Partners Life on possible implications of not getting vaccinated, and more daily news

Partners Life Managing Director Naomi Ballantyne has discussed the possible implications of customers choosing not to get vaccinated. Ballantyne highlighted the different actions insurers could take, including applying specific exclusions for unvaccinated customers or choosing to refuse to offer cover. Ballantyne argues that customers with pre-existing conditions that choose to remain unvaccinated are more likely to claim and that insurers have a responsibility to decide how to manage the increased risk.

“Partners Life managing director Naomi Ballantyne says since the personal insurance industry relies on medical science and statistical evidence to design its policies and premiums it stands to reason that the unvaccinated, especially those with underlying medical conditions, present a higher risk to insurers than those who have had their jabs.

"To avoid all clients having to pay increased premiums to address this Covid-related increased claims risk, life insurers have several options," she says.

"They can price differently for vaccinated applicants versus unvaccinated applicants to reflect the different risk profiles.

"They can apply specific exclusions to unvaccinated lives to avoid the increased claims risk arising from potential Covid-19 (and variants) infection, or they can decline to offer cover altogether if they believe a combination of pre-existing health conditions and the unvaccinated status of an applicant would give rise to an unquantifiable increased risk of claims."

She says medical science has evolved significantly improving health outcomes across the globe and a large part of this is due to the advent of vaccines.

"We see the development of Covid-19 vaccines as simply the next step in this development and we trust in the long-established medical science behind it.

"The data tells us there is no statistically significant risk to claims incidence or duration rates arising from complications of Covid-19 vaccinations.

"The same global data demonstrates statistically significant medical complication rates arising from infection with Covid-19 (and variants) in those who do not have any immunity to the virus through vaccination or previous infection."

"In other words, pre-existing issues such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease etc are much more likely to result in a claimable outcome if the client is not vaccinated and subsequently contracts Covid-19 (or variants), compared with our normal claim estimations."

She says unvaccinated people have made a personal decision to accept the increased risk and life insurers have a decision to make about whether and how they might accept and accommodate that risk.” Click here to read more

In our business, we feel much the same way, and encourage everyone to get vaccinated if they are able and eligible. We also commend to you the article by Gen Re on the impact of diabetes on mental health.

 

In other news

Cigna: Peter Mensah has joined Cigna as a Business Partnership Manager

Cigna: Cigna Live will be held on 24 November at 10am

Cigna: everyone that registers for Cigna Live goes into the draw to win one of three Christmas hampers

GenRe: The Impact of Diabetes on Mental Health


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

17 Nov 2021 – FMA released three new self-assessment tools to help financial advice providers prepare for full licensing. The tools include:

  • Record keeping self-assessment tool
  • Cyber security and BCP self-assessment tool
  • Key outsourcing arrangements self-assessment tool

https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/media-releases/financial-advice-providers-full-licensing-tools/

17 Nov 2021 – Under “FMA stories,” FMA released comment on its website on mandatory climate-related disclosures – a new regime for NZ and the FMA. https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/fma-stories/mandatory-climate-related-disclosures-a-new-regime/


Fidelity Life introduce new policy management system, and more daily news

Fidelity Life has announced the introduction of their new policy management system, Tahi. The launch is scheduled to roll out in phases beginning from 15 November and will be completely in place by February 2022. The first phase involves new business only, existing policies will gradually be transitioned from the current system.

Changes will include:

  • New digital customer product brochures
  • Combination of post and email correspondence
  • New reporting tools
  • Change to credit card process

From Monday 15 November we’ll be launching a new policy management system, called Tahi. It’ll be a phased launch, from mid-November 2021 through to February 2022, so there’ll be a couple of steps along the way.

There’s some great new functionality that will gradually be introduced but let’s start with the basics to get you going from day one. There’s a lot to take in so we’ll make this information available on Adviser Hub for your ongoing reference.

 

In other news

Cigna: Business Performance Manager role being advertised

nib: Sustainability Manager role being advertised

Wealthpoint: Wealthpoint appoints Independent Director

ASB: ASB data shows financial wellbeing improving but many 'just coping'

Accuro: Accuro celebrating 50th anniversary

Accuro 50th anniversary


Legal and regulatory review for the life and health insurance industry

Nov 2021 - The International Organization of Securities Commission released its final report titled “Recommendations on Sustainability-Related Practices, Policies, Procedures and Disclosure in Asset Management. https://www.iosco.org/library/pubdocs/pdf/IOSCOPD688.pdf

12 Nov 2021 – Department of Internal Affairs released a document on its website dated August 2021 titled “DIA’s approach to regulation of anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism”. https://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/Files/AML-CFT-2021/$file/DIA's-approach-to-regulation-of-AMLCFT-12-Nov-2021.pdf


The attraction of one page plans

It was great to have feedback from a few advisers that have requested copies of our draft one page life and health insurance plans. We are now having robust debates internally about whether 'plan' includes analysis, the purpose of these documents, how clients will use them, and more. Then Tony Vidler finds this piece, well worth a look, which explains some of the great attractions of these one-page plan summaries - they cannot be a complete replacement for full planning and all the associated compliance document, but the reasons for their importance are underlined by Jeremy Walter's article. If anyone would like to join us in reviewing and working on the one-page insurance plan concepts, please let me know.


