nib Group deploy new digital claims process, and more daily news

nib has announced the implementation of Melvin, a machine learning engine, that will process claims that are submitted via the app. The adoption of this engine is intended to reduce manual data entry. Brendan Mills, nib Group CEO, has said that after nib enabled photo submission and claims via the app, user experience improved while information processing time increased. 

“Nib has implemented a new machine learning engine to process claims submitted via its app in less time by reducing the amount of manual data entry required behind the scenes. 

 

Five years ago the health insurer introduced a new feature that let members take a photo of their receipt and submit a claim via the app. 

While that improved the customer experience, it became a challenge to process the information at the backend as the volumes of photos increased, said nib's CIO Brendan Mills.

 

“We created a great customer experience but we then also caused ourselves some pain in processing photos because we're then taking a whole heap of flat images and having to rekey all the data [such as] provider number, customer number…it was quite an intensive process,” Mills told iTnews.

nib has said been trialing systems for the past six months. The engine uses AWS Textract to pick up all relevant information from submitted photos. The engine is set to save 20 seconds in handling time per claim, with half not needing further human intervention. nib is looking at expanding the service to process more claims, improve the service, and improve accuracy. 

“For the past six months, the health insurer has been using machine learning algorithms to strip information from the photos and pass it through to the core claims processing system. 

 

The engine, dubbed Melvin, was developed with data science consultancy Eliiza and uses AWS Textract to read the relevant information from the photos. 

 

Mills said the process saves an average of 20 seconds handling time per claim, and about half of the claims require no further human intervention to rekey or adjust any of the fields from the image. 

 

The insurer is now considering how to expand the service to process more claims, improve accuracy levels and determine if claims can be paid out without any human intervention. 

 

Mills said work is underway to determine the types of claims that have a very “high confidence” level to approve automatically, possibly with a post-processing quality assurance mechanism in place.” Click here to read more

In other news:

nib: adult or child signing up to Easy Health, Ulitimate Health Max, or Ulitimate Healththrough nibAPPLY will give them two month free cover. Offer ends 31 January 2021

FMA: FMA seeks consultation on proposed guidance for advertising

SHARE: SHARE confirms Newpark acquisition


nib publish finding from parenting survey, and more daily news

nib has published the findings from its State of the Nation Parenting Survey. The survey looked into the concerns of parents in 2020. Behavioural issues was identified as the top health related concern. This concern was raised by 34% of all participants. While parents with young children reported that their biggest concern was children experiencing extensive episodes of irritability, anger and short-temperedness. Nathan Wallis, nib parenting expert, commented saying that the shift during lockdown added to an already emotional stage for toddlers. When discussing lockdown experiences, participants noted that prolonged negative behaviour were common occurrences.

“Leading health insurer, nib New Zealand, has released the findings from its second annual nib State of the Nation Parenting Survey, shedding light on the concerns that have been top of mind for Kiwi parents during a year unlike any other.

 

Behavioural issues are the number one health concern Kiwi parents have for their children, cited by more than a third (34%) of respondents, up 13% from 2019. Last year’s biggest health-related concern, sleep, still features prominently, as do stress levels and diet and exercise.

 

Taking a closer look at families’ lockdown experience, the number of respondents reporting sustained episodes of negative behaviour from their children (lasting two weeks or longer) grew significantly during the nationwide lockdown period. Concerningly, this increase has been largely sustained since lockdown ended.

 

Parents of younger children reported prolonged episodes of irritability, anger and short-temperedness as their biggest concern, while among parents of high schoolers, the sharpest increase came in levels of concern around changes to children’s motivation.

 

nib parenting expert, Nathan Wallis says, “Lockdown saw most families dealing with added stress as they adapted to new and novel experiences. Toddlers may in many ways have felt this most acutely as they are already in a very emotional stage of development - it’s called “Terrible Twos” for a reason. Toddlers are also just beginning to learn how to manage their emotions, so it’s mum and dad who have to do most of it for them. This was understandably compounded by lockdown, so many parents of toddlers had it quite hard.””

The study also found that parents struggled. Participants reported that their motivation, energy levels, and performance at work decreased during lockdown while feeling overwhelmed increased. Parents reported that their biggest source of stress was financial uncertainty which impacted 39% of participants. The study found that only 8% of participants didn’t feel any stress.  When discussing the future, 70% of participants reported that they felt positive and 67% believed that lockdown helped to solidify their family unit.

