nib strategic thinking shift, and more daily news

nib New Zealand CEO Rob Hennin outlined the company’s shift in strategic thinking. Instead of focusing on ‘sick care’ nib will be focused on ‘well care’. Hennin noted that COVID-19 has meant that health insurers are more determined to promote healthy living, community connection and mental health. Hennin states that nib’s core focus and strategy remains unchanged although financial protection is no longer the sole focus. nib is set to follow a more holistic approach when viewing the health journeys of members. Choosing to take a long-term approach will mean that nib will work towards empowering members to make healthier choices.

“As insurers across the country put their 2021 strategies into action, nib New Zealand CEO Rob Hennin says that for him, this year will be all about focusing on ‘well care’ rather than ‘sick care,’ and looking beyond the mindset of an insurer focusing purely on financial protection.

Hennin says that with COVID-19 having changed everybody’s lives on such a huge scale, it is more important than ever for health insurers to promote community connection, wellness, and a focus on mental health. He says nib’s core strategy remains fundamentally unchanged, but that there will be much higher focus on mental health, and on supporting members’ health journeys.

“COVID has clearly disrupted our lives and our business in unforeseeable ways,” Hennin said.

“Our strategy is very clear - we’re looking to protect our members, offer them the financial cover that they need, connect them with providers who can help with specific needs, and to help them to navigate the healthcare system that we have in New Zealand.

“We also want to empower them to make the health decisions that will put them on track to achieving what they want to achieve, and that part of our strategy is very much unchanged.”

Hennin says the company will be looking to take a more “holistic view” of people’s health journeys, and to take a “long term approach” to helping them access the care that they need. Click here to read more

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Do media hate insurance or love it?

Although it might appear that journalists love to bash insurers, it is easy to forget that there is some surprisingly useful coverage:

Last year the high-profile owner, Gabrielle Mullins of the Auckland performance venue The Powerstation, died of cancer. She was fundraising to pay for Keytruda, a chemotherapy drug not yet funded by Pharmac. https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/music/122701023/gabrielle-mullins-the-owner-of-aucklands-powerstation-venue-dies-of-cancer. Earlier this year Michael Kooge, a radio show host, also hit the headlines with his cancer story, saying "It's all pretty unlucky, if I had medical insurance when I was in my early 20s, before I got sick, I would be able to get this treatment covered, but because I didn't I'm being left to die.” At the same time Stuff linked to coverage by Tim Fairbrother of Rival Wealth discussing which type of medical insurance would be best. https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/81385630/what-type-of-medical-insurance-works-for-you-will-depend-on-your-circumstances

Each story is a tragedy. Also, the insurance industry could hardly hope for better promotional coverage. I draw your attention to what is implicit the first article and explicit in the second: that an unfunded drug would have helped, and that insurance would have funded this. In stories like these, it seems, the media believe in insurance. At other times, it appears that they ignore the vast volume of claims paid and believe that insurers are solely focused on denying the payment of claims. Is the glass actually half full?


nib views on financial advice, and more daily news

nib has said that members that receive financial advice are better off. In addition, nib CEO Rob Hennin noted that half of nib’s members join via financial advisers. Hennin credited nib’s view by highlighting the findings from an internal study which found that members with advisers have more financial certainty and more health benefits. Hennin used the findings of nib’s internal study and studies commissioned by the FSC to conclude that people who receive financial advice are better off, saying that people with financial advice experience an improvement to their overall health.

“Health insurer nib says it is “absolutely clear” that customers with insurance advisers end up better off, and says advisers have done an “extraordinary” job adapting to the challenges that have come with COVID-19, and multiple lockdowns.

According to nib New Zealand CEO Rob Hennin, approximately half of the insurer’s business currently comes through its adviser channel. He says its internal studies have been clear – customers with advisers have more financial certainty, and also see increased health benefits as a result.

“It’s absolutely clear from our research and the work the Financial Services Council has done that Kiwis who receive financial advice are better off,” Hennin told Insurance Business.

Hennin acknowledged the work advisers have done saying that their response to COVID-19 was extraordinary. Hennin mentioned the increased use of digital tools and other methods to reach and assist clients.

“Advisers have just pivoted and done an extraordinary job throughout COVID-19,” Hennin added.

