These Credit Ratings (ratings) actions follow the announcement on 6 July 2021, that Fidelity Life has entered into an agreement with Westpac Banking Corporation to acquire its New Zealand life insurance business, Westpac Life-NZ-Limited for NZD 400 million. The transaction also includes the establishment of an exclusive 15-year life insurance distribution arrangement with Westpac New Zealand Limited.

Concurrently, Fidelity Life has announced an equity investment of NZD 140 million from a new investor, Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation Limited (Ngāi Tahu Holdings), to fund the acquisition partly. Fidelity Life’s current largest shareholder, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, and Ngāi Tahu Holdings are expected to fund the majority of the acquisition.

The transactions, which are subject to customary closing conditions, including shareholder and regulatory approvals, are expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

The under review with developing implications status reflects the need for AM Best to assess fully the financial and operational impacts of the acquisition and the funding structure on Fidelity Life’s rating fundamentals, including on its balance sheet strength and business profile.

The ratings will remain under review pending completion of the acquisition, and until AM Best can complete its assessment of Fidelity Life’s post-acquisition credit rating fundamentals.”

In other news

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ACC: ACC steps up efforts to support children and sexual abuse survivors

Fidelity Life: Bronwyn Kirwan is set to join Fidelity Life next month as the new Chief Sales and Service Officer


FYI: How to quote Fidelity's Trauma Multi on Quotemonster

Fidelity's Trauma Multi Cover is intended to provide customers with ongoing cover for multiple unrelated conditions.

Trauma multi cover pays out a lump sum if the insured suffer from a condition named in the insurance policy, like a heart attack, cancer, stroke, angioplasty and more. Trauma multi cover offers the opportunity to claim for up to five unrelated medical conditions. Each individual claim will pay up to 20% of the total sum insured.

For further information on this product please click here

To quote Fidelity's Trauma Multi Cover on Quotemonster, click “Settings” and under the Trauma column, select Trauma Multi as shown in the screenshot below.

Once you’ve selected your product basket, click “Save” and “Close” and don’t forget to re-crunch your quote to ensure your premiums and ratings reflect your new Product Selection.

Mutli

This unique product is quoted differently on Quotemonster to reflect 5 potential claim payments. For example, if you are quoting $300,000 total cover on Fidelitys software, you will need to enter 1/5th of the amount on QM - so $60,000 to match your quote.

Example mult

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


Fidelity Life purchases Westpac Life, and more daily news

Fidelity Life has announced that they have signed a conditional agreement to purchase Westpac Life and distribute Fidelity Life products exclusively to Westpac customers for the next 15 years. NZ Super Fund: Ngāi Tahu Holdings has joined as a shareholder to help with the $400 million acquisition of Westpac Life. Fidelity Life has highlighted that they are awaiting regulatory and shareholder approvals but expect the deal to be completed by the end of the year. As part of the purchase, the Westpac Life team and 150,000 policyholders will join Fidelity Life. This will increase Fidelity Life’s in force market share from 12% to approximately 17%.

“Today we’re announcing some big news: we’ve signed a conditional agreement to buy Westpac Life and enter into a 15 year strategic alliance with Westpac to distribute our products exclusively to their retail customers.

To help fund the $400 million acquisition we’re absolutely delighted to be welcoming another large shareholder to join our cornerstone investor the NZ Super Fund: Ngāi Tahu Holdings – the investment arm of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, one of New Zealand’s largest iwi. Ngāi Tahu Holdings are a fantastic addition to our shareholder base and further strengthen our NZ-owned credentials.

The agreement is still subject to regulator and shareholder approvals, and we expect it to be completed by the end of 2021.

A true partnership.

This new alliance with Westpac, who share our aspiration to reimagine life insurance, aligns with our plans to diversify our channel mix to help us reach even more New Zealanders.

