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


QPR: group life and health product research

Many advisers come across clients who have cover with a major employer group scheme and would like to be able to access research to support recommendations to either retain, replace, or dispose of this cover. "Wrap-around cover" with very high excess levels so that benefits such as good non-Pharmac drugs coverage can be offered is a common component of advice - but understanding what is actually covered already is a key part of making any effective recommendation. As many of these groups have terms and conditions specific to them, or are at least based on a different 'foundation' product to current retail offers, it is not simply a matter of looking at current retail policies. Therefore, we are often asked if we compare group life and health insurance on Quotemonster as part of the quality product research service. QPR does not, although at times Chatswood does, offer bespoke comparison to larger adviser groups and insurers - this is not an economic solution for most advisers. However, we are now defining the scope of work to add group life and health comparison to the site. If you would like a say in how the new service works we would be delighted to hear from you. In particular we would like to know what the most common group schemes you come across are and which you would most like us to provide research on. Please send your comments to either Treena Jordan, Doreen Dutt, or me.


FYI: Southern Cross Plan Comparison

Southern Cross offers a multitude of direct and adviser products. On Quotemonster we currently only offer the following products, however are looking to include more in future:

  • Wellbeing 1 (WB1)
  • Wellbeing 2 (by choosing WB1 and selecting Specialists and Tests as included we move to Wellbeing 2)
  • Wellbeing (either 1 or 2) + Chemotherapy 100
  • Wellbeing (either 1 or 2) + Chemotherapy 300

In order to include the Cancer Cover Plus upgrades - Chemo 100 and Chemo 300, you can do so by selecting the product in your "Settings" screen (as per our screenshot below)

SX

If you wish to compare some of the benefits within a Southern Cross product, here is a Plan Comparison Chart that provides a general idea.

Happy Crunching!


Quality Product Research: QPR database update V145

Quality Product Research works continually to update our product ratings. We have just distributed the QPR Database V145 to subscribers which includes the following changes:

 

* Medical Exclusions Major Review - all insurers

* Partners Life - new policy document effective 12/07/2021

> Income & Expenses Cover and Moderate Trauma rated

> Enhancements effective 12/07/2021

 

* AIA enhancements to Trauma & IP/MP effective 23/07/2021

* Pinnacle Life - new policy document loaded

> Life: no rating changes

> IP: no rating changes

> TPD Any Occ Accelerated rated

> Trauma: minor rating changes

* Reviews:

> Trauma

- Osteoporosis re-rate for all companies

- Asteron - Trauma Reinstatement replaces continuous Trauma in TBB

> IP/MP

- Total Disability Class 1&2 5yr for PL

> Life

- Financial Planning & Legal - re-rate for all companies

- Grief and Funeral Support - re-rate for all companies

- Business Future Insurability (optional) added to PL


FSC health insurance sector snapshot ,and more daily news

The FSC found that a total of $1.5 billion in health insurance claims were paid since July 2020. The snapshot also highlighted that $400 million in claims were paid in the three months to June 2021. Of the estimated 5.1 million New Zealand residents, 1.42 million have health insurance cover as of June 2021. FSC health committee chairman Lance Walker has noted that an increasing number of young New Zealanders view health cover as an important part of their financial and overall wellbeing, with 1 in 3 health insurance customers under 30. 

“The Financial Services Council (FSC) released its latest health insurance sector snapshot, showing a total of $1.5 billion in claims have been paid to New Zealander's since July 2020.

This is an increase of just under $60 million in comparison to the previous three month period with the data also showing that more than 1.4 million Kiwis have some form of health cover.

“Although the current lockdown has impacted the availability of private health services, with most elective surgeries being postponed, we expect to see services restored as New Zealand moves down alert levels,” says FSC chief executive Richard Klipin.

“Importantly, customers will remain covered for any medical conditions that they may develop during the lockdown period.”

FSC health committee chairman Lance Walker says more younger Kiwis view health cover as an important part of their financial and overall wellbeing, showing that around 1 in 3 customers with health cover are under the age of 30.

