Southern Cross study reveal unexpected implications of COVID-19, and more daily news

Southern Cross commissioned a study to understand the overall wellbeing of New Zealanders. The health of over 3,000 New Zealanders was examined in the study. The research was conducted during Level 4 and 3 so the implications of COVID-19 on the health of New Zealanders were examined.

“The Southern Cross Healthy Futures Report, conducted in partnership with Colmar Brunton, sought to track the physical, emotional and social health of more than 3,000 New Zealanders. Research began in 2019, but the survey period encompassed the Alert Level 4 and 3 lockdowns, giving insight on how these events affected the nation’s psyche.”

Some of the results of the study have be revealed and have indicated that COVID-19 had a positive impact on the health of participants. When compared to pre-lockdown, the sleep hours of more participants increased, feelings of loneliness decreased, the sense of belonging and connectedness increased, and physical activity increased.

“The research’s preliminary findings, ahead of its full release this month, indicated that the slower pace of life resulted in more people feeling that they were getting enough sleep – from 46% prior to lockdown to 61% during the lockdown. The average hours of sleep increased from 6.97 hours to 7.29 hours, meaning more New Zealanders were able to meet the recommended range of seven to nine hours of sleep.

Despite being isolated physically from friends and family during lockdown, the study found that feelings of loneliness decreased by 8%, as did concerns of being a burden on others – from 41% to 34%. According to the study, Kiwis also experienced a greater sense of belonging and connectedness to their community, up from 44% to 49%.

Physical activity also increased, with 60% of respondents considering themselves physically active, up from 52% before the lockdown.” Click here to read more

That was surprising to me, because it wasn't my experience, but on reflection, and after discussion with others, I can see how that would have been the case for many people. My own experience was a lot more work, less exercise, and less sleep. I get a lot of incidental exercise from going to appointments - so endless zoom meetings knocked a lot of that out. Also, I was one of the people where work got busier, not quieter, as lots of new data needed to be collected, people to be interviewed, policy changes had to be made at insurers, and new planning concepts had to be developed. Having said all that, the experience for others was more likely to be more common - and I shared some of that too - the idea of a shared challenge (COVID-19) and the need to respond. 

In other news:

Partners Life: Naomi on Premium Increases

AIA: 2020 Top Insurance Workplaces revealed


AIA community grant launched, and more daily news

AIA has launched their community grant programme. The grant is set on helping financial advisers motivate those in their communities to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Ten advisers whose ideas are voted as the best will be awarded $50,000 each.

“The programme has been designed to help financial advisers make a difference in local neighbourhoods and highlight the importance of health, wellbeing and overall financial resilience to New Zealand. Through a competitive application process, ten grants of up to $50,000 each will be awarded to initiatives designed to make a positive difference to the health and wellbeing of New Zealand communities.”

Advisers can submit their ideas on AIA NZ’s website and Instagram using the hashtag #aiahealthynz and tagging @aiavitalitynz.  The Winners will be announced in August.

“AIA will select ten applicants for the grant to be announced in August 2020.

To submit your ideas, post an image or video to Instagram with the tag #aiahealthynz, pin your local community and tag @aiavitalitynz.  Applications can also be submitted on AIA New Zealand’s website.” Click here to read more

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In other news:

The Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Bill underwent its first reading in Parliament, being referred to the Education and Workforce Select Committee.

AMP: Sale of AMP Life criticised

To FAP or not to FAP, the update

Share: Former Fidelity executive joins