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Legal and regulatory review for the life and health insurance industry

16 Aug 2021 - Financial Sector (Climate-related Disclosures and Other Matters) Amendment Bill reported back from Parliamentary Select Committee. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_109905/financial-sector-climate-related-disclosures-and-other

13 Aug 2021 - Inland Revenue advised it is seeking public feedback on the proposed scope of the topics outlined for its 2022 long term insights briefing on tax, investment and productivity, with submissions closing on 6 September 2021. https://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/news/2021/2021-08-13-consultation-ltib

11 Aug 2021 - The Takeovers Panel issued updated guidance on acceptance forms to recognise the phasing out of the use of cheques. https://www.takeovers.govt.nz/guidance/codeword/issue-52/guidance-on-acceptance-forms/

11 Aug 2021 – The Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill completed its second reading in Parliament with the Minister for Internal Affairs inviting the Governance and Administration select committee to consider improvements to the self-identification process and to provide a further opportunity for public submissions. Relevant web links are https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/simple-self-identification-one-step-closer and https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_74854/births-deaths-marriages-and-relationships-registration

12 Aug 2021 – ASIC released information outlining its approach to new laws reforming the Australian financial services sector. https://asic.gov.au/about-asic/news-centre/find-a-media-release/2021-releases/21-213mr-asic-s-approach-to-new-laws-reforming-financial-services-sector/


Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Grief and Funeral Support - UPDATED

Introduction

We have recently conducted a full review on our “Grief and Funeral Support” item. Please find the new sub-items below.

Proposed sub-items

Grief

Notes

We have included several sub-items to highlight the differences in the benefit among insurers. Another change we have recently made is increasing the cover amount in our Life cover claims scenario from $206,000 to $500,000 as this is the most frequently quoted amount on Quotemonster. This amendment decreases the proportion of this benefit in comparison to the total sum insured and leads to a decrease in the total score. 

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


They just want both their names on the forms in a way that makes sense

This is a fascinating article about a couple who just want to be able to put both their names on the incredible cluster of forms that swirl around when you have a baby. It really underlines, in some ways, how little progress has been made. But at least when challenged by journalists several of the relevant authorities have said that they will be making changes. Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-devon-58071558 

When we can't, or won't make our forms and processes describe people as they wish to be described, or see people as they see themselves, then we have to ask - are we deliberately excluding them? So a quick shout out to all those businesses that have flexible forms and questions phrased so that they include people. 


AIA update mental health underwriting practices, and more daily news

AIA has announced that there will be updates to the underwriting approach relating to mental health. This change is designed to allow customers to ‘tell their own story’ about their mental health when applying for cover. Chief Customer Officer Sharron Botica has said that the updated questions will allow customers to share their personal experiences and will ensure that underwriters are only involved when it is determined that further consideration is needed. AIA has said that it is important to find ways to ensure underwriting practices are more inclusive as mental health affects many New Zealanders.

“AIA NZ has taken a positive step forward to support customers to ‘tell their own story’ of mental ill health when applying for insurance cover.

Improvements have been made to the insurer’s underwriting approach to mental ill health disclosures for Income Protection cover, via its online platform AIAHub. These changes include an expanded set of questions to better understand the nature and severity of any mental health conditions being disclosed, and in some circumstances, provide straight-through processing.

AIA NZ Chief Customer Officer Sharron Botica says, “With the growing maturity of automated underwriting and our ability to analyse data from many years of customer disclosures, we are pleased to have been able to review our previous approach of manual underwriting, and introduce some automation to better support customers with mental ill health.”

Historically applications for Income Protection have been referred for manual underwriting when mental health issues are disclosed, irrespective of the severity or type of mental health condition or the impact on a customer's individual circumstances. Across the market, mental ill health is considered a disclosure that requires independent, third party information such as a doctor's report, to ensure it can be accurately underwritten due its subjective or changing nature, which makes it difficult to assess.

“Mental ill health disclosures are never easy, and the revised question set will offer AIA NZ customers the chance to share their personal experiences, and allow our underwriters to only become more involved on those cases that require further consideration,” says Sharron. “We believe it is important to recognise the disclosure and the type of mental health issue our customer is experiencing, or has experienced in the past.”

“While there are some more severe mental ill health conditions that will continue to be automatically referred, some milder conditions such as those relatively transitory in nature, or those which have minimal or no impact on daily work and activities, will – in the majority of cases – no longer require additional medical information to be provided,” Sharron says.

According to the 2018 He Ara Oranga Report into Mental Health and Addiction, over 50–80% of New Zealanders will experience mental distress or addiction challenges (or both), in their lifetime*. AIA NZ’s charity partner, the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, stated in their 2020 Wellbeing study that a quarter of New Zealanders currently have poor levels of mental and emotional wellbeing, including nearly a third of women. 

“We know mental ill health is something affecting many New Zealanders, and we feel it is important that we find ways within our underwriting practices to be more inclusive. While we acknowledge there is more we can do to support these customers, we feel these changes are a positive step forward to providing cover, and the chance for customers to have their personal experiences understood more clearly,” Sharron says

AIA NZ will continue to look closely at other underwriting considerations and disclosures, such as smoking status, alcohol consumption and BMI which research shows are all drivers of poorer mental health outcomes.