“They’ve really embraced digital tools and they’ve gone out, consulted with their clients and done whatever they can to ensure they all have access to the care and protection that they need.”” Click here to read more

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Recent Product Updates

QPR subscribers have just received the latest database version (138) it is also live on Quotemonster, the changes in this version include:

* Cigna - new policy document 11/11/2020 -  rating changes applied

* Unimed - new policy document 01/08/2020 -  rating changes applied

* AA Health - new policy document nib366402 and nib366401 effective 01/05/2019 -  rating changes applied

* ANZ Life and Living - new policy document A0006 effective 31/01/2020 -  rating changes applied

* Momentum Life: - New policy document for Life 2633-MLPL2-PW 22/10/2020, New policy document for funeral 2667-MLF6-PW 21/09/2020 - Rating changes applied

* Revised view on: Medical - Treatment (overseas)


Industry associations merge

The Health Funds Association of NZ will merge with the Financial Services Council from 1 December. Congratulations to the FSC and HFANZ on concluding the merger. In an increasingly complex environment, driven by regulatory change, technology, and consumer choice, it makes sense to have a single, stronger, industry advocate capable to looking across the wide range of issues in common facing the sector. 

From the media release: 

Health Funds Association of New Zealand (HFANZ) and the Financial Services Council (FSC)
today announced a merger into one single organisation under the Financial Services Council
banner from 1 December 2020, creating a membership association of close to 90
organisations.

In a major milestone for the sector, the merger brings together Health Insurance with the
Life Insurance, KiwiSaver, and Investment industries and will place a focus on achieving
good customer outcomes, ensuring sustainability of the sector, and lifting standards and
professionalism from a single, stronger voice.

Rob Flannagan, Chair of the Financial Services Council said, “The merger is a great
opportunity to bring the health and life insurance industry together under one roof and
focus the efforts of our joint members on the important issues of the day, and most
importantly of all, driving better consumer outcomes.”

Len Elikhis, Chair of HFANZ, said “The Health Funds Association of NZ members represent
80% of the health insurance sector and has a rich heritage of over 30 years.

“The private health insurance sector supports 1.4m New Zealanders to meet their health
care costs. We believe that a well-balanced and integrated health system is key to achieving
great patient outcomes.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our members for their significant contribution
and we look forward to playing an active part within the Financial Services Council,”
concluded Elikhis.

Richard Klipin, CEO of the Financial Services Council said, “Coming together to build a
stronger association is exciting and important for protecting the health of Kiwis.

“With a bigger, stronger and larger organisation of around 90 members, this merger will
focus our work in the sector and create a stronger voice that will help shape the future
financial wellbeing of Kiwis,” concluded Klipin.


Southern Cross awarded gold for COVID-19 response, and more daily news

Southern Cross has been awarded gold in Reader’s Digest Quality Service Awards in the health and travel insurance categories for the support offered to members during the pandemic.  This is the fourth consecutive that Southern Cross has be awarded gold in the Reader’s Digest Quality Service Awards health insurance category and second consecutive year that it has been awarded gold in the travel insurance category. Southern Cross has credited it’s focus on supporting members during the pandemic as the main reason for being awarded gold.

“Southern Cross has been recognised for the way it has supported customers during an extraordinary year by winning gold in both the health and travel insurance categories in the Reader’s Digest Quality Service Awards.

The awards are facilitated every year to determine which New Zealand organisations have delivered the most outstanding customer service. Consumers rate organisations on personalisation, understanding, simplicity and satisfaction.

This is the fourth consecutive gold for Southern Cross Health Insurance (SCHI) and the second in a row for Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI). Both organisations come under the Southern Cross brand, and are businesses united by a not-for-profit ethos helping Kiwis look after their health and wellbeing.

Southern Cross maintained this award-winning customer service throughout the pandemic by focusing its efforts on supporting customers in ways that would have the most impact.”

Louise Waterson, Editor-in-Chief of Reader’s Digest, noted that challenges faced in 2020 reflect the importance of focusing on customer service. Waterson said Southern Cross achieved excellent customer service.

“Louise Waterson, Editor-in-Chief of Reader’s Digest, said the challenges of this year have highlighted the importance of delivering excellent service to customers.

“For another year, Southern Cross has achieved such excellence, and continues to raise the benchmark of what outcomes customers of health and travel insurance can expect. Only the highest standards will do when fulfilling the health and travel needs and concerns of their customers and their families. New Zealanders appreciate the skill, professionalism and compassion shown by Southern Cross – all of which makes for a winning business strategy. Congratulations,” she said.”

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nib and Tend digital healthcare partnership, and more daily news

nib has announced it’s partnership with Tend to allow eligible nib members unlimited access to Tend’s GPs through an app. Rob Hennin, nib New Zealand CEO, has said that the partnership will allow members to become more proactive about their health and wellbeing. Hennin said that nib believe that enabling members to easily access GPs. Through this  partnership, nib will help members in taking preventative actions. Hennin has noted that nib advocates for digital healthcare to ensure people overcome barriers and seek medical help.

