nib offer complementary mental health cover, and more daily news

nib New Zealand has launched the new complementary mental health cover that is available to Ultimate Health and Ultimate Health Max members who purchased their policies from 1 October 2021. Eligible customers will have access a consultation with a psychologist or psychiatrist without the consultation being linked to a hospital claim. The new mental health cover replaces the complementary Ultimate Health and Ultimate Health Max travel insurance cover that was offered in the past.

“nib New Zealand (nib) has launched a new complementary Mental Health cover for eligible Ultimate Health and Ultimate Health Max members to provide greater access to mental health services and help Kiwis continue to keep on top of their health and wellbeing.

The new mental health cover is available to members who are covered under a new nib Ultimate Health or Ultimate Health Max policy purchased from 1 October 2021 and provides up to $2,500 of consultations annually with a registered psychologist or psychiatrist on referral from a GP. The complementary cover will initially be available to members for one year.

nib New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Rob Hennin said the health insurer was pleased to help improve access to mental health services and support the one in five people1 across the country who experience a mental illness each year.

“More and more Kiwis are seeking vital mental health services and we want to ensure eligible members are provided the opportunity to access such care, when they need it,” Mr Hennin said.

“The new Mental Health cover offers eligible members greater access to treatment as they can access a consultation with a psychologist or psychiatrist without it needing to be linked to a hospital claim such as cancer or cardiac services. Those members only need a referral from their GP to claim and they have the flexibility to choose their own health provider,” he added.

The introduction of nib’s mental health cover replaces the previous complementary Ultimate Health and Ultimate Health Max travel insurance cover. nib travel insurance sales have stopped while nib pursues new underwriting arrangements for its travel insurance business across Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Hennin said he believes the new cover will be well received by members who may need additional support for their mental wellbeing.

“As we move towards our ambition of health partner, we want to ensure our members feel supported and empowered to be proactive when it comes to taking care of their health and wellbeing. And, with varying lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions likely to have an impact on the mental health of our community we believe the introduction of our Mental Health cover is timelier than ever,” he said.

nib’s new Mental Health cover is also available to existing members with an Ultimate Health and Ultimate Health Max policy that commenced from 21 April 2018, with the complementary mental health cover commencing following the renewal of their Ultimate policy from 1 December 2021.

For more information on nib’s Ultimate Health cover advisers should speak with their Adviser Partner Manager. ”

In other news

Fidelity Life: Fidelity Life has revised customer documents to simplify the language and made changes to policy wordings terminology

Fidelity Life: enhancements to CPI option and Indexation option. This will apply to new business issued on the amended wordings.

Fidelity Life: survivor's income cover options have been simplified

Fidelity Life: class 1-4 definition of ‘total disability’ has been updated for income protection-type covers

FSCL: FSCL sees spike in overall complaints


FMA warns new regime concerns all advisers, and more daily news

The FMA has said that the new regime is intended for all advisers, including advisers are no longer looking for new clients. Director of market engagement, John Botica, has clarified that all advisers will need to be fully licensed. The FMA has warned that they will be following up on adviser to ensure they are all licensed. If advisers aren’t, the FMA will take action. Botica has said the 90 day period is intended for paperwork.

“It is the final working day before the start of the new financial advice regime, and the FMA has warned that it will be following up every registered adviser to make sure everyone is operating under a license.

John Botica, director of market engagement at the FMA, said there had been some confusion in the months preceding the start of the regime, with some advisers believing they do not need a license - however, he said that every adviser will need to be fully licensed, regardless of whether or not they are taking on new clients.

“We will be tracking every authorised and registered adviser to follow their license status through on the FSPR,” he said.

“If you are operating outside of the law, we will take enforcement action.