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

12 Nov 2021 – Consumer Protection media release about scams during Fraud Awareness Week. https://www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/news-and-media/rise-in-online-scams-costs-millions/

12 Nov 2021 - Council of Financial Regulators released an updated Regulatory Initiatives Calendar for the financial sector. https://www.cofr.govt.nz/news-and-publications/regulatory-initiatives-calendar.html

12 Nov 2021 - Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced that the Government plans to issue sovereign Green Bonds from next year to help raise finance for New Zealand’s low carbon transition. https://www.treasury.govt.nz/news-and-events/news/new-zealand-issue-sovereign-green-bonds


Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Peripheral Neuropathy

Introduction

Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition where the nerves that relay messages to and from the brain, spinal cord and body are damaged or diseased. Most commonly affecting diabetics but also caused by traumatic injuries or infections.

Please find our proposed rating for Peripheral neuropathy below.

Sub-items rating review

Peripheral neuro

Notes

Peripheral neuropathy has a low weighting in our Research database. Most insurers have the same stance towards this condition, with Asteron Life recently removing their drug and alcohol exclusion. While most insurers use the same assessment criteria to qualify for payment: 1) insured must have the inability to perform one or more Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) or 2) a 25% permanent whole person impairment, Asteron only has one of these (which according to our methodology is a difference). When we further investigated how this definition might be applied to other insurers, it became clear that practically, access to a qualified medical practitioner who can perform an assessment, diagnosing permanent impairment may be a challenge for clients outside our larger cities. ACC also uses this permanent impairment criteria for lump sum claims, however very little information can be found elsewhere. Overall, existing data does suggest that claims for this condition are quite low, so we conclude that the definition for all insurers is functionally similar in this case.

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


Legal and regulatory review for the life and health insurance sector

10 Nov 2021 – Reading of the following Bills completed in Parliament as shown

11 Nov 2021 – FMA consultation website updated as follows:


AIA offering access to Best Doctors, and more daily news

Beginning 1 November AIA started offering all group scheme customers and their immediate family members access to the Best Doctors service. Customers now have access to international specialists through the phone. This offer includes access to the Best Doctors Mental Health Navigator service, meaning customers now have access to mental health experts including psychologists and psychiatrists.

“AIA NZ is extending its product offering for all group scheme customers to include access to the highly sought-after Best Doctors service.

Best Doctors is a telehealth service, supporting AIA’s digital first proposition, and provides access to international specialists and mental health clinicians. Providing world-class advice and support when it is needed most, Best Doctors supports customers with diagnosis, treatment, and information, providing the confidence to make informed health decisions.

Sam Tremethick, Chief Partnership Insurance Officer says “At AIA NZ we believe we have a responsibility as New Zealand’s largest life insurer to move away from simply being a payer of claims, to partner with our customers to help them lead Healthier, Longer, Better Lives. We are proud to be able to offer access to Best Doctors, which is unique in the New Zealand market for group scheme customers.”

From 1 November 2021 eligible group scheme customers, who are often insured with AIA NZ through their employer’s insurance scheme or member association, will be able to access the benefit which also includes immediate family.

“Best Doctors is a fantastic offering, supporting our group scheme customers with the option of securing a second medical opinion on any medical diagnosis. We believe it is important to take a holistic approach to customer care, which is why we are thrilled to have this benefit extended to include immediate family as well, so they can also receive the right advice and support,” says Tremethick.

AIA NZ’s offering also includes access to Best Doctor’s market-leading Mental Health Navigator service, which provides direct online access to a multidisciplinary team of mental health experts including psychologists and psychiatrists. “Mental well-being is an area of significant concern in New Zealand, with depression the leading cause of disability worldwide. We know an estimated quarter of all Kiwis are currently affected by poor mental health. The Mental Health Navigator is one way we can help our customers get the right advice and information they need, so they can prioritise their mental health and get the support and help they need to lead Healthier, Longer, Better Lives.”

In other news

FSC: The Big Themes and Issues for Workplace Savings Schemes Regenerations session to be held at 9am 11 November

Upcoming sessions