“The findings also clearly demonstrate the toll 2020 has taken on parents themselves. Lockdown saw sharp increases in the number of respondents suffering from decreased motivation, decreased energy levels, a sense of feeling overwhelmed, and declining performance at work. Any subsequent reduction since lockdown ended has been limited to just one or two percentage points.

 

The biggest source of stress reported by parents this year was financial uncertainty, impacting 39% of respondents – followed closely by the impact of COVID-19 on the world, general job-related stress and the economy. Fewer than one in 10 respondents (8%) reported not feeling any particular level of stress over this period.

 

For the 42% of respondents who saw their financial situation worsen due to COVID-19, the impact of this was reflected in general stress levels, and also felt in terms of quality of sleep and relationships.

 

Despite an undeniably tough year, it’s not all bad news. When asked about the outlook for their family, 70% of respondents reported feeling positive about the future and 67% believe lockdown strengthened their family unit, with many reporting a greater sense of happiness, and better communication as a result.”

 

Here is a list of the key findings: 

Parents’ biggest health-related concerns for their children:

·       Behavioural issues – 34% (up 13% from last year) 

·       Diet and exercise – 33% 

·       Sleep (lack of, too much, pattern changes) – 31% 

·       Stress levels – 31%

Biggest behavioural concerns, with episodes lasting two weeks or longer (as experienced pre-, during and post-lockdown): 

· Pre-school children – prolonged episodes of irritability, anger and short-temperedness. 

§  12% pre-lockdown, 28% during lockdown, 25% post-lockdown

· Primary and intermediate children – prolonged episodes of irritability, anger and short-temperedness. 

§  17% pre-lockdown, 32% during and 28% post-lockdown

·       High school children – prolonged episodes of decreased motivation. 

§  12% pre-lockdown, 37% during lockdown, 23% post-lockdown

 

Biggest personal impacts of lockdown – experienced by parents themselves: 

·       Decreased motivation – 13% pre lockdown, 29% during lockdown, 28% post-lockdown

·       Decreased energy – 14% pre-lockdown, 29% during lockdown, 30% post-lockdown

·       Feeling overwhelmed – 19% pre-lockdown, 33% during lockdown, 31% post-lockdown 

·       Declining performance at work – 5% pre-lockdown, 14% during lockdown, 13% post-lockdown

 

Parents’ biggest sources of personal stress: 

·       Financial uncertainty - 39% of respondents

·       The impact of COVID-19 on the world - 36%

·       General job-related stress - 34%

·       The economy - 34%

 

Impact of lockdown on family unit: 

·       Greatly strengthened family unit – 24%

·       Somewhat strengthened family unit – 43% 

·       Made no difference to family dynamics / relations – 28%

·       Somewhat weakened family unit – 4%

·       Greatly weakened family unit – 1%

 

Parents’ outlook for the future of their families: 

·       Very positive – 22%

·       Positive – 48% 

·       Neutral – 18%

·       Concerned – 2%

·       Extremely concerned – 2%

·       Don’t know / unsure – 8%

 

In other news: 

AIA: AIA Taking Small Steps campaign won Best Brand Campaign at Interactive Advertising Bureau awards

Southern Cross: Little heart monitor can be sent to patients in the mail, speeding up results

Southern Cross: New findings reveal we put higher pressure on ourselves than others

 


Partners Life offer guide on customer affordability considerations

Naomi Ballantyne recently discussed concerns that advisers have brought forward in a video that Partners Life have published. Advisers mentioned that their clients were receiving contradicting advice from other advisers. In the video, Naomi discussed the options advisers have when dealing with similar situations.

“Recently we have been contacted by a number of advisers expressing concern about some of their Partners Life clients receiving advice from other advisers, which conflicts with the advice they gave their client to retain and amend their existing covers.

What should they tell their clients when asked why they would receive such conflicting advice from two different advisers? To help answer this question, Naomi has put together a short video explaining to clients the questions they might want to ask should they be faced with this dilemma.  You can easily share this video with your clients from our Facebook page, should you think this might be useful to any particular client.”

 

In other news

nib: organisations with 15 or more people now can have all pre-existing conditions covered

Asteron Life: Understanding and supporting client vulnerability webinar

Partners Life: Steve Wright on Disability Covers

 


Cigna announce product enhancements, and more daily news

Cigna has announced that they have enhanced aspects of Income, Mortgage Repayment, Complete Disablement, Trauma and Premium Covers. The enhancements include changes in wording and benefits. The changes were made effective as of 11 November 2020. The changes are designed to give customers more flexibility during the claims process as well as allowing customers with a low-grade tumor or a listed progressive conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease to claim.

