Cigna: multi-benefit discount campaign details

Cigna has announced a multi-benefit discount campaign for customers over 30. The discounts applies to all new Assurance Extra policies issued on or after 9 September 2020. Depending on a customer’s age and the number of qualifying benefits they choose to take up alongside their Life or Life Income Cover, the discount amount will vary. As a result, policies with multiple people may have different levels of discounts applied. Alternatively, a single policy may only have discounts applied to certain covers.

The discounts available are:

  • 3% for customers aged 30-39 who take out LIFE + one or more other qualifying benefit
  • 5% for customers aged 40+ who take out LIFE + one other qualifying benefit
  • 7% for customers aged 40+ who take out LIFE + two or more other qualifying benefits

To be eligible customers must have a Life Cover in place and have a minimum sum insured amount of $200,000 and have a minimum of one qualifying cover.  Covers selected from the same group will be considered as one qualifying benefit in the discount calculations. Please refer to the table below for more details.

Selection

Benefit Group

Minimum Sum Insured

Covers that qualifies under the benefit group

Mandatory

LIFE

$200,000

Life Cover

Life Income Cover*

Optional

TRAUMA

$100,000

Trauma Cover - accelerated

Trauma Cover - standalone

COMPLETEDISABLE

$200,000

Complete Disablement Cover - accelerated

Complete Disablement Cover - standalone

MONTHLY DISABILITY

$2,000 per month

Income Cover - Agreed Value

Income Cover - Indemnity

Income Cover - Loss of Earnings

Income Cover - Loss of Earnings Ultra

Mortgage Repayment Cover

 


Partners Life update waiting period restriction on QFA, and more daily news

Partners Life has announced that the waiting period restrictions for self-employed customers have been lifted from QFA. The revision to waiting periods was applied to Quote and MUM immediately after the announcement in July. The update to QFA means that advisers can quote all wait period options for their existing clients’ Income Cover, Mortgage Repayment Cover and Household Expenses Cover.

 

“In late July this year we announced a revision to our restrictions on waiting periods for self-employed customers, allowing you to quote all waiting periods on Income Cover (Indemnity Loss of Earnings), Mortgage Repayment Cover and Household Expenses Cover.

 

“The system changes were applied immediately to Quote and MUM allowing you to quote and apply for cover for new clients. The system updates to Quote for Alteration (QFA) required additional time to implement and we advised short-term workarounds to quote on waiting period changes for your existing clients.

Today we are happy to confirm that restrictions on waiting periods for self-employed customers have now been removed from QFA.

Effective immediately you can now quote all wait period options for your existing clients’ Income Cover (Indemnity Loss of Earnings), Mortgage Repayment Cover and Household Expenses Cover.

In other news:

Fidelity Life: MedScreen is currently not operating in Auckland, MedScreen paramedical visits are still happening in other regions

Fidelity Life: it is recommend that all new business is submitted via e-App

Women in Insurance New Zealand goes virtual

FSC: Get In Shape Session 7: Using Technology to make your business more effective

 


Insurer wins argument over chronic pain claim, and more daily news

The Court of Appeal revealed its verdict on the case between Asteron Life and financial adviser Peter Taylor. According to the story: Peter Taylor made an Income Protection claim in 2010 saying that as a result of his bone cancer he was suffering from chronic pain. Peter was able to get payments after supplying the required information on his medical condition and ability to work, but in 2014 Asteron Life suspended the payments stating Peter’s earnings made him ineligible for payments.

"The Court of Appeal released its judgment on Wednesday.

Taylor first took an Asteron Life income protection policy in 1994 and made a claim in 2010, saying he had bone cancer and suffered chronic pain.

Taylor was required to provide progress reports to Asteron describing the current state of his medical condition, whether he had been able to work, what income he had earned from working, and certain other matters.

He received payments until September 2014, when Asteron suspended them. It was concerned that he was earning at a level that would make him ineligible.”

Unhappy, Peter went to court arguing that he was still entitled to payments.  Asteron Life stated that he was no longer entitled to payments and counterclaimed for repayment of the amount paid out to Peter. The court noted that Peter used the payments for holiday homes, cars and overseas trips and ruled in favour of Asteron Life. The insurer was awarded $371,286.70.

“Taylor went to court seeking a declaration that he was entitled to continuing benefits under the policy, and wanting arrears of payments.