He says last year, orthopaedic surgery, cancer and gynaecological treatments were the top three areas of support funded by health insurers.” Click here to read more

FSCJuneInsurance

In other news

FSC: FSC Connect: Leading Lawyers

FSC: Building Resilience and Maintaining Wellbeing Through Lockdowns

FSC: The why, what, when and how of climate-related disclosure in Aotearoa New Zealand

FSC: FSC's Diversity and Inclusion Committee established in August. FSC is accepting expressions of interest to be involved

FSC: FSC is reviewing upcoming events, including the FSC ReGenerations Conference

FSC: Get In Shape Session 19: Business Continuity Plans and Cyber Security


Income protection concerns for the self-employed and other daily news

In the UK, where the gig economy is more developed than it is here, policy makers are worried that varieties of social protections designed for full-time employment are not going to work so well in the 2st century labour market. These include pensions (to us, superannuation), holidays, and insurance. Income protection in particular is under the spotlight because, at the same time as self-employment is growing rapidly, it seems that income protection is shrinking rapidly. Income cover has become more and more restrictive for the self-employed as insurers have grappled with long-term claims with hard-to-pin-down signs and symptoms. This sounds familiar. In fact, it sounds like our future if the APRA changes mandated to ensure the sustainability of income protection eventually end up being adopted here. The essence of the problems with income protection for the self employed is a lack of flexibility in the product. That is exactly what insurers are struggling with too. If both want more flexibility it looks like there is room for a new kind of IP product for the self-employed. 

Other daily news

Fidelity Life rolled out August Lockdown mix-tape on Spotify – some fun and simple initiatives for people working from home. Link here: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/fidelity-life-company-ltd_august-lockdown-mix-tape-activity-6836487685444636672-OcWj

Fidelity Life has advertised a new role for Head of Risk and Operational Compliance. More info and the Seek.co.nz link here: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/angelareddy_head-of-risk-operational-compliance-job-activity-6835715862239031296-rVZJ

Asteron Life providing product innovation by listening to customers and advisers. Link here: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/asteron-life-limited_asteron-life-supporters-for-life-activity-6836047658919055361-Y_3g

Stuff published a handy guide to the interaction between ACC, health insurance, and harm if you get an allergic reaction to the vaccine against COVID-19 (a very rare eventuality, but there are some instances of this). Essentially, you are covered by ACC and your personal health insurance is unaffected. Link


Quality Product Research: Medical Exclusions Major Review Update

After many months of discussion and consultation, we are pleased to say we have finally put together a comprehensive list of Medical Exclusions and would like to publish this with the next release of our database. Although most insurers work on a case by case basis in regards to claims, we have based our rating on the policy document rather than general statements or current claims 'practice' which it is not possible for us to assess. We value each and every piece of feedback we have received and would like to share the list we have  updated here - Download Medical Exclusions 2021 

The list is more comprehensive and so total scores (which in exclusions result in negative scores) are higher. A reminder however, that these are still constrained by the weighting for exclusions as a whole within the product, so this does not represent any increase in the weighting for exclusions in the overall rating. There are, of course, some variations between the old approach and the new more comprehensive view. There are some weighting issues still to address. The exclusion impact for HIV is probably slightly too high given its population incidence. There is an argument that this disorder should be insurable now. 

Our grateful thanks to the insurers that participated in the consultation. Adviser interested in the sub-items for the exclusions under medical should contact us directly (email for our researcher, Doreen Dutt is below) if you would like to discuss the ratings. We shall compile a list of names and see if there is sufficient interest for us to run a special feedback session. Please feel free to email through any comments to researcher@qpresearch.co.nz as this helps to improve the accuracy and relevance of our ratings. 


Cancer treatment in New Zealand and the need for diagnostics cover

Several advisers have shared this article about a woman's journey to get a cancer diagnosis. On Tuesday night I sat through a harrowing personal account of a man who cancelled medical insurance shortly before his wife started experiencing symptoms similar to those described in the article. Like the woman in the article, he related a story about his wife having trouble being taken seriously by their GP. I know that this must he hard for GPs. I also suspect that we may not be doing enough tests. The video tells us we do not fund enough cancer drugs. Like the woman in this article, the man I spoke with wished he had acted earlier, and if they had retained their medical insurance, maybe diagnosis would have been quicker. Unlike this woman, who has private treatment and is still fighting her cancer battle, his wife died. He blames himself. It's rough, but watch the video. I prescribe it for anyone contemplating cancelling their medical cover. 