“We’ve made enhancements to a number of definitions and benefits across our Income, Mortgage Repayment, Complete Disablement, Trauma and Premium Covers.

Among the changes is the addition of an alternative 10-hour disability definition to our base Income, Mortgage Repayment and Premium Covers. This will give your customers more flexibility when applying for a total disability claim.

The enhancements also include removing the severity requirements on the full Trauma benefit criteria, making it easier for your customers with a low-grade tumor or a listed progressive condition such as Alzheimer’s disease to claim.”

Below is a full list of benefit changes.

“We have made the following enhancements to our Assurance Extra Income Covers, Mortgage Repayment Cover and Premium Cover:

  • Adding an alternative (10 hour) Total Disability definition

Assurance Extra Income Cover, Mortgage Repayment Cover & Premium Cover

We’ve introduced an alternative total disability definition to our base covers where if an illness or injury causes the life assured to be unable to work more than 10 hours a week in their pre-disability occupation, they may still be considered for a Total Disability Benefit. Any income they’ve earned from working within these 10 hours, will be subtracted from the benefit amount payable.

  • Total Disability Benefit & Partial Disability Benefit –Removal of the 14 days & 7 days total disability criteria

Assurance Extra Income Cover & Mortgage Repayment Cover

We’ve removed the 14 days initial period of total disability criteria under our Total Disability Benefit, and the 7 days initial period of total disability criteria under our Partial Disability Benefit. This has improved the claim-ability of this cover, meaning the life assured is more likely to qualify for a claim payment.

  • Total Disability Benefit – removal of limitation for concurrent Mortgage Repayment Cover and Income Cover claims

Assurance Extra Income Cover

We’ve removed the limitation (added in April 2019) under all our Income Covers which reduces the Income Cover benefit after 6 months if the life assured is also getting a Mortgage Repayment Cover benefit for the same disability.

  • Recurrent Disability Benefit – Extending period of recurrence from 6 months to 12 months

Assurance Extra Income Cover, Mortgage Repayment Cover & Premium Cover

We’ve extended the period of recurrence to 12 months under all Assurance Extra Income Covers, Mortgage Repayment Cover and Premium Cover regardless of the selected payment term. Previously the period of recurrence had to be 6 months if a payment term of 2 years or 5 years was selected under Income Cover or Mortgage Repayment Cover.

  • Return to Work Benefit – adding an additional scenario for claim

Assurance Extra Income Cover & Mortgage Repayment Cover

We’ve added an additional scenario for claim, where, if the life assured has been accepted for a Vocational Retraining or Rehabilitation Benefit that resulted in them returning to full time employment or self-employment, they may now get extra financial support under the Return to Work Benefit

  • Premium Cover – Refund premiums paid during the waiting period upon acceptance of a Disability Benefit claim

Assurance Extra Premium Cover

Going forward, if a Disability Benefit claim has been accepted, the premium waiver would be applied retrospectively from the first day of the life assured’s disability. This means that at the end of the waiting period, we will reimburse any premiums paid in respect to coverage during the waiting period.

In other news

Does New Zealand really need four dispute resolution schemes?

Why do so many clients go without income protection?

nib: nib talks 2019/2020 results

 


FINSIA networking breakfast with Geoff Bascand, and more daily news

The Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA) is set to host a breakfast networking session and a review of the latest Financial Stability Report. Geoff Bascand, RBNZ Deputy Governor, will be in attendance. During the session Bascand will discuss the current state of the economy and RBNZ projections as well as answering questions stated below. The event will be held on 27 November 2020 with a 7.15am start. The event will take place at EY Building, 2 Takutai Square, Britomart, Auckland 1010. Click here to register

“FINSIA is pleased to welcome our members back to face to face events with a complimentary networking breakfast followed by an update on the latest Financial Stability Report.

The Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Geoff Bascand will provide a picture of the New Zealand economy, how it is performing and where the RBNZ thinks it is heading next.

