New Asteron Life Head of Life appointed, and more daily news

Asteron Life has announced that Grant Willis has been appointed as the new Head of Life. In this new role Grant will oversee the core functions of product, pricing. sales, operations, claims as well as client servicing.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Grant Willis to the newly established Head of Life role, effective immediately.

He comes into the role from a career in financial services, including the past nine years at Suncorp New Zealand, most recently as Executive Manager – Life, in Insurance Solutions, and from 2011 to 2016 was Asteron Life CFO. Grant has also held senior roles at AIG NZ, Colonial Fiji (a subsidiary of CBA), ASB and Sovereign.

As Head of Life, Grant will oversee the core functions of product, pricing. sales, operations, claims and client servicing. His appointment will enable us to focus on continuously improving customer outcomes in partnership with you.”

In other news

FSCL: FSCL celebrates 10 year anniversary

FSC: Generations Digital Conference registration open

Partners Life: Expressions of interest for 3 day October Virtual New Adviser Training Course now open

Partners Life: licensing information webinar to be held 24 September at 11 am


Deloitte report on the New Zealand life insurance sector

Deloitte's report on the New Zealand life insurance sector provides a comprehensive overview of the structural differences between the New Zealand environment and the markets with which it is often compared. It provides context for the comparisons that are inevitably made as part of the debate over issues such as efficiency, commission payments, claims ratios, and channel mix. Rather than give quantitative answers to challenges - such as concerns about the level of commissions - it seeks first to explain the situation. Some assertions are made, usually about the possible causes of some features of the market, but refreshingly, without advocating for any particular prescription. Except for one: the report suggests caution. I think that is wise. Dramatic changes have been made to the Australian life insurance sector. It appears to be much the worse for them. In a sector where contracts are commitments for decades of cover, often with fixed terms, and sometimes with fixed premiums, it seems wise to exercise caution. Anyone writing a background paper for a strategy session would do well to set this as background reading or use the issues as a checklist for their decision-screens. What solutions you may bring to each of the issues, that will be up to you. Link: https://www2.deloitte.com/nz/en/pages/financial-services/articles/deloitte-issues-paper-life-insurance-sector.html#  


Advisers warned against cyber-attacks, and more daily news

After the NZX cyber-attacks, financial service businesses are being warned by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). The high cyber security advisory that was issued addresses the current threat and details how attacks could happen. The NCSC has said that businesses should review current plans and systems in place.

“A high cyber security advisory has been issued by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), warning financial services businesses about the current threat and outlining how the attacks could occur.

Affected entities have received ransom emails demanding payment in Bitcoin, along with a threat of a significant distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against internet-exposed infrastructure if the ransom is not paid.

The NCSC said financial services firms should review their plans for responding to a DDoS attack to ensure they were up to date, and review their systems architecture to identify any potential points of failure. ”

Katrina Shanks has said that advisers need to avoid being complacent and instead need to know the strength of their current cyber security processes. She continued by saying that cyber-attacks affect consumer confidence and that there are many options for those looking to improve their cyber security.

“Financial Advice NZ chief executive Katrina Shanks said advisers would need to understand how up to date their cyber security processes were and what protections they had in place. And should avoid “being complacent”.

She said there were a lot of options available to businesses that wanted to improve their cyber security. “You do get what you pay for.”

She said there was a risk to consumer confidence when high-profile financial services firms such as the NZX, were repeatedly felled by the attacks.” Click here to read more

In other news

Level five isn't the big issue for advisers; It's something else

FMA: FMA releases new investor guide to bonds

Deloitte: Tricky to compare NZ insurance to other markets - report prepared for Partners Life


Financial Advice conference recipient of Government funding, and more daily news

It was announced that MBIE’s $10 million Domestic Events Fund was set up to support events. Financial Advice NZ has been named as one of the 200 recipients.  The funding was granted to Financial Advice NZ for their 2020 Bounce conference.

“The $10 million Government fund was set up to support the events industry despite the disruption of Covid-19.

Financial Advice NZ received funding for its conference this year, which is set up as a series of roadshow events across the country. The events can be attended online or in-person. The association will decide this weekend whether to go ahead with an in-person Auckland event.”

Katrina Shanks has said that the funding is fantastic and would allow them to have certainty.

“Financial Advice NZ chief executive Katrina Shanks said the funding would allow the association to have some certainty as it worked with the events company delivering its conference this year.

“It’s fantastic for them. It’s yet another industry that’s had a huge hit from Covid.” Click here to read more

In other news:

AMP: AMP announced that it is considering selling all, or some, of its assets, various stories, but this one in the AFR is recent

Partners Life: Expressions of interest is now open for the September 2020 New Adviser Training Course

RBNZ: Same objectives, different challenges


Applications near the 1,000 mark, and more daily news

Information realised by the FMA show that 949 transitional licence applications had been approved as of 21 August 2020. The approved licences represent over 7,000 advisers. Katrina Shanks said that she expected more applications to be processed as she doesn’t see a sign of an exodus.