“Health insurer, nib New Zealand and digital-first healthcare provider, Tend today announced details of a transformational new partnership that will see eligible nib members offered unlimited access to Tend’s GPs through a secure app on their smartphone.

nib New Zealand CEO, Rob Hennin, says the partnership, which is a New Zealand health insurance first, enables nib members to be more proactive about their health and wellbeing by providing an affordable and convenient way to see a GP.

“At nib, we share Tend’s vision of making New Zealanders the healthiest people in the world. To do this, we need to be making it as easy as possible for Kiwis to talk with a doctor wherever they are and whenever they need to,” says Mr Hennin.”

“We also need to be encouraging more New Zealanders to be taking a preventative and proactive approach to their healthcare, and this means thinking differently about how we deliver health services.

“That is why we are huge advocates of digital healthcare because it helps address many of the barriers preventing people from seeking medical advice. Our new partnership with Tend means our members no longer need to take time off work, travel across town and sit in a waiting room when they are sick. Instead, seeing a doctor will be easy.”

Cecilia Robinson, Tend co-CEO has said that Tend is excited about the partnership. The Tend app will allow nib members to have common conditions managed, talk with doctors or nurses and receive e-prescriptions, test results, and laboratory forms on their cell phones. If an in-person consultation is needed, members can make appointments to see doctors in person.

"Tend co-CEO Cecilia Robinson says Tend is excited to be teaming up with a leading health insurer to provide nib members access to a gold standard digital-first primary health service.

“Tend is a ground-breaking healthcare service that delivers GP services through a purpose-built app on your smartphone and is as simple to use as Netflix or Instagram,” says Robinson.

“Like nib, we want to empower Kiwis to take greater control of their healthcare by allowing them to see to a doctor when they want, how they want and where they want, including from the comfort of their home.

“Through the app, eligible nib members will be able to talk with a doctor or nurse as easily as if they are sitting in the room with them. They’ll also be able to receive e-prescriptions, test results or laboratory forms directly to their smartphone.

“Many common medical conditions can be managed through virtual consultations, including minor ailments, various chronic conditions, follow-up consultations and the initiation of laboratory investigations and repeat prescriptions.

“If an in-person consultation is required or desired, patients can simply make an appointment to visit Tend’s state-of-the art clinic for a physical examination.”” 

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nib Group deploy new digital claims process, and more daily news

nib has announced the implementation of Melvin, a machine learning engine, that will process claims that are submitted via the app. The adoption of this engine is intended to reduce manual data entry. Brendan Mills, nib Group CEO, has said that after nib enabled photo submission and claims via the app, user experience improved while information processing time increased. 

“Nib has implemented a new machine learning engine to process claims submitted via its app in less time by reducing the amount of manual data entry required behind the scenes. 

 

Five years ago the health insurer introduced a new feature that let members take a photo of their receipt and submit a claim via the app. 

While that improved the customer experience, it became a challenge to process the information at the backend as the volumes of photos increased, said nib's CIO Brendan Mills.

 

“We created a great customer experience but we then also caused ourselves some pain in processing photos because we're then taking a whole heap of flat images and having to rekey all the data [such as] provider number, customer number…it was quite an intensive process,” Mills told iTnews.

nib has said been trialing systems for the past six months. The engine uses AWS Textract to pick up all relevant information from submitted photos. The engine is set to save 20 seconds in handling time per claim, with half not needing further human intervention. nib is looking at expanding the service to process more claims, improve the service, and improve accuracy. 

“For the past six months, the health insurer has been using machine learning algorithms to strip information from the photos and pass it through to the core claims processing system. 

 

The engine, dubbed Melvin, was developed with data science consultancy Eliiza and uses AWS Textract to read the relevant information from the photos. 

 

Mills said the process saves an average of 20 seconds handling time per claim, and about half of the claims require no further human intervention to rekey or adjust any of the fields from the image. 

 

The insurer is now considering how to expand the service to process more claims, improve accuracy levels and determine if claims can be paid out without any human intervention. 

 

Mills said work is underway to determine the types of claims that have a very “high confidence” level to approve automatically, possibly with a post-processing quality assurance mechanism in place.” Click here to read more

In other news:

nib: adult or child signing up to Easy Health, Ulitimate Health Max, or Ulitimate Healththrough nibAPPLY will give them two month free cover. Offer ends 31 January 2021

FMA: FMA seeks consultation on proposed guidance for advertising

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nib publish finding from parenting survey, and more daily news

nib has published the findings from its State of the Nation Parenting Survey. The survey looked into the concerns of parents in 2020. Behavioural issues was identified as the top health related concern. This concern was raised by 34% of all participants. While parents with young children reported that their biggest concern was children experiencing extensive episodes of irritability, anger and short-temperedness. Nathan Wallis, nib parenting expert, commented saying that the shift during lockdown added to an already emotional stage for toddlers. When discussing lockdown experiences, participants noted that prolonged negative behaviour were common occurrences.