The Deputy Governor will answer these questions and more:

  • The effect of the wage subsidy and mortgage deferrals on the economy – where are we really at?
  • Rising pressures in the housing market in terms of lending and borrowing behaviour – will the Central Bank bring back LVRs?
  • What happens to the economy if we are living in a world of negative interest rates?” Click here to find out more

In other news

FSC: Launch of Money & You 3 and 2020 A Year In Review

FSC: FSC Connect: Data - Creating Industry Insight

FSCL: New board member announced at FSCL

nib: nib New Zealand’s figures “a bit down,” but on track


UniMed announces new CEO, and more daily news

UniMed has announced that a new CEO will be appointed in January 2021. Louise Zacest is set to take over from Dermot Martin, who is retiring after 30 years at UniMed. Zacest has held senior roles in different industries and is the current General Manager, Strategy and Partnerships at Healthcare New Zealand. 

“He will be succeeded by Louise Zacest.

 

Zacest joins UniMed from Healthcare New Zealand, the country’s largest home and community service provider, where she has held senior executive positions, including acting Chief Executive.

 

She is currently General Manager, Strategy and Partnerships. Her previous health and insurance experience includes senior roles with Southern Cross, Tower Financial Service Group and Counties Manukau District Health Board.” Click here to read more

 

In other news:

nib: nib’s 2020 virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held at 1pm (AEDT) on 5 November 2020 - note that we have five companies that have updated financial results in our tracking set for the life and health insurance sector, which will all be updated in the company information section of the Quarterly Life and Health Sector review due on 20 December

'Advisers take note' RIAA welcome sustainable finance roadmap

Long Covid a new problem for insurers to grapple with contrast this with our view: we think it is not too much of a problem provided we keep COVID-19 at bay.


Science behind high Income Protection premiums, and more daily news

Recently we reported that Income Protection prices are on the rise as a result of the Australian market and COVID-19. New Zealander insurers are now being urged to amend processes and premiums before regulators intervene and introduction mandatory guides. Partners Life begun the conversation when revealing that it has increased IP premiums by 12% and made policy changes. Kris Ballantyne, chief marketing officer, has said that Partners wishes to offer affordable policies that customers can maintain for as long as they need. AIA and Cigna have both noted that they aren’t looking to introduce significant premium increases.  

“It took insurer Partners Life to break the silence last month when it revealed a brave plan to start publishing the content of discussions with the Financial Markets Authority.

 

In doing so, it revealed it lifted its income protection premiums by 12 per cent in the past year, and had made policy changes, including not allowing self-employed people to any longer select an “agreed value” of income to be covered, instead limiting cover to actual loss of earnings.

 

Partner’s Life’s chief marketing officer Kris Ballantyne said the company was a “first mover” on income protection, driven by wanting to provide policies they [consumers] could afford to keep as long as they needed it.

 

It was a big challenge as there were a lot of agreed value policies covering self-employed people, and owners of small businesses.

 

Neither of its two big rivals, AIA nor Cigna, was expecting to make such large premium increases, though AIA had stopped selling new policies in which the income covered automatically increased by 5 per cent a year.

 

AIA chief product officer Len Elikhis said that over time, “the insured’s benefits would creep up and approach the insured’s income”.

Shane Burdack, senior underwriting consultant as Swiss Re Australia highlighted that customers with significant wealth had very little incentive to return to work when on claim, resulting in increased premium prices.

“Swiss Re senior underwriting consultant in Australia, Shane Burdack, said that in New Zealand insurers gave little thought to the net wealth of policyholders.

 

Yet people with significant wealth – sometimes through investments, sometimes because of payouts from other insurance policies – had a low incentive to go back to work, and stayed “on claim” for longer driving up costs.” Click here to read more

  

In other news

nib: nib takes place among top 100 most diverse firms worldwide

Southern Cross: Southern Cross is offering members a $149 voucher when they join Snap Fitness on a minimum 12-month term

Southern Cross: Southern Cross is offering members 10% off the retail price of a monthly LES MILLS On Demand subscription

 

 

 


Fluctuations in Income Protection prices, and more daily news

The New Zealand Herald have reported on Income Protection price increases. Financial advisers have credited the changes to IP to the Australian IP market although COVID-19 has played a role in the change in pricing and the underwriting process. During the FSC digital Generations 2020 Conference, Kimberley Robinson from Swiss Re Australia warned that it was important that New Zealand insurers make amendments. Robinson highlighted that in Australia the regulator had to step in after losses totaled A$3 billion in a five-year period. Robinson said that the losses were a result of an increased focus on sales volumes, cross-subsidisation, a competitive market, and in some instances, insurers providing more benefits on claims before claim time.

At an industry conference held online this week by the Financial Service Council insurance underwriter Swiss Re warned that New Zealand insurers also needed to make changes.