“At AIA our dream is for New Zealand to become one of the healthiest and best protected nations in the world. 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 New Zealanders to support their mental wellbeing and help them lead Healthier, Longer, Better Lives.” 

In other news

FSC: Dame Valerie Adams confirmed to speak on day 1 of FSC ReGenerations Conference

Financial Advice: How good record-keeping reinforces trust

Financial Advice: Professional Ethics Workshop

Financial Advice: Review your professional development plan and stay compliant in the new regime

RBNZ: New foundations to strengthen and modernise the Reserve Bank


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

10 Aug 2021 – Fair Trading Amendment Bill completed its third reading in Parliament. Relevant web links include https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_93552/fair-trading-amendment-bill and https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/bill-cracking-down-unfair-commercial-practices-passes-third-reading

10 Aug 2021 – The Reserve Bank of NZ Bill completed its third reading in Parliament. Relevant web links include https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_99656/reserve-bank-of-new-zealand-bill and https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/reserve-bank-bill-passes-third-reading and https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2021/08/new-foundations-to-strengthen-and-modernise-the-reserve-bank

11 Aug 2021 – As the RBNZ issued a warning to Westpac in relation to AML/CFT prescribed transaction reporting failures, the RBNZ also issued the results of the Correspondent Banking, Prescribed Transaction Reporting and Transaction Monitoring Survey. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2021/08/formal-amlcft-warning-issued-to-westpac-banking-corporation

11 Aug 2021 – Council of Financial Regulators released a forward work plan providing a timetable of the planned regulatory initiatives from the CoFR agencies covering the rest of 2021 and throughout 2022. https://www.cofr.govt.nz/files/regulatory-initiatives.pdf CoFR also advised that it will receive statutory recognition under the just completed Reserve Bank of NZ Bill.

11 Aug 2021 – FMA latest monthly update included the following:

  • The FMA advised that it has joined the International Financial Consumer Protection Organisation (FinCoNet) - the organisation of supervisory authorities which have responsibility for financial consumer protection.

http://www.finconet.org/

  • World Investor Week this year is to be held 5-11 October 2021.

https://www.worldinvestorweek.org/

  • FMA Stories included a piece from Derek Grantham making an argument for the benefits of getting your full Financial Advice Provider licence in 2021.

https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/fma-stories/get-your-full-licence-in-2021/


Do your friends trust you?

Would a friend be happy to do business with you? Below is a beautiful article describing how you ask a friend if they would like to do business with you. I like the approach - although to be fair I have rarely tried, my business not being retail. https://www.advisorpedia.com/growth/the-surprising-answer-to-do-your-friends-trust-you/ hat tip to Tony Vidler for the article. 


Financial Advice NZ awards, and more daily news

The Financial Advice NZ awards entries are open until 17 September 2021. The awards will include five award categories, with a total of 16 awards on offer. The categories include:

“SERVICE TO THE PROFESSION AWARD - The individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the financial services sector, going above and beyond to champion or enhance the profession. - This person does not have to be a member of Financial Advice NZ. - There is an opportunity for one award for this category.

OUTSTANDING ADVISER AWARD - Recognises members who help New Zealanders achieve financial wellbeing through providing an outstanding financial advice service and who exhibit professional excellence. - There is one award per financial advice stream for this category.

RISING STAR AWARD - Recognises the brightest new talent in advice among members in their chosen field of financial advice. - There is one award per financial advice stream for this category.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORT PERSON AWARD - Recognises members who demonstrate exceptional adviser support and ongoing commitment to the financial services sector. - There is one award per financial advice stream for this category.

COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD - Recognises members who have made a meaningful and positive impact on the lives of people in our communities in respect of financial wellbeing. - There are three awards in this category.

While there are five award categories, there are 16 awards to be handed out over the night with multiple awards for different advice streams. ” Click here to read more

In other news

Cigna: Cigna Live to be held on 20 August at 10am

Partners Life: Expressions of interest for September New Adviser Training Course now open

AIA: AIA named as one of Top Insurance Employers 2021 winners

Suncorp: Suncorp's profits take 17% hit

Russell’s piece on Good returns: Adviser opportunities have never been better

Financial Advice: free Money Week webinars

Adviser Voice: TAL enters into share sale agreement to acquire Westpac’s life insurance business alongside an exclusive 20-year strategic alliance - Australia


Legal and regulatory review for the life and health insurance sector

5 Aug 2021 – As part of Money Week, the Insurance Council of NZ released consumer survey results which show a disturbing lack of understanding of insurance by New Zealanders. https://www.icnz.org.nz/media-resources/media-releases/single/item/just-wondering-how-well-do-you-understand-your-insurance

9 Aug 2021 – Council of Financial Regulators announced that the RBNZ and the FMA will be working together to conduct a cross-sector thematic review on governance, covering banks, insurers, non-bank deposit takers and investment management firms. The review will focus on the boards of regulated entities and their ability to effectively govern and provide oversight. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/regulation-and-supervision/thematic-reviews/cross-sector-thematic-reviews