Asteron Life premium increases, and more daily news

Asteron Life has made changes to premiums effective 21 September 2020. The introduction of premium increases has been in response to claim costs being higher than expected. The premium increases will only impact customers on a stepped premium. Depending on customer segments, increases will be between 0% - 6%. Please refer to the table below. 

“These increases are in response to higher than expected claim costs observed in our most recent claims experience review. Based on this, we have adjusted our long-term claims outlook and updated premiums to ensure that our business will remain sustainable to support our customers both now and in the future. We perform regular reviews to keep any increases small, and as manageable as possible for customers.”

The new rates will not apply to quotes created before 21 September, but the quotes will be valid for only 30 days. The premium changes will affect existing customers after their next policy anniversary or after 21 October 2020.

“The new rates will apply for new customers from 21 September 2020 and will be reflected in policy documents. Quotes created before 21 September will be valid for 30 days.

The changes will apply for existing customers from their next policy anniversary on or after 21 October. Customers will not see any specific reference to the change in rates, but renewal notices will continue to mention that premiums can increase due to changes in market conditions.”  

 

The increases are higher, generally, for female lives than for male lives in trauma. They are also higher for both younger lives and older lives, across all product types, while the changes for lives at the main ages of acquisition (between about age 35 and 50) are more limited, probably constrained by competitive pressures. More details will be given in the forthcoming quarterly life and health report. 

 

Product 

Benefits 

Increase 

Personal Insurance 

 

Life cover 

0-6% 

Trauma recovery cover
Life cover buyback benefit Trauma reinstatement benefit Continuous trauma benefit 

Standalone 0-6% Accelerated 0-4% 

Income protection cover Mortgage and rent cover Mortgageandliving cover Immediate assist package Specific injury support benefit 10-hour benefit 

0-6% 

Business Insurance 

Life cover 

 

0-6% 

 

Trauma recovery cover
Life cover buyback benefit Trauma reinstatement benefit Continuous trauma benefit 

Standalone 0-6% Accelerated 0-4% 

SmartLife 

 

Life cover 

 

0-6% 

Trauma recovery cover Trauma (standard)
Trauma deluxe
Life cover buyback benefit Trauma reinstatement benefit Continuous trauma benefit 

Standalone 0-6% Accelerated 0-4% 

Mortgage repayment option (disability) 

 

0-6% 

SmartLiving 

SmartLiving value SmartLiving deluxe 

0-6% 

SmartBusiness 

 

 

Life cover 

 

0-6% 

Trauma recovery cover Trauma (standard)
Trauma deluxe
Life cover buyback benefit Trauma reinstatement benefit 

Standalone 0-6% Accelerated 0-4% 

 

Income Protection 

Income protection (personal and business) Specific injury support benefit 

0-6% 

 

 

 

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 Development of Clearhead Te Reo platform

nib has announced that a Te Reo Māori platform has been launched in partnership with Clearhead and nib foundation. The Clearhead website and chatbot have been translated into Te Reo Māori to offer Maori communities the opportunity to better use the service as it has been found that Māori are twice as likely to experience mental health issues than people who aren’t Māori. This launch makes the service the first mental health service to support an indigenous language.

“Clearhead, a Kiwi digital mental health company has today launched its translated te reo Māori website and chatbot offering in partnership with nib New Zealand (nib) and nib foundation, designed to help reduce the barriers Māori communities often face when accessing mental health services.

Māori populations are consistently over-represented in New Zealand’s suicide statistics, are twice as likely to experience mental health issues compared to non-Māori, and 1.5 times as likely to report experiencing anxiety or depression.

As a global first for any digital mental health service to support an indigenous language, the translation marks an important step towards providing culturally inclusive resources to support the health and wellbeing of one of our most vulnerable communities.” 

Dr Angela Lim, Clearhead CEO, has said that mental health resources available don’t accommodate how Maori wish to access resources and support. Lim continues by saying that digital solutions that offer anonymity, flexibility, and affordability must be offered to improve outcomes for Māori. The launch of the new platform during Māori Language Week is intended to highlight the importance role culture plays on mental wellbeing.

“Clearhead CEO, Dr Angela Lim says that while Māori are disproportionately represented in the public mental health system, the resources available do not necessarily take a user-centric approach of how Maori would prefer to access these resources and support.