Asteron denied he was entitled to any further payments and counterclaimed for repayment of all sums previously paid.

It said he had made false statements about the extent to which he worked while on claim.

The High Court sided with Asteron and it was awarded $371,286.70. That court noted that he had used his insurance payouts to fund a holiday home, cars and overseas trips.”

Peter then took the case to Court of Appeal. The judge again ruled in favour of Asteron Life saying that Asteron Life was entitled to a reduced counterclaim payment of $51,835.64.

”The Court of Appeal said Asteron was entitled to succeed in its counterclaim but could only recover payments made in respect of the periods about which Taylor was found to have dishonestly provided false information.

“The judge declined to find that the initial claim made in July 2010 involved false statements that breached Taylor’s obligations in relation to making claims. So Asteron’s claim as pleaded, which was founded solely on the allegation of breach of utmost good faith, could not succeed in respect of the initial period from January 2010 to July 22, 2010.

“There may well have been another basis on which the payments made in respect of that period could have been recovered. But they were not pleaded by Asteron, and Asteron did not give notice that it intended to support the High Court judgment on grounds other than those accepted by the judge.”

That reduced the amount owed to Asteron by $51,835.64. Taylor has since sold his insurance broking business. Click here to read more

In other news:

Financial Advice webinar: Economic Update by Economist Tony Alexander

Financial Advice: 2020 Conference registration

AIA: COVID-19 UPDATE


New Premium Comparison data base Version 110

A new copy of the Premium Comparison database version 11 is now being delivered to institutional subscribers. 

Changes in this version

Updated Fidelity Life rates effective 1/8/20 for:

  • Income Protection and Mortgage Protection ‘To Age 65’
  • Level Trauma

Added new level premium ‘to age 70’ price points for Income and Mortgage Protection

Added new sums assured of 90K and 120k per annum for IP and 60K per annum for MP.


Incentives for the right behaviour, and more daily news

Victoria University’s Economics of Disasters and Climate Change Chair Ilan Noy made a few suggestions when addressing Insurance Council members. To begin Noy pointed out that insurers could incentivize more clients to take out policies by introducing products that offer a greater scope of cover.

“Victoria University of Wellington’s Economics of Disasters and Climate Change Chair Ilan Noy said that, at the moment, insurance doesn’t realistically incentivise risk reduction as much as it needs to. He says part of this needs to happen through lobbying the government to make certain changes, but also potentially providing new products with an increased scope of cover.”

A common issue faced by clients during the lockdown was confusion over their cover limits. To minimize confusion, Noy encouraged insurers to either introduce new products or adjust current risk limits.

“Noy says insurance can also incentivise customers to directly reduce their own risk, and its other crucial role is improving and speeding up recovery from an event. He says a major problem during the COVID-19 pandemic has been confusion over limits of cover, and this may need to be remedied with new products or adjusted risk limits.” Click here to read more

The question of directly incentivising behaviour that reduces risk is always vexed. There are two main levers for providing feedback on risks that are controversial: the first is the willingness to offer cover or not, the second is the price for cover. These are strong, market-based, mechanisms which are employed all the time. A I know of a couple who first took proper control of their adult onset diabetes when they were deferred for cover by an insurer - it suddenly became real for them. I also know that insurers are routinely criticised for not offering cover to people they deem uninsurable as this is seen as 'unfair'. I also know that when insurers charge more for certain risks - for example, housing in coastal districts and earthquake zones - they are again criticsed heavily for a lack of 'fairness'. In a country where we have made desperately slow progress on climate change this price signal should be celebrated. 

The link between product design and incentives also reminded us to link to the question of IP pricing and product design - see below. 

Price is an incentive. In many activities, it is time to pay attention to it.

In other news:

Fidelity Life: two roles in the design team are being advertised  

FMA: Head of Banking/Insurance role being advertised

FMA: FMA publishes derivatives issuer Sector Risk Assessment

Should we be warning consumers about IP prices?


Partners Life reverse waiting period for self-employed clients, and more daily news

After making changes to underwriting guidelines for self-employed customers earlier this year Partners Life received feedback that they used to further improve processes. Adviser feedback focused on the 4 week waiting period for Income Cover, Mortgage Repayment Cover, and Household Expenses Cover.

“One of the changes we made was to restrict the waiting period options to only 4 weeks for self-employed clients across these products. This change was designed to facilitate early engagement with claims case managers when a self-employed customer had become disabled. We determined that longer waiting periods would make early intervention and return to work management much less effective.

