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

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nib announce seminar series, and more daily news

nib has announced seminar series dedicated working together to protect, connect and empower nib members. The seminars will focus on nib’s new benefit option and the First Choice Network of health providers. Case studies and claim stories will be shared throughout the seminar. Benefits of nib First Choice, the selection process, and the development will be explored. How the Find a Provider directory can help empower members will also be discussed. Speakers include: Chris Carnall, Andrew Hurley, Dirk Labuschagne, Arishma Singh, Steph Walker, Andrew O’Hagan, and Sara Williams. Click here to register

“You’re invited to attend our upcoming seminar series where you’ll learn more about how together we can protect, connect and empower your clients, our members, to achieve enhanced health outcomes, and where we will launch our much-anticipated new benefit option!

There are two big focuses for our seminar series. First – we’ll reveal our most anticipated new benefit option. We believe this will make a positive difference for many of our members and encourage advisers to have healthy conversations with their clients.

We’ll also provide a refresher on our First Choice Network of health providers and how the revamped Find a Provider directory can enable you to connect and empower your clients to better choices in the provision of their health care.

What We’ll Cover

Product Launch

·         Introducing our new product benefit option

·         Case studies and claims stories

Find a Provider – nib First Choice

·         Benefits of nib First Choice and how the network was developed to help our members choose their health providers

·         How the network has contributed to a reduction in medical inflation and consequential premium increases

·         How nib selects and manages First Choice health providers”

Nib seminar speakers

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Quality Product Research: nib non-PHARMAC Plus option now live on Quotemonster

We have recently added nibs non-PHARMAC Plus option to our product range on Quotemonster. non-PHARMAC Plus ranges from $20,000 to $300,000, is available through both adviser and group business channels, and can be added to new or existing hospital covers (i.e. Ultimate Health Max) however only available to existing members on legacy products from 5th July 2021. 

The Addon is designed to offer customers more access to potentially life-saving treatments not publically funded by PHARMAC, are Medsafe approved and have been prescribed or administered in line with Medsafe’s guidelines – not just cancer treatments.

The benefit covers the cost of these medicines where nib has accepted a claim for treatment and where the non-PHARMAC drugs are used in a private hospital or at home for up to six months after being admitted to hospital for treatment. The benefit also covers any drug administration costs. Additionally, there are no waiting periods when members choose to add this option to their policy.

You can select the nib non-PHARMAC Plus options in your Product Settings screen: 

Nin

 

Nib_non-PHARMAC Plus_logo

Please email us should you wish to discuss this further or would like to provide feedback.

Doreen Dutt, Research Analyst, Quality Product Research Limited, researcher@qpresearch.co.nz

 

 

 

 

 


nib announce grant programme, and more daily news  

nib foundation has launched Health Smart Grants, its first New Zealand grant programme. The grant is designed to support registered charities that work to improve the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. nib has noted that there are three $40,000 grants available. nib New Zealand CEO, Rob Hennin has said that he is looking forward to seeing the impact the Health Smart Grants programme will have. nib foundation Executive Officer, Amy Tribe has said that Health Smart Grants will help in creating a healthier landscape. Expression of Interest applications are open until 30 June 2021. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal in mid-August.

“nib foundation, the charitable entity of leading health insurer, nib New Zealand (nib), has today launched its first Kiwi grant programme, called the Health Smart Grants. Designed to support registered charities dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of Kiwis and our rangatahi (youth and young adults), there are three Health Smart Grants of $40,000 up for grabs. 

 

nib foundation Executive Officer, Amy Tribe, said being able to offer the Health Smart Grants to Kiwi charities, is an important step towards creating a healthier landscape across both sides of the Tasman.

 

“Chronic conditions account for more than 80% of all deaths in New Zealand, but over a third of this health burden is avoidable. And with an ageing population and contributing lifestyle risk factors on the rise, it’s expected to continue to increase unless there’s adequate intervention,” Mrs Tribe said

 

“The good news is, in so many cases, these conditions can be prevented by addressing modifiable factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, alcohol use and smoking. We know there are many amazing organisations in New Zealand doing great things in the community, so we hope word spreads about this opportunity,” Ms Tribe said. 