“Māori make up 40 percent of patients in the public mental health system, yet only around three percent of clinical staff in the sector identify as Māori, and an even smaller number are fluent in te reo Māori. To some, te reo is a fundamental part of their identity – and yet we face significant challenges in delivering culturally appropriate services to this community,” Dr.Lim said.

“In order to improve mental health outcomes for Māori, utilising digital solutions where we can provide anonymity, flexibility, affordability and overcome geographical barriers can be a viable solution. We hope our platform can assist in improving reach and engagement for Māori seeking mental health support and provide that safe place where they feel heard,” Dr Lim added.

With the new platform launching during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) Clearhead’s aim is to highlight the importance culture has on one’s mental health and wellbeing. Research from the Mental Health Foundation has demonstrated that a strong cultural identity – including a connection with Māoritanga and te reo within Māori communities – is linked to positive wellbeing and a reduced risk of suicide.” Click here to find out more

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Client outraged after life insurance premium doubles, and more daily news

A couple that took out a life insurance policy with AMP over 30 years ago is outraged that their monthly premiums have doubled from $165.90 to $296.50. They were informed of the changes in a notification letter that stated that their policy would be cancelled as a result of a missed payment.

“An elderly Havelock North couple feel "scammed" after their life insurance premiums are set to almost double, despite signing a contract for life more than 30 years ago.

Hilton and Trish Kyle took out a life insurance policy with AMP in November 1988, with a monthly payment of $165.90.

But Hilton, 69, said they received a letter stating failure to pay a missed payment would see their policy cancelled.

The letter also stated that their premiums will increase to $296.50 per month.”

The couple had set up an automatic payment system, and so when receiving the letter, the couple voiced their disapproval. AMP Life’s investigation found that there was an error in the automated mail system.

“"They are taking advantage of us. It makes us feel terrible," he said.

"We've had an automated payment set up with ANZ for the 32 years.

"We were gobsmacked to be treated like this from AMP. These buggers need to be exposed."

An AMP Life spokeswoman apologies for any distress the letter may have caused the Kyle's and said an automated mail system caused the issue.

"We have investigated this issue and it appears to be a mistake driven from an automated letter," she said.”

Regardless of the investigation findings, the couple have until 5 September 2020 to pay to stop the policy cancellation.

“The couple, who have until September 5 to pay their outstanding premium charge before policy cancellation, say they would stay with AMP if the premiums were reverted back to their original monthly totals.”  Click here to read more

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nib financial growths amid COVID-19, and more daily news

nib New Zealand announced that the 12 months to June 30 2020 has been an overall successful year for the insurer. nib experienced a 10.2% growth in revenue to NZ$253.1 million while also prioritising their efforts to support members and the community through COVID-19 related relief and other initiatives. The underwriting results also increased 11.2% to a total of NZ$25.9 million.

“nib New Zealand today announced an improved operating performance for the 12 months to 30 June 2020 (FY20) lifting membership, revenue and earnings.

nib New Zealand premium revenue grew 10.2% to NZ$253.1 million while underwriting result was NZ$25.9 million, up 11.2%. The FY20 underwriting result includes a NZ$9.0 million COVID-19 deferred claims provision for an expected claims catch-up in healthcare treatment deferred during the peak of the COVID-19 that is expected to occur in FY21.

nib New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Rob Hennin, said nib performed well in FY20, reporting good financial results alongside its strong focus on supporting members and the community throughout COVID-19.

“Helping our Kiwi members stay safe and healthy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been a priority, which is why we moved quickly to implement an extensive support package,” Mr Hennin said.”

As part of their member support initiative nib has provided COVID-19 financial hardship support to over 2,000 members, premium relief and suspension options to over 5,000 members, extended cover for COVID-19 related treatments, expanded GP and specialist consultations through telehealth, and extended treatment pre-approvals.

““To date, we’ve provided more than 2,000 Kiwis members with access to financial hardship support, including premium relief and suspension options, postponed premium increases for over 50,000 members and extended coverage for COVID-19 related treatment across all levels of hospital cover, at no extra cost.

In addition, we expanded cover for consultations with GPs and specialists through telehealth, ensuring members could continue to see their medical practitioner during severe lockdown restrictions. We also extended treatment pre-approval from three to six months, meaning over 1,000 members did not have to reapply for surgery approval if they experienced delays in accessing hospital treatment."

In partnership with nib foundation, nib has donated $1 million to Lifeline Aotearoa and Clearhead as part of their community support initiatives.