Detailed schedule of Partners Life Product Changes and Benefit Improvements

Partners Life Product Changes and Benefit improvements 

Special Events Increase benefit limits increased from 75% to 100% for aggregated sum insured and new special event added

Counselling Benefit increased “use by” time to 12 months after claim

Financial and Legal Advice Benefit increased “use by” time to 12 months after claim and the maximum benefit increased to $3,000

Special Events Increase deal on offer to customers who missed policy anniversaries. Customers will have a have an additional 12 months added to their 60-day time limit that applies to their immediate past anniversary

Dependent Child Funeral Support Benefit updated to include unborn child age moving to 20 weeks or weighing more than 400 grams

Bed Confinement Benefit added under the daily care of a registered nurse as an alternative requirement

Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, Aplastic Anaemia, HIV (medical acquired), Multiple Sclerosis, Major Organ Transplant, Diabetes definitions changed in Trauma Cover

Non-surgical Benefit (Private Hospital and Serious Illness Benefits) annual limit increased from $300,000 to $500,000

New Public Treatment Top-Up Benefit means Partners Life will pay for some treatments after customer has covered treatment in public system.  

$5,000 maximum limit removed for Second Opinion Benefit (Private Medical Cover)

New cover for mental health consultations has a maximum of $2,500 under Surgical and Non-surgical Benefits (Private Hospital and Serious Illness Benefits)

Optional Specialists and Test now includes Podiatrist as a specialist for consultations

Cancer definition simplified in Excess Waiver Benefit.

 

Income and Expenses Cover

Income and Expenses Cover is designed to include sustainability features, remove over-insurance and moral hazard opportunity, and provide customer support

Benefit is the greater of pre-disability income less offset x 75% of life assured’s share of pre-disability monthly domestic expenses

The cover term for Income Cover and Expenses Cover is to age 65 with payments term options of 2 years, 5 years and to age 65

Pre-disability income is the same as Income Cover

Disabled for occupation classes 1-4 includes 10 hours or 75% of activities but it moves from own to reasonable occupation after 12 months

Customers will be considered to be in occupation class 5 if they have been unemployed, on unpaid leave, working less than 25 a week, incarcerated in a penal institution, or legally barred 12 months before disability

Income Cover offsets apply to Income Cover and Expenses Cover

Income and Expenses Cover has a payment term restriction that applies for medically unevidenced claims. These are not a fixed restriction for mental health claims

Unevidenced claims in the Income and Expenses Cover are paid for up to 12 months

Fixed payment terms reset for new disability for the Income and Expenses Cover, although customers must be back to full time work for more than 12 months to reset.

Disability within 12 months of claim for any reason is a recurrent disability

Income and Expenses Cover ancillary benefits include Bed Confinement Benefit, Return to Work Benefit, Increasing Income Benefit, Recovery Support Benefit (reduced to 6x SI), and Vocational Retraining and Rehabilitation Benefit (reduced to 3x SI or max $10,000)

Income and Expenses Cover ancillary benefits don’t include Lump sum TPD, Critical Illness Benefit, Specific Injury Benefit, Child Care Assistance Benefit, Death Benefit, and Return to Home Benefit

YRT option only applies.

Moderate Trauma Cover

Partners Life desires to get back to the principle of indemnification meaning that customers don’t need claims paid unless they have financial losses, and they don’t need to pay premiums that doesn’t indemnify against loss

Moderate Trauma Cover allows price efficiency, cutting out claims with immaterial financial consequences. This enables customers to afford higher sums insured.

Moderate Trauma Cover will mean future prices will be sustainable and will allow advisers to fine tune severity based on trauma solutions

Moderate Trauma Cover will have more defined conditions for Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, Aplastic Anaemia, Angioplasty, Blindness, Cardiomyopathy, Chromic Kidney Failure, Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Attack, Intensive Care, Loss of Cognitive Function, Motor Neurone Disease and Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, Stroke.

Designed to be 20% cheaper than Trauma Cover (TC), price differential expected to grow

Designed to be a mid-range trauma cover (between TC and Serious Trauma Cover)

No built-in TPD, customers that need TDP will need to take TPD Cover.

Moderate Trauma Cover can be combined with TC and STC to create a severity-based trauma option.