Once the deal’s completed we’ll be welcoming the Westpac Life team and 150,000 policyholders to Fidelity Life and will boost our in force market share from 12% to nearly 17%.”

In other news

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New Zealander’s health concerns, and more daily news

A Swiss Re study has revealed that because of COVID-19 one in three New Zealanders have increased health concerns. The study found that one in two participants felt that their financial future was positive while 14% were anxious about their financial future. The number of participants that had increased health concerns and participants that were anxious about their financial future were the lowest among other developed countries within the Asia-Pacific region. Leigh Watson, head of life and health in Australia and New Zealand noted that although the New Zealand findings weren’t as concerning as respondents from other countries in the region, mental wellness and price certainty were identified as issues. The study found that New Zealanders felt that policy features were the most important aspect of insurance and claims payout was the least important aspect. Watson highlighted that the insurance industry has a role in promoting wellbeing.  Watson has said that Swiss Re is looking to work  alongside insurers to help customers through difficult situations.

“A Swiss Re study has shown that one in three New Zealanders have an increase in health concerns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic - however, this is the lowest reported level of concern among developed markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

The study showed that half of all surveyed New Zealanders were keen to resume domestic and international travel and social activities, and one in two respondents felt that their financial future was positive. Fourteen per cent (14%) felt overwhelmed or anxious about their financial future - the lowest percentage in the surveyed region.

When it comes to insurance, respondents felt the ability to set a fixed premium was the most important policy feature (31%), while monetary payout was the lowest priority (19%).

Leigh Watson, head of life and health in Australia and New Zealand, said that while New Zealanders appear to have less money troubles compared to other APAC countries, issues like mental wellness and price certainty remained a concern.

“While New Zealanders aren’t so worried about the financial impacts of the pandemic, they are worried about the mental wellness impacts, which have been exacerbated by COVID-19,” he said.

“We can see that New Zealanders would also like to see more price certainty in their insurances, and the industry is definitely trying to tackle this through a greater focus on more sustainable products and pricing.”

“Claimants are also looking for faster and easier claims processes,” he continued.

“Our claims team recognises that an innovative and agile response is required to support our insurer clients, and ultimately customers, to help them navigate unforeseen challenges in their time of need.”

Watson said that the insurance sector needs to “draw lessons” from the pandemic and how customers are responding to pressure, and it particularly needs to increase its focus on resilience and mental wellness.

“The insurance industry has a role to play to promote wellbeing, and to support a more proactive management of everyone’s physical and mental health,” Watson said

“The impacts of COVID-19 on mental health remain a concern, and we are assisting insurers in helping their customers through difficult situations and towards long-term recovery.” Click here to read more

In other news

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Fidelity Life: From 31 July 2021 desktop Apollo will no longer be available, advisers will need to access Apollo web.

Fidelity Life: For applications submitted up to 31 July 2021 Fidelity Life will pay the commission rate that applied at the time of submission

From Good returns: [GRTV] Looking after advisers' mental health

From Stuff: The traumatic process for young women needing a hysterectomy - examples of the value of the power of choice in healthcare


Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Agreed Value Income Protection: Occupational Retraining

Introduction

We continually review the ratings of all our benefits and have renamed “Occupational Retraining” to “Vocational & Rehabilitation Support”. Our intention with this review is to make clearer the difference between the features in readiness for more detailed research reports that are in development. Better describing the current variations and recognising that early intervention has the ability to prevent a client’s disability from escalating further and reduces more severe complications that may lead to a long-term claim – a positive outcome for the client, insurer, and employee.

Please find our proposed sub-items below.