"Further, we made a $1 million donation, together with nib foundation, to Lifeline Aotearoa and Clearhead, helping support our communities and the ongoing mental health needs of New Zealanders,” he said." Click here to read more

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Aon to offer clients free wills, and more daily news

Aon has partnered with Footprint to offer current and new clients with corporate life insurance policies the option to have their wills drawn up free of cost. This partnership is designed to save clients estate admin fees and increase the number of full-time employees with wills in New Zealand.

“Aon is the first company in the sector to provide and cover the cost of Wills to all existing and new clients with a corporate life insurance policy through employee benefits – and already, several group insurers are engaged, with more to come. This industry-first move will see Aon provide security and education for all aspects of life insurance and end of life planning, saving people on average $5,000 in estate administration fees in instances where a life insurance policy has no Will attached to it.

Footprint chief executive Angela Vale says, “The data tells us New Zealanders are consistently under-Willed, especially in certain age groups. Only 37% of full-time employed people in New Zealand have a valid Will."”

Anson Davies, Aon Life general manager has said that the insurer has worked to understand what clients are looking for, while Geoff Blampied, Aon CEO stated that the industry has responded positively. Geoff continued by saying that the initiative could potentially reach 70,000 policyholders in the first phase.

“Aon Life general manager Anson Davies says, “We have done extensive due diligence to ascertain what our clients are looking for and what their employees value, and we are pleased to be launching this offer through our partnership with Footprint and in collaboration with key partners in the insurance industry”.

 

This is further supported by Aon NZ chief executive Geoff Blampied who says, “We are excited that the industry is responding positively to the initiative, which has the potential to reach around 70,000 Kiwi policyholders in the first phase.” Click here to read

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nib partner with Ronald McDonald House, and more daily news

nib announced that they will maintain their partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities to support families at this time. During lockdown nib worked to provide 28 rooms in both Auckland and Wellington with necessary appliances to ensure social distancing requirements were met by all. The $20,000 investment ensured each room was equipped with a fridge, kettle, toaster and microwave.

“Deemed an essential service by the Ministry of Social Development during Alert Level Four, RMHC New Zealand, like many other services, had to adapt to ensure they could continue to provide free accommodation to families when their child is in a hospital away from home.

In order to meet isolation requirements, 28 rooms across the Auckland and Wellington houses were converted into self-contained units, to enable long stay families to remain in their ‘home-away-from-home’ during lockdown.

With the communal kitchens closed, nib bolstered its existing RMHC New Zealand national partnership with a further investment of $20,000 to enable each room to be kitted out with a fridge, kettle, toaster and microwave to ensure families could function safely in their bubbles. A further 12 rooms were also supplied with kettles for short stay families, so social distancing could be maintained.”

Amy Tribe nib foundation Executive Officer has said that nib is proud to continue supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities.

“nib foundation Executive Officer, Amy Tribe, says nib is proud to continue supporting an organisation that helps so many Kiwi families, especially during a time of such difficulty.” Click here to read more

Nib partners with Ronald McDonald House  July 27 2020

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nib Putting Health into Life seminar, and more daily news

nib will be holding seminar series, Putting Health into Life and Work from July 28 to August 14. The seminars will include different speakers that will touch on different healthy living points. As part of the series group insurance as well as the benefits in the current climate will be discussed.

"Our speakers will explain the powerful reasons you can share with your clients around why health comes first and where it fits in the advice process. 

Our Group Sales team will also join our speaker panel to explain why group health is even more relevant as an employee benefit and equip you to access this market with confidence in a post COVID-19 lockdown world."

Different topics relating to health in life and work will be explored in the seminars. Topics include:

"Putting Health into Life

  • Health insurance and the public health services
  • How health insurance meets client’s needs and expectation at various life stages, while complementing other living insurances
  • Understanding life circumstances and expectations
  • Assessing value through premiums and claims

Putting Health into Work

  • Why health insurance is important to employers and their employees
  • How group health can accelerate your business growth
  • nib’s group health value proposition: putting the wellbeing of employees first
  • Supporting you to access this market with confidence"

Click here to register

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Changes in Suncorp management, and more daily news

Paul Smeaton the CEO of Suncorp New Zealand is set to leave his current role and move into the role of Chief Operating Officer at Suncorp’s headquarters. The role of Suncorp NZ CEO will be filled by Jimmy Higgins the current Chief Financial Officer.