 

The Health Smart Grants are designed to provide a healthy funding boost to charities specialising in prevention and that are using innovative ways to empower and educate Kiwis to be health smart in their everyday lives. Initiatives that are inclusive and relevant in supporting our rangatahi to achieve improved health and wellbeing outcomes will be given preference. 

 

nib New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Rob Hennin, said he is looking forward to seeing the impact the Health Smart Grants programme can make for Kiwis and their health.

 

“There’s a huge opportunity to prevent and better manage the chronic conditions that exist among our community today. It’s time more investment is placed in this space and I hope that those working in the charitable sector driving these kinds of behaviour changes apply, as the work they do is truly life changing,” said Mr Hennin. 

 

Expression of Interest (EOI) applications are open from 1 - 30 June 2021. Following this, shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal in mid-August for the opportunity to receive a $40,000 grant.

 

To submit an EOI, visit: www.nib.com.au/foundation/apply 

 

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Screen Shot 2021-06-02 at 1.07.24 PM

 

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Partners Life on benefits of private health care, and more daily news

Partners Life Managing Director Naomi Ballantyne has shared some insights into the benefits of medical insurance and private health care. Ballantyne has said the difference in available treatments, waiting times, and procedure time limits in public and private health care can be vast. Ballantyne has said that the key benefits of medical insurance are having individual-specific treatments available and hospitals not bulk buying treatments. Ballantyne has expanded by saying that unlike public health care providers, the private system offers every option available, with a focus on options more specific to each circumstance. Ballantyne has noted that the only limitation to private health care is ensuring treatments are Medsafe approved and approved by specialists.

“New Zealand’s public health system takes care of millions of Kiwis each year, but when it comes to treating more complex illnesses, the benefits of having private health insurance are often not well understood – and, according to Partners Life MD Naomi Ballantyne, the difference in available treatments can be huge.

The limitations of the public system include the types of drugs it has access to, waiting times, and the time limits set on certain procedures - all of which Ballantyne says can make a significant difference to somebody’s treatment process, particularly when dealing with a physically and emotionally difficult illness, such as cancer.

She said that access to individual-specific treatments is one of the key benefits of having medical insurance, as these types of treatments are not usually subsidised and can be expensive to access without an insurer’s help.

“The public system ‘bulk-buys’ their treatments, whereas the advantage of the private system is that it doesn’t need to do that,” Ballantyne said.

“In the private system, you are offered every option that you can get, and these options are often more specific to an individual’s circumstances rather than everyone just being given the same type of chemo, for example. In the private system, the doctors can offer drugs that are specific to a person who has a certain type of illness at a specific stage, and if you have private insurance, that’s all funded.”

“As a private insurer, we are not limited to whether something is subsidised or not,” Ballantyne explained.

“We’re only limited to whether it is Medsafe approved and whether your specialist has recommended that for you. That’s a huge difference between someone who is just given a generic treatment through the public system, or someone who has to sell off their assets to try and pay for a specific drug that isn’t subsidised.” Click here to read more

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Accuro announces digital partnership, and more daily news

Accuro CEO Lance Walker has announced that Accuro has partnered with Optimation, a digital technology solutions provider, to develop a system to support innovation, efficiency, and a provide faster and more personalised digital customer services. Walker has said that the system will allow Accuro to better support new and existing members as well as helping to ensure future product implementations are more efficient. The new system will be at the center of the daily operation of Accuro, including managing policies, onboarding new members, choosing and changing plans, pricing, processing preapproval and claims, and providing services to members. The new system will help to minimise manual processes.

“According to Accuro chief executive Lance Walker, the company has teamed up with Wellington-based digital technology solutions provider Optimation to develop a new system to support innovation, efficiency, and provide faster, more personalised, digital customer services.

“As a not-for-profit cooperative insurer we are focused on delivering great customer experiences for our members and ensuring that our processes and technology enable that,” says Walker.

“This new system will allow us to better support our new and existing members and future proof us so that adding new products and services and responding to changes in the market is quicker and easier.”

The policy administration system is at the heart of Accuro’s day to day operations, including managing policies, onboarding new members, choosing and changing plans, pricing, processing preapproval and claims, and providing services to members.

“One of the real benefits we are targeting is a reduction in manual processes, which limits the ability of our team to focus on added value member servicing, and can impact on processing time and accuracy,” says Walker.” Click here to read more

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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