While we still believe this to be the case, we also understand that forcing a shorter waiting period onto customers can impact on affordability and can also cause issues for advisers when trying to combine business cover such as Loss of Revenue with personal income protection products. In addition, we appreciate that shorter waiting periods do expose us to more claims because we get all the shorter ones and we pay more for the longer-term claims (because we start paying sooner).


We know from your feedback that this restriction of waiting period choice has been a significant issue”.

Based on the feedback received, Partners Life are implementing the previous waiting period effective July 23, 2020.

“In response to your concerns, and because we believe our other changes will provide enough of the protection we are seeking, we are reversing the restriction on waiting period options for self-employed clients with effect from Thursday 23 July 2020.”

In other news:

The Insurance (Prompt Settlement of Claims for Uninhabitable Residential Property) Bill was read a first time in Parliament and referred to the Governance and Administration Committee.

Department of Internal Affairs: Department of Internal Affairs released a summary of its AML/CFT findings in relation to the legal sector.

Financial Advice: Financial Advice New Zealand Free Webinar Series


Partners Life: self employed wait periods change

Partners Life has decided to allow a return to permitting wait periods longer than four weeks for self-employed clients. From their email announcement yesterday: 

One of the changes we made was to restrict the waiting period options to only 4 weeks for self-employed clients across these products. This change was designed to facilitate early engagement with claims case managers when a self-employed customer had become disabled. We determined that longer waiting periods would make early intervention and return to work management much less effective.

While we still believe this to be the case, we also understand that forcing a shorter waiting period onto customers can impact on affordability and can also cause issues for advisers when trying to combine business cover such as Loss of Revenue with personal income protection products. In addition, we appreciate that shorter waiting periods do expose us to more claims because we get all the shorter ones and we pay more for the longer-term claims (because we start paying sooner).

We know from your feedback that this restriction of waiting period choice has been a significant issue for you, and we want to make it as easy as possible to choose Partners Life as a solution for your customers.

Thank you for giving us your feedback - we know you have done so because you want Partners Life to be the best we can be.

In response to your concerns, and because we believe our other changes will provide enough of the protection we are seeking, we are reversing the restriction on waiting period options for self-employed clients with effect from Thursday 23 July 2020.


Income security scheme?

Late last year a Productivity Commission report suggested different forms of income insurance to boost income security. Economists and social scientists are worried that a lack of income security, coupled with an increasing proportion of the population that rents, is a driver for a variety of social problems such as homelessness, chronic illness, and the kind of family chaos that wrecks childhoods – and therefore sets up a self-perpetuating cycle of deprivation across generations. Establishing some unemployment insurance, or a ‘portable redundancy account’ as the productivity commission calls it reminds me of another recommendation made during the last term of the Clark labour-led government: for ACC to be expanded to manage long-term sick leave. 

Given the recent news about massive losses on income protection products from Australia you might be forgiven for thinking that government intervention might be a relief – but ceding ever more areas of financial services provision to government is hardly a strategy for growth. Even a limited scheme could further confuse the market about the need for income insurance when breadth of participation in a product is one of the fundamentals required for a healthy marketplace.

More can be found through these links:

First, the Productivity Commission itself, with the announcement available at https://www.productivity.govt.nz/news/productivity-commission-suggests-improved-income-security-to-help-those-affected-by-labour-market-change/

And the full report available at https://www.productivity.govt.nz/assets/Documents/437c9e3982/Draft-report-2-Employment-labour-markets-and-income-v3.pdf


Product database updated

The QPR database has been updated and version 136 has been issued to subscribers and all changes are now live on Quotemonster. This version of the database includes the following changes:

Pinnacle Life policy wordings updated:

IP version 16/10/2018

Life version 01/12/2019

Funeral version 23/01/2019

Trauma version 01/12/2019

- no rating changes

 

Cigna business wording 11/05/2020 updated and rating changes applied. Revisions to ratings:

- IP/MP:

Future Insurability + Redundancy max entry/exit ages for Cigna

Pregnancy Premium Waiver Gender for Cigna

Insurable Income - SE rating for Partners Life

Insurable Income Salaried + SE amount score review

- Trauma:

> Diabetes Mellitus Adult definition, min age and amount score for Cigna

> Multiple Sclerosis definition review