Proposed sub-items 

Irsme

Notes

The monthly payment limit differs between insurers, however the necessity to offset is a similar feature. The major insurers (aside from Fidelity) offer coverage for Childcare Assistance, which is likely to be claimed more often than some of the other expenses. Partners Life receives a deduction for “benefit not available for all payment periods” as they do not offer their “Vocational and Retraining benefit” for payment periods which are less than 2 years. Similarly, AIA reduces their monthly payment to 6 months with 1, 2 or 5 year benefit periods. Fidelity is the only insurer that will not pay out the full benefit until the insured has returned to paid work (minimum of 20 hours). AIA, ASB and Partners Life are the only insurers that clearly offer assistance either during or after the waiting period - an important feature, as early intervention can significantly affect the length of a claim. 

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


Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Agreed Value Income Protection: Rehab and Home Modifications

Introduction

Following on from our previous post on “Vocational and Rehabilitation Support”, we have also reviewed “Rehab and Home Modifications” and renamed the item to “Home Modifications and Equipment”.

Please find our proposed sub-items below.

Proposed sub-items

Equip

Notes

The biggest variation can be seen in the monthly benefit limits. AIA and ASB have limited their payment to 6 months while Partners Life uses a tiered approach (the monthly payment reduces in line with the payment term).

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


Cigna makes several new appointments, and more daily news

Cigna has made several appointments. Distribution General Manager David Haak has said that the new appointments highlight a number of things including Cigna’s commitment to ensuring customers have access to independent financial advice, Cigna’s growing market presence, and Cigna’s commitment to offering advisers quality service. Karen Smith is the new Distribution Operations Manager. Danielle Penberthy is the Auckland Business Partnership Manager team. Ian Greig is now part of the Christchurch Business Partnership Team. Christine Laverty has been appointed as the National Strategic Alliances Manager.

“Cigna distribution general manager David Haak says the appointments reinforce the company’s commitment to ensuring New Zealanders have access to quality, independent financial advice.

“This expansion reflects Cigna’s growing presence in the market and will help us to continue providing advisers with a market-leading service offering, Haak says.

The new team is made up of Karen Smith, who joins Cigna from AIA/Sovereign as distribution operations manager.

Smith is a well-known and respected face in the industry with more than 22 years of experience and will head up Cigna’s behind-the-scenes support for advisers.

Danielle Penberthy joins the Auckland-based business partnership manager team from Insurance/Mortgage Link and previously Fidelity Life.

Danielle brings over 19 years of industry and sales experience to Cigna.

In the South Island, Ian Greig joins the business partnership team from Asteron and will be based in Christchurch.

Greig has 30 years of experience in financial services, adviser and sales manager roles.

Christine Laverty has been given the newly created role of national strategic alliances manager. Laverty will work closely with dealer and corporate groups as well as new business opportunities.

“Partnering with advisers through high-quality, personal relationships, service and support is our top priority here at Cigna," says Haak.

"I’m proud to say no matter where you are in New Zealand you can be confident a member of our talented team will be by your side when you need us."

All appointments are now active in their new roles.” Click here to read more

Picture1

In other news

From Insurance Business News: Women in Insurance: How have equal opportunity policies developed?

Fidelity Life: Fidelity Life steps up for Canterbury farmers

Partners Life: Partners Life Product Launch 2021 with Steve Wright - General Manager Professional Development webinar #1 on 1 July at 9.30am

Partners Life Product Launch 2021 with Steve Wright - General Manager Professional Development Webinar #2 on 5 July at 10.30am


Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Coma (Trauma)

Introduction

Following on with our recent theme of revising ratings, we have reviewed Coma, re-assessing the item based on modern definitions.  A rarely claimed on benefit, yet significant coverage in the media when the insurer decides not to pay out.  

Below are the proposed items for Coma.

Coma

Notes

Momentum life is the only provider that requires the insured to be in a coma for 96-hours, while Westpac uniquely requires a permanent neurological deficit. Three insurers, Fidelity, Pinnacle and Westpac specifically exclude medically induced comas and a similar definition is observed in the use of life support systems and response to internal and external needs.

Few insurers continue to use the Glasgow Coma Scale in their definitions – here is a quick overview of what the scale demonstrates https://medictests.com/units/glasgow-coma-score

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