“Leading health insurer, nib New Zealand, has released the findings from its second annual nib State of the Nation Parenting Survey, shedding light on the concerns that have been top of mind for Kiwi parents during a year unlike any other.

 

Behavioural issues are the number one health concern Kiwi parents have for their children, cited by more than a third (34%) of respondents, up 13% from 2019. Last year’s biggest health-related concern, sleep, still features prominently, as do stress levels and diet and exercise.

 

Taking a closer look at families’ lockdown experience, the number of respondents reporting sustained episodes of negative behaviour from their children (lasting two weeks or longer) grew significantly during the nationwide lockdown period. Concerningly, this increase has been largely sustained since lockdown ended.

 

Parents of younger children reported prolonged episodes of irritability, anger and short-temperedness as their biggest concern, while among parents of high schoolers, the sharpest increase came in levels of concern around changes to children’s motivation.

 

nib parenting expert, Nathan Wallis says, “Lockdown saw most families dealing with added stress as they adapted to new and novel experiences. Toddlers may in many ways have felt this most acutely as they are already in a very emotional stage of development - it’s called “Terrible Twos” for a reason. Toddlers are also just beginning to learn how to manage their emotions, so it’s mum and dad who have to do most of it for them. This was understandably compounded by lockdown, so many parents of toddlers had it quite hard.””

The study also found that parents struggled. Participants reported that their motivation, energy levels, and performance at work decreased during lockdown while feeling overwhelmed increased. Parents reported that their biggest source of stress was financial uncertainty which impacted 39% of participants. The study found that only 8% of participants didn’t feel any stress.  When discussing the future, 70% of participants reported that they felt positive and 67% believed that lockdown helped to solidify their family unit.

“The findings also clearly demonstrate the toll 2020 has taken on parents themselves. Lockdown saw sharp increases in the number of respondents suffering from decreased motivation, decreased energy levels, a sense of feeling overwhelmed, and declining performance at work. Any subsequent reduction since lockdown ended has been limited to just one or two percentage points.

 

The biggest source of stress reported by parents this year was financial uncertainty, impacting 39% of respondents – followed closely by the impact of COVID-19 on the world, general job-related stress and the economy. Fewer than one in 10 respondents (8%) reported not feeling any particular level of stress over this period.

 

For the 42% of respondents who saw their financial situation worsen due to COVID-19, the impact of this was reflected in general stress levels, and also felt in terms of quality of sleep and relationships.

 

Despite an undeniably tough year, it’s not all bad news. When asked about the outlook for their family, 70% of respondents reported feeling positive about the future and 67% believe lockdown strengthened their family unit, with many reporting a greater sense of happiness, and better communication as a result.”

 

Here is a list of the key findings: 

Parents’ biggest health-related concerns for their children:

·       Behavioural issues – 34% (up 13% from last year) 

·       Diet and exercise – 33% 

·       Sleep (lack of, too much, pattern changes) – 31% 

·       Stress levels – 31%

Biggest behavioural concerns, with episodes lasting two weeks or longer (as experienced pre-, during and post-lockdown): 

· Pre-school children – prolonged episodes of irritability, anger and short-temperedness. 

§  12% pre-lockdown, 28% during lockdown, 25% post-lockdown

· Primary and intermediate children – prolonged episodes of irritability, anger and short-temperedness. 

§  17% pre-lockdown, 32% during and 28% post-lockdown

·       High school children – prolonged episodes of decreased motivation. 

§  12% pre-lockdown, 37% during lockdown, 23% post-lockdown

 

Biggest personal impacts of lockdown – experienced by parents themselves: 

·       Decreased motivation – 13% pre lockdown, 29% during lockdown, 28% post-lockdown

·       Decreased energy – 14% pre-lockdown, 29% during lockdown, 30% post-lockdown

·       Feeling overwhelmed – 19% pre-lockdown, 33% during lockdown, 31% post-lockdown 

·       Declining performance at work – 5% pre-lockdown, 14% during lockdown, 13% post-lockdown

 

Parents’ biggest sources of personal stress: 

·       Financial uncertainty - 39% of respondents

·       The impact of COVID-19 on the world - 36%

·       General job-related stress - 34%

·       The economy - 34%

 

Impact of lockdown on family unit: 

·       Greatly strengthened family unit – 24%

·       Somewhat strengthened family unit – 43% 

·       Made no difference to family dynamics / relations – 28%

·       Somewhat weakened family unit – 4%

·       Greatly weakened family unit – 1%

 

Parents’ outlook for the future of their families: 

·       Very positive – 22%

·       Positive – 48% 

·       Neutral – 18%

·       Concerned – 2%

·       Extremely concerned – 2%

·       Don’t know / unsure – 8%

 

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