Kimberley Robinson, product solutions leader at Swiss Re in Australia, said Australian regulator APRA had intervened after big losses in the sector which added up to around A$3 billion over five years.

"We have suffered losses on individual income protection on an unsustainable level."

Robinson said factors contributing to those losses included an increasing focus on sales volumes over profitability, cross-subsidisation of the product and a fiercely competitive market.

"In some cases we were providing customers with more benefit on claim than they earned before claiming."”

To tackle issues relating to sustainability and customer support, the FSC recently set up a CEO life insurance forum and ran its first meeting. Although Richard Klipin didn’t comment on the pricing of IP, he noted that the sector is not growing and that it is instead expanding sideways. Klipin highlighted that the challenge for the industry to transforming insurance into something that is relevant, affordable and accessible. He continued by saying that insurers need to focus on having the ability to deliver on the promise of cover

In other news

nib: nib is sponsoring the Norwood and Miraka Limited Charity Golf Tournament for a third year

Advisers on Banks survey results revealed


Asteron Life appoints new CEO, and more daily news 

Suncorp New Zealand has permanently appointed Jimmy Higgins as CEO. Since the departure of Paul Smeaton in July Higgins has been the acting CEO. Higgins joined Suncorp Group in 2008 and has had various roles within the company. Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston has said that Higgins is highly experienced and has a deep understanding of the industry.

“Suncorp New Zealand has today announced the appointment of Jimmy Higgins to the role of Chief Executive Officer, effective today.

Higgins joined Suncorp Group in 2008 and has held a range of senior and executive positions across its Australian and New Zealand insurance businesses. Prior to being appointed acting chief executive, he held roles in the New Zealand business as CFO and executive general manager, claims.

Before joining Suncorp, he was a Chartered Accountant specialising in audit and forensic accounting.

Suncorp Group chief executive Steve Johnston says Higgins is a highly experienced financial services executive with a deep understanding of the insurance industry and New Zealand insurance market.”

Higgins noted that he is proud to be part of Suncorp New Zealand and that he is excited to lead it towards the future.

“Higgins says: “Our business is uniquely positioned to make a difference in the lives of Kiwis and I’ve always felt very proud to be a part of that.

“Suncorp New Zealand has gone from strength to strength in recent years and I’m excited to lead a team of truly passionate people as we shape our business for the future and continue to deliver more for our customers and intermediary partners.”” Click here to read more

In other news

nib: Putting Health into Life and Work Seminars to be held at North Harbour Stadium on Tuesday 20th October from 9:00am - 11:00am

nib: Putting Health into Life and Work Seminars to be held at Riccarton Park Functions Centre on Thursday 22nd October from 12:00pm - 2:00pm

Regulator on poor processes and bad outcomes

Income protection: Lessons from over the ditch


Pinnacle Life unpack life insurance discussions, and more daily news

Pinnacle Life has published tips on how to discuss life insurance with a significant other. Pinnacle Life begins by encouraging those that have never discussed money or life insurance with their partners to do so as it is an important part of planning for the future.

“Talking about life insurance means talking about death. No-one finds that easy. Pinnacle Life has some tips to get you started with talking about money and life insurance with your partner.

Not many of us have been taught how to have conversations about financial decisions. In fact, financial literacy hasn’t been on the school curriculum for very long at all – at best, it’s still optional for most schools today. There seems to be an underlying assumption that financial literacy is something you can learn yourself or pick up from your parents. But evidence suggests it’s not that easy; New Zealanders are notoriously underinsured and ‘under-saved’.

In a time when the news is filled with death rates, recessions and industry failures and many of us are facing reduced incomes, it’s a reminder that it’s never too soon or too late to start having conversations about our finances and insurance. We know that it's not easy to talk about money openly and honestly; talking about life insurance can be even harder because it means talking about what will happen if you die.”

Tips include:

  1. Conducting independent research
  2. Choosing the right time to have the discussion
  3. Taking your time to plan and execute
  4. Start by looking at the big picture before honing down to the details
  5. Embrace the emotions that arise
  6. Discuss your money objectively
  7. Seek advice from a professional

Click here to see all the details

In other news

nib: new customers that sign up for Ultimate Health Max, Ultimate Health and Easy Health policies using nibAPPLY will have 2 months free until 31 January 2021

Southern Cross: 72% of all claims were paid out in 2020

82% of customer channels are now fully digitised and over 96% of claims now submitted digitally

The power of social media- Russell Hutchinson writes on goodreturns