Southern Cross announces new product availability for advisers, and more daily news

In a package of announcements, including senior team role changes, probably the most significant is that Southern Cross has announced that their entire product set is now available to advisers to offer to their clients. 

 

Southern Cross has confirmed that there are now 884,000 people insured with Southern Cross. The use of CareHQ to release new products during the past few months were also noted. The enhancements of the  Cancer Cover Plus product has also been highlighted.  New group business is now the same price regardless of the channel used. A new National Sales Manager role has been created to support BDMs and Premium Partner network. Southern Cross has also noted that there is now a closer engagement between Premium Partners and the Southern Cross Executive Team. Southern Cross has announced a number of appointments, Margaret Smith has been appointed as Head of Business Engagement. Ryan Koppens has been appointed as Head of Sales Experience. Janet Osborne will continue to lead the BDM team with a focus on the Premium Partner programme. 

 

It has been quite some time since our last communication, Christmas and a fantastic summer have come and almost gone and we have seen much change in the last few months with more COVID-19 lockdowns in Auckland, good news in the form of the vaccine rollout and trans-Tasman travel bubble, and significant regulatory change with the introduction of the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act.

 

Through this period Southern Cross has continued to grow well ahead of expectations, and we now have 884k members who choose to insure their health with us. We’ve also delivered new products to market with our CareHQ virtual GP service, and our enhanced cancer care module Cancer Cover Plus.

 

Our support teams, front line call centre and BDM teams have all been working hard to meet your expectations as like you, we respond to a constantly changing environment. We have delivered significant change over the last few years to bring our adviser and direct channels closer together, including the following:

 

·       Our entire product set is now available for sale by our advisers

·       New group business opportunities are priced the same in the market regardless of channel

·       Creation of a National Sales Manager role for advisers to support the BDM team and our Premium Partner network

·       Closer engagement for our Premium Partners with the Southern Cross Executive Team

 

It’s vital that we deliver great customer experiences regardless of the customer’s choice of channel. So more than ever, a strong network of advisers is a priority for Southern Cross.

 

To that end, we are now taking further steps to support our adviser channel, and I’m excited to announce the following:

 

Margaret Smith has been appointed to a new role of Head of Business Engagement - many of you will remember Margaret from her time running the adviser channel.  Margaret’s remit is to strengthen our growth and align our teams in the adviser and corporate markets right across the country. Her team now incorporates all of our B2B account managers across the country.

 

Janet Osborne will continue to lead our BDM team, with prime responsibility for the Premium Partner programme, reporting to Margaret Smith and supported by Jamie Mellow as BDM Key Account Manager (Janet’s 2IC). We will also hire a new BDM executive to alleviate pressure on our BDMs and enable them to be more responsive to you - our Premium Partners.

  

Ryan Koppens has been appointed to a new role of Head of Sales Experience.  He will be picking up all of our operational and support teams that service our adviser channel and our direct sales teams.  He will also have responsibility for our customer-facing sales teams (phone-based and in-person) across Aotearoa.  Ryan’s remit is to ensure that the sales experience for our customers is always optimal, regardless of channel. 

 

Our goal with these changes is to support you with more dedicated and better aligned teams across Southern Cross, as well as a revitalised support structure to enable faster responses to advisers and their customers.

 

You can have absolute confidence that Ryan, Margaret and Janet will work together to support a unified approach to growth and a commitment to outstanding customer experiences and support. 

In other news

Fidelity Life: Fidelity Life has said that advisers must complete their accreditation before the end of June 2021

From Good returns: It's time to get serious about advice

From Good returns: [GRTV] Ballantyne talks about PI cover and industry movements

FMA: snapshot of sector

FA sector snapshot


Quality Product Research: Medical - major review process commenced for Medical Amount Scores

Introduction

Medical costs in our country continue to rise significantly causing increases to Health Insurance. In New Zealand, the medical inflation rate is estimated to be around 9-11%

Although we update the amount scores with every product change it is time we reviewed all our medical amount scores.

We have therefore started the process of a major review.

Theme of review

The themes of this review are:

  1. A focus on how claims scenario differs between males and females
  2. Revising to ensure a clear and concise scenario used across all insurers

Review process

  • We have alerted advisers and insurers to our plan to do a review and asked for data on the themes above. Changes will be based on our view of all the information sent to us.
  • We will then publish our proposed scenario openly for feedback.
  • Further changes may be made at this stage.

Timeline for review

April – advise review started

May – review claims information

June – consult on claims scenario

July – implement revised scoring

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: Health Insurance - major review process commenced for exclusions item rating

Introduction

Medical insurance is one of the most hotly contested areas of product comparison. Adjustments are made frequently to many features. Exclusions, however, are complex and difficult to compare. Although we update our exclusions ratings with every new product change released it is time to review the method and balance of the scoring of these items. We have therefore started the process of a major review.

Theme of review

The themes of this review are:

  1. A thorough review of all terms
  2. A focus on the relative weighting of the terms
  3. Calling for claims examples of how the terms are applied

Review process

We have alerted advisers and insurers to our plan to do a review and asked for data on the themes above. Changes will be based on our view of all the information sent to us.

We will then publish a model for changes to the guide scores for exclusions sub-items and ask for input on the proposed new model. Further changes may be made at this stage.

We are seeking claims examples for the review. Further changes may be made at this stage.

Timeline for review

March - advise review started

April - review claims information

May - consult on new model for rating

June - implement revised ratings

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


Fidelity Life announce customer research, and more daily news

Fidelity Life has announced that it will be conducting customer research on new products and potential service improvements through Qualtrics. The research is intended to understand what is working and what isn’t. Fidelity Life has revealed that new advisers have already been involved in the research. More advisers will be utilised in future research.

“We’ll shortly be kicking off some research with customers about new product ideas and service improvements with the aim of finding out what they like, so we can do more of it, and what they don’t like, so we can make improvements. Don’t worry, we won’t be bombarding them!

As valued distribution partners, we’re keen to involve you along the way. The insights will not only support how we shape our products to better meet the needs of the market but will also provide us with valuable data on their preferences when it comes to customer experience.

From time to time we’ll share a summary of the findings with you, and hope you’ll find them valuable in supporting your interactions with customers and improve their overall experience with Fidelity Life.

We’ve already experimented in engaging a few advisers in this research so we can enhance your experience and improve the way in which we work with you. We intend to do more of this in the future too, more on that to come.

We’re working with a trusted and established partner in this space and using their survey platform – Qualtrics. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch”

In other news

From Stuff: Waiting in Pain: People without money and insurance the ones who suffer - a particularly valuable piece updating us on the situation with waiting lists and the process before that, even to get properly diagnosed. A powerful argument for having a plan and having insurance. 

FMA: March 2021 – A new financial advice regime begins for New Zealand


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

In other news

Fidelity Life: Apollo, eApp and Adviser Centre set to be improved to better customer experience - no further details announced yet

Fidelity Life: Fidelity Life announced that they will be introducing a new commission framework - no further details announced yet

From Goodreturns: Predictions for 2021 – from the Laird’s Desk

Southern Cross Travel Insurance: Southern Cross Travel Insurance awarded WriteMark for new 'plain language' domestic policy


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

In other news

Southern Cross: Insurer promises to “build momentum” and enhance products at AGM

AIA: Belief in oneself key to empowering women


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.