“I want to let you know that I am moving to a new role within the Suncorp Group and that our Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Higgins will be stepping in as Acting Chief Executive Officer.

I will be heading back across the Tasman to take up a new role as Chief Operating Officer – Insurance based at Suncorp’s headquarters in Brisbane, as part of some wider executive changes within the Suncorp Group.”

Recruitment for a permanent CEO will begin shortly.

“While there is an internal and external recruitment process underway for my replacement, I am very confident that I will leave you in excellent hands with Jimmy in the interim.”

In other news:

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AMP sale finalised, and more daily news

The sale of AMP Life to Resolution Life has been finalised. The sale amounted to A$3 billion (NZ$3.19 billion), with A$2.5 billion being paid in cash and the remaining A$500 million being paid in equity interest in Resolution Life Australia. 

“The total sale proceeds are A$3 billion, comprising A$2.5 billion cash and A$500 million equity interest in Resolution Life Australia, a new Australian-domiciled, Resolution Life-controlled holding company that is now the owner of AMP Life.”

As a result of the sale, AMP will transfer an estimated A$55 billion in client funds as part of the company’s internal separation process. And although AMP will sell AMP Life, the company will be providing technology and administrative services to AMP Life for the next two years as part of a transitional services agreement.

“The separation of AMP Life will significantly simplify AMP’s group structure. The internal separation process included the transfer of approximately A$55 billion of client funds via several successor fund transfers.

 

Collectively these transfers represented one of the largest fund transfers of this kind and enables AMP to focus on its strategic simplification of its wealth management platforms and products.

 

In addition to its residual 20% holding in Resolution Life Australia, AMP will continue to provide technology and administrative services to AMP Life for a two-year period under a transitional services agreement. All customers’ terms and conditions will remain unchanged through the separation.” Click here to read more

Therese Singleton has been appointed CEO of the Resolution Life New Zealand Limited which has an A- financial stability rating from Standard and Poor's. 

 

In other news:

Kepa: Kepa are planning to hold two-day workshops for compliance support people in mid-sized to large adviser businesses in August, September and October

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Daily news update: nib offers continued support to members, and more stories

nib announced that it will offer members continued support in the form of their COVID-19 member and community support package. The support package will be offered until 30 September 2020 to ensure that members are able to maintain their health. cover.

“nib New Zealand (nib) today announced it will offer its COVID-19 member and community support package for an additional three months to make sure members continue to stay safe and healthy by maintaining their private health cover as New Zealand recovers from the pandemic.

nib Chief Executive Officer, Rob Hennin, said that while lockdown restrictions have eased and more healthcare services are now available, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have ongoing financial and health impacts on New Zealanders.

“We recognise many of our members have experienced financial uncertainty and additional stress during this difficult time, and we want them to be able to continue to prioritise their health and wellbeing,” Mr Hennin said.

“By extending our support package we hope this provides both our members and the community with additional support to assist them as we return to a new normal,” he added.”

nib is offering:

  • Ability for eligible existing members who are experiencing financial hardship to access special premium relief*.
  • Ability for eligible existing members who are experiencing financial hardship to suspend* their health insurance policy and premium payment for up to six months.
  • Expanded coverage* for chest, lung, kidney and bladder or other treatment related to conditions caused by COVID-19 across all levels of hospital cover (including Basic Private Hospital Cover, Mid Private Hospital Cover and Mid Private Hospital Cover Plus where currently excluded) at no additional cost.
  • Cover for GP or specialist consultations that need to be conducted via video or tele-consultation due to COVID-19*.
  • Automatic increase of pre-approval validity to six months meaning members do not need to reapply for pre-approval if they experience delays to hospital treatment#.
  • Ability for existing members to increase their excess (payable upon hospital admission) to the maximum allowable level under their policy without needing to be re-underwritten if they choose to reduce their excess as their financial situation improves^.
  • Help for members navigating COVID-19 by publishing across our various channels (including nib.co.nz) information on their cover, how to minimise infection risk and related matters.
  • A $1 million donation from nib foundation and nib to support charitable initiatives, including Lifeline Aotearoa and Clearhead, to assist the community across New Zealand and Australia during the pandemic.
  • Offering up to two weeks paid special discretionary leave for all nib Group employees (permanent, fixed-term or casual) who are impacted by COVID-19.

In other news:

Financial Advice: Bring in the Experts – What’s next for FSLAA: An update from the FMA on progress and the path ahead

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