“Come March 15, you must be operating under the new regime and you must either hold a license, or work for someone who has a license. The 90 days between March and June is simply the opportunity for you to do the paperwork.”” Click here to read more

In other news

Cigna: Life Insurance and Blended Families

FSCL: Title fight: FSCL vs Ombudsman drags on

Quashed: Kiwi insurance start-up attracts backing from Icehouse Ventures


The essentials for overcoming future catastrophes, and more daily news

Diana Clement wrote a NZ Herald article on the need for being prepared in case of unexpected circumstances. Clement highlights that we need to be mentally prepared for the occurrence of personal or societal catastrophes. Clement continues by noting that getting out of debt and having savings is essential to overcome future crises. The need for budgets is highlighted by using the events surrounding COVID-19. Steve Morris, a financial adviser at SW Morris & Associates notes that we would all benefit from using digital tools such as free digital tools for personal cashflow forecasting such as PocketSmith. Insurance is highlighted as being another essential thing for New Zealanders to have in place to ensure protection. Income protection, mortgage protection, trauma/critical illness, permanent disability, business interruption, medical, and life insurance are all mentioned, with Clement saying each offers different types of cover that are useful in different circumstances. Although insurance is deemed as essential, Clement concludes by saying that no insurance policy is completely fool proof.

“My usual New Year articles are all about the positive stuff and how you can turn your year around. But after 2020, let's talk about preparedness. That includes being mentally prepared for curved balls, having savings, and taking out insurance.

Mental preparedness. Do you have a plan for the next time the world turns to custard? Unpredictable (black swan) events such as the Global Financial Crisis and now pandemic, hit us every 10 years or so. We can have personal black swan events such as divorce, or illness. Financial adviser Steve Morris of SW Morris & Associates has seen an upswing in couples separating after lockdown. This can be financially crippling. He recommends getting help from organisations such as The Parenting Place before the relationship ends up on the rocks.

Savings. Getting out of debt and building up some savings is essential if you want to ride out the next financial crisis. If you're constantly a few weeks from financial meltdown then this applies to you. It's hard, but you need to change your thinking and create a budget. People can and do turn their finances around. Use Covid-19 as the financial catalyst to get you started.

In an ideal world you need three to six months living costs (not income) squirrelled away. Providing you are still able to work and willing, most people will find a job within that period.

The best tool for this is a budget. I know it sounds boring, but it's simple to write your first budget and the outcome can be truly life-changing. I follow a number of investing and get out of debt forums and see ordinary Kiwis celebrating cutting up their last credit card or beginning an emergency fund. Don't write it off. It can happen.

Morris also recommends using the free digital tools for personal cashflow forecasting from PocketSmith.

Insurance. The whole point of insurance is to cover yourself financially when unexpected events hit. That's insurance cover for your health, income, and property.

A variety of insurances can cover your income/outgoings. They include income/mortgage protection, trauma/critical illness, permanent disability, business interruption, medical, and life insurance (which often pays out if you're diagnosed with a terminal illness. Each covers different risks and it's a good idea to seek advice from a financial adviser. Everyone is covered by ACC for accidents, but you're more likely to become disabled by illness, and only qualify for Work & Income benefits if you don't have insurance. When insuring yourself, make sure you think about the non-working or lower-earning partner, says Morris. All too often a higher-earning spouse has to reduce hours to pick up parenting duties if the other spouse becomes ill, is disabled, or dies, says Morris. Trauma cover is very good in this situation because it usually pays a lump sum, he says.

Insurance is essential in our modern world, but no insurance policy is 100 per cent foolproof. Because the things you will claim on are unexpected, they could fall outside the policy wording.” Click here to read more

In other news

Partners Life: Expressions of interest for February virtual New Adviser Training Course open

FSCL: FSCL warns investors to beware of cryptocurrency scams


Partners Life sets off on transparency route, and more daily news

Partners Life has begun the process of becoming more transparent by publishing a timeline of key events that would be of interest to customers. This step comes after the announcement by Partners Life CEO Naomi Ballantyne and chairman Jim Minto in September. Partners Life has shared information that wasn’t previously made public by Partners Life or other New Zealand insurers. Partners Life says that it is happy to make this information public. Information shared include premium changes, claims ratios, awards and launches.

“In late September, you may have seen Naomi and our Chairman, Jim Minto, interviewed by the press talking about Partners Life’s plans to publish a whole bunch of information on our website in the name of transparency.