“The FMA said that, as of August 21, it had approved 949 transitional licence applications, representing more than 7,000 financial advisers.

Everyone offering personalised financial advice must have their own financial advice provider licence by March 15, or work under the umbrella of another provider.

Financial Advice New Zealand chief executive Katrina Shanks said she expected more applications were still to happen.

She said there was no sign of an “exodus” from the sector and there were 10,000 financial advisers registered.” Click here to read more

Chatswood produces a running estimate of the total number of financial advisers we expect to be covered by the regime which will be updated and shared in the forthcoming life and health sector quarterly review. 

In other news

Asteron Life: Ahead of next week’s launch, Asteron Life have made information and resources available at Showcase. Advisers can initially use the password AsteronLife2020 

AIA: AIA reveals grant winners

FMA: FMA appoints director of investment management

How to write about money

Partners Life: Partners Life Employee of the Year held virtually


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

 


FMA survey findings, and more daily news 

Part two of the results of the FMA’s investor confidence survey have been revealed.  Although the focus is on investment, it is interesting to see the current thinking of New Zealanders in terms of accessing financial advice. The survey found that males are more likely to seek out an adviser. Although only 17% of respondents were Asian, they made up 30% of the total respondents that would seek help from an adviser. Gillian Boyes, FMA investor capability manager has said that more people are looking for financial information. 

“Those looking for an adviser were significantly more likely to be male – at 63% compared to 49% across all investors, with investments outside KiwiSaver, working full-time and more confident in New Zealand financial markets. Nearly 30% of those looking for an adviser were Asian – Asian people were just 17% of the survey respondents.

 

FMA investor capability manager Gillian Boyes said advisers would need to try to tap into other markets and find people who were not necessarily even thinking about investment advice now.

 

She said people were generally much more engaged and looking for information about investment and finances. “It’s an ideal time for advisers to reach out.””

During Money Week, Financial Advice will run a joint event with the FMA at The Base in Hamilton to address questions the public may have around money.

“The FMA and Financial Advice NZ will run an event during money week at which people will be encouraged to bring their money questions to advisers at The Base shopping mall in Hamilton.” Click here to read more

In other news:

Financial Advice: Financial Advice set to hold hour-long webinar every day of Money Week for consumers

Financial advice: Money week webinars are as follows:

·       Monday 10th: Financial Planning – Hannah McQueen

·       Tuesday 11th: Mortgage Discussion – John Bolton

·       Wednesday 12th: Insurance Discussion – Peter Leitch

·       Thursday 13th: Retirement Planning – Liz Koh

·       Friday 14th: Investment Discussion – Paul Sewell

Revealed: New Zealand's Top Advisers 2020

Partners Life: Expressions of interest now open for our 3 day New Adviser Training Course - August 2020

FMA: Proposed standard conditions consultation submissions close 5pm on Friday 7 August 2020

 

 


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.


Changes to dealer groups, and more daily news

With regulatory changes finalising, the industry is working to adjust. This has resulted in a number of changes being contemplated as well as being implemented. Dealer groups have had to reconsider may aspects of their business to ensure that they are prepared for the upcoming changes. One potential change is the acquisition of a group by another.

“In the past week rumours started swirling around the market that one of the bigger groups was about to takeover/merge/acquire one of the mid-size groups.”

The impending changes to the current law has meant changes to Newpark have had to be made. Newpark is expected to announce changes to their model towards the end of next month.

“Meanwhile, Newpark is regrouping its army, but how big it will be after Partners Life new FAPO model where override commission is paid to FAPs is unknown.

Good Returns understands that Newpark will be announcing its new model around August 23. If Covid-19 hadn't rolled its dice and pushed licensing back a year it's questionable if the group would still be on the board.”

Alongside making changes to align with new regulatory standards dealer group must work to ensure that they offer advisers attractive membership services.

“For advisers there is a growing imperative to ensure they find a group that fits with their own beliefs and business practices.

For dealer groups the pressure is coming on to deliver appropriate services to their members at the right price points.”  Click here to read more

In other news:

FSCL: Dispute service sees complaints rise by 40%

Southern Cross: Insurance companies among finalists for awards championing diversity

FANZ: Trusted Adviser mark attracts “strong and supportive” feedback

Commerce Commission: Commerce Commission release advising the Court of Appeal issued a ruling in the case regarding Harmoney’s lending model. In a judgment issued on 8 July the Court said that: Harmoney Limited is a creditor, its contracts are consumer credit contracts which are subject to the requirements of the CCCF Act, its platform fee is therefore a credit fee that is required by the CCCF Act to be reasonable.