Since then, we have been working away, trying to figure out the best way to make this important information not only accessible, but readable and interesting to clients, advisers and regulators alike, and we are very pleased to let you know that we have today launched the ‘Timeline’ on our public website. The Timeline can be found here.

The Timeline narrates all of the customer-centric events that have occurred within Partners Life dating back to our launch, including yearly recaps of in-force business levels, claims paid vs. declined ratios, capital raised and financial strength history, every product related change since we launched in 2011 (both positive and restrictive), every premium rates change since 2011 along with other events which might of interest to a potential client (such as awards and new technology launches)

There is a huge amount of information contained within the Timeline, much of which has never been publicly made available by Life Insurers in the NZ market before – we are happy to make this information public, because we believe our performance over the last decade absolutely speaks for itself, and think that this information will be of great value to the general public, and to your clients in getting comfort around who Partners Life are, and what we believe in.”

In other news

Partners Life: Partners Life to sponsor Partners Life DUAL. Adviser (100% off) discount is CTS21PLIFEADVISER and client discount (50% off) is CTS21PLIFEPOLICY


Cigna’s Gail Costa reflects on 2020 events and responses, and more daily news

Cigna NZ CEO Gail Costa shared her views on the importance of being prepared for change and adapting to unexpected change. In her opinion piece, Costa mentions how proud she is of the resilience shown by advisers throughout the lockdown periods last year. Costa highlighted the common shift out of comfort zones for many advisers as well as the increased used of digital tools such as online applications and digital calls. Costa noted the continued use of Cigna’s digital application platform. Costa also noted that the pandemic pushed people to realise the importance of being protected, with advisers working to help people understand what covers they had in place and what protection they could get. 

“Last year has tested the resilience of us all. Despite its challenges we’ve worked together and continued to support our customers from our make-shift offices. On top of that we’ve home schooled, looked out for our loved ones and managed stresses, whether that be in our work or personal lives.

 

I’m proud of the resilience shown by the adviser community who quickly adopted to new ways of working to ensure our collective customers would be taken care of as they too grappled with the uncertainty of the pandemic. For many advisers, last year saw them step out of their comfort zones and embrace new ways of doing business.

 

From May to June we saw digital applications more than double and usage levels have remained consistent ever since. What also became apparent was that some advisers are now either completely using video calls in lieu of face-to-face appointments or they have at least become a major part of their sales process. This is great to see as keeping on top of changing technology will enable us to continue to meet the changing needs of New Zealanders.

 

The uncertainty of the pandemic saw increased awareness among New Zealanders about the importance of being protected. As people became increasingly concerned about potential impacts of the pandemic on their work and family lives, the critical role of advisers to help people understand what they were covered for and the options available to them was made clear. Countless service hours were put in by advisers during this time to ensure that their customers continued to be well protected and their new customers were getting the right cover to meet their needs.”

Costa concluded by saying that the engagement Cigna had with advisers has provided insights that will help further improve products. The change in core product pricing and the simplification of policy wordings are examples of the changes being made. 

“Our engagement with advisers throughout the year provided invaluable insight into where we can make enhancements to our products. As a result we’ve rolled out a number of changes including more sustainable pricing on our core products, enhancing our definitions to and we’ve started introducing plain English policy wording. It has been great to hear how this has been received and gives us confidence that we’re moving in the right direction.

As we look ahead to 2021, one premise underpins all of our plans, we’ll continue looking for new opportunities to ensure our product and service offering remains sustainable to protect the long-term needs of New Zealanders.” Click here to read more

In other news

Asteron Life: in the coming weeks Asteron Life is set to inform advisers about:

  • Consultation on the proposed new distribution agreements
  • Asteron Life product accreditation requirements
  • Confirmation of FAP licensing arrangements
  • Information to support in adviser complaints management processes

Partners Life: Partners Life Preparing for Stock Exchange Listing

FSCL: FSCL warns investors to beware of cryptocurrency scams


New Asteron Life Head of Life appointed, and more daily news

Asteron Life has announced that Grant Willis has been appointed as the new Head of Life. In this new role Grant will oversee the core functions of product, pricing. sales, operations, claims as well as client servicing.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Grant Willis to the newly established Head of Life role, effective immediately.

He comes into the role from a career in financial services, including the past nine years at Suncorp New Zealand, most recently as Executive Manager – Life, in Insurance Solutions, and from 2011 to 2016 was Asteron Life CFO. Grant has also held senior roles at AIG NZ, Colonial Fiji (a subsidiary of CBA), ASB and Sovereign.

As Head of Life, Grant will oversee the core functions of product, pricing. sales, operations, claims and client servicing. His appointment will enable us to focus on continuously improving customer outcomes in partnership with you.”

In other news

FSCL: FSCL celebrates 10 year anniversary

FSC: Generations Digital Conference registration open

Partners Life: Expressions of interest for 3 day October Virtual New Adviser Training Course now open

Partners Life: licensing information webinar to be held 24 September at 11 am


FSCL complaint foreshadows implications of non-disclosure, and more daily news

After speaking with an adviser a woman proceeded to cancel her $300,000 policy and add a trauma/critical illness policy. After suffering a back injury a month after making the changes, the woman’s claims were denied.

“The woman met with an insurance adviser to review her cover – she already had a $1 million life insurance policy with one insurer and another $300,000 policy with another, but no trauma, critical illness or mortgage replacement cover.

The adviser recorded that she was working 28 hours a week as an accountant in her own company and studying part-time.

It was recommended she combine her life insurance policies with one of the existing insurers and cancel the $300,000 policy. The adviser also said she should include some trauma or critical illness cover and mortgage protection cover in case she could not work for a period of time.

The woman accepted the adviser’s recommendations. She cancelled the $300,000 policy and a new policy providing cover for trauma/critical illness commenced in October. In November she tripped and fell, injuring her back.”

When speaking with the adviser the woman noted that she worked 28 hours and studied part-time, when claiming she told her insurer that she worked 30 hours a week and informed ACC that she worked 40 hours a week. Her insurer discovered that she wasn’t  working and instead was a full-time student. The woman proceeded to lodge a complaint against the adviser stating that she wasn’t informed that she would need to provide financial statements and a result of the advice she’s cancelled her $300,000 policy.

“She submitted a claim under her trauma/critical illness insurance, stating that she had been working as an accountant for 30 hours a week. She also stated on her ACC form that she had been working for 40 hours a week.

When the insurer asked for documents to corroborate her income, she was unable to provide convincing information. The insurer then discovered that she was a full-time student. The insurer declined the claim and voided the new insurance policies but later reinstated the $1 million life policy that she had before the changes were made.

The woman complained that the advice she had received from the adviser caused her to lose the $300,000 life insurance policy that she had cancelled on the adviser’s advice. When the complaint was not able to be resolved directly with the adviser, she went to FSCL.

She told the dispute scheme the adviser had not told her she would have to provide financial statements to support any claim.”

Although the FSCL concluded that the advice given was sound advice, the chain of events highlights the importance of risks of non-disclosure.

““We were satisfied that the advice to increase the cover with one insurer and cancel the smaller policy was sound advice and had not caused any loss,” FSCL said.” Click here to read more

Advisers reading the reports will notice inconsistencies and gaps. The story is plainly larger and more complex than is being shared. As such, there is no real basis for making form judgments. In more general observations we should probably note the increasing likelihood of client complaints and the difficulty of managing disclosures - making sure that clients are really clear about the importance of accurate disclosure and helping them to achieve that - for their benefit and ours. After all, complaints just cost us all money and reputation. 

In other news:

Southern Cross: a Risk Partner – Sales and Marketing role is currently being advertised

Strategi: Strategi are offering remote AML/CFT audits

RBNZ: Reserve Bank extending mortgage deferral scheme

RBNZ: Monetary Policy Statement Explained Q&A with RBNZ Chief Economist and External MPC Member

FMA: Sorted Money Week has begun


Changes to dealer groups, and more daily news

With regulatory changes finalising, the industry is working to adjust. This has resulted in a number of changes being contemplated as well as being implemented. Dealer groups have had to reconsider may aspects of their business to ensure that they are prepared for the upcoming changes. One potential change is the acquisition of a group by another.

“In the past week rumours started swirling around the market that one of the bigger groups was about to takeover/merge/acquire one of the mid-size groups.”

The impending changes to the current law has meant changes to Newpark have had to be made. Newpark is expected to announce changes to their model towards the end of next month.

“Meanwhile, Newpark is regrouping its army, but how big it will be after Partners Life new FAPO model where override commission is paid to FAPs is unknown.

Good Returns understands that Newpark will be announcing its new model around August 23. If Covid-19 hadn't rolled its dice and pushed licensing back a year it's questionable if the group would still be on the board.”

Alongside making changes to align with new regulatory standards dealer group must work to ensure that they offer advisers attractive membership services.

“For advisers there is a growing imperative to ensure they find a group that fits with their own beliefs and business practices.

For dealer groups the pressure is coming on to deliver appropriate services to their members at the right price points.”  Click here to read more

In other news:

FSCL: Dispute service sees complaints rise by 40%

Southern Cross: Insurance companies among finalists for awards championing diversity

FANZ: Trusted Adviser mark attracts “strong and supportive” feedback

Commerce Commission: Commerce Commission release advising the Court of Appeal issued a ruling in the case regarding Harmoney’s lending model. In a judgment issued on 8 July the Court said that: Harmoney Limited is a creditor, its contracts are consumer credit contracts which are subject to the requirements of the CCCF Act, its platform fee is therefore a credit fee that is required by the CCCF Act to be reasonable. 


Daily news update: Partners Life predictions for increased suicide claims, and more stories

While there aren’t usually many suicide claims made, Partners Life is now predicting that there will be an increase in suicide claims in the foreseeable future. Naomi Ballantyne has linked the economic effects of the pandemic to increased mental health problems and self-harm.

“Life insurance company Partners Life expects a rise in suicide claims as a result of businesses failing in the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

"We've certainly experienced already suicides that are directly related to businesses being shut down," Ballantyne said.

The Covid-19 economic crisis was putting unprecedented pressure on businesses and their owners, and there have been predictions the pandemic could result in a rise in self-harm.

Business failure could have an intense emotional impact on individuals, and business failures were sometimes implicated as a factor contributing to owners' sudden deaths.

In desperation, people sometimes convinced themselves that their families would be better off with a payout on their life insurance policies than with them remaining alive, Ballantyne said.” Click here to read more

In other news:

FSCL: FSCL's 'allegations against a very senior parliamentary officer' This covers the issue of the right to use the word 'ombudsman'

Reinsurance sector won't achieve cost of capital in 2020, outlines Fitch Of course, many categories of business will not achieve their cost of capital. 

Financial advice saving retirement futures: Adviser This trend isn't confined to KiwiSaver advice either - events cause people to reflect on their contingency planning, including risk.

ASB: ASB to waive home loan interest, if a borrower dies


Client neglect result in increased complaints

With restrictions placed on movement, advisers were unable to visit clients. We can assume that clients would want to speak to their advisers at this time to discuss their options. We can also assume that this has been a busy time for advisers. As demand increased, some clients have felt that their needs have not been properly catered to. As a result, FSCL has reported an increase in complaints.

“FSCL chief executive Susan Taylor said her disputes service had noticed a few extra complaints about advisers since the Covid-19 outbreak hit.

Some clients were upset when they discovered that an income protection policy did not cover them for the loss of a job. Others had been disappointed when they found their business interruption cover would not cover them for being closed during the pandemic.”

In comparison,

At IFSO, there had been 14 complaint inquiries and one complaint about advisers since April 2, which a spokeswoman said was about the same level as normal.click here to read more

In other news: 

How hard has it been to write new business during COVID-19?

Crisis means clients understand the value of insurance - broker

FMA: Guidelines for Financial Services businesses and staff under COVID-19 Alert      Level 2

Workspace: Our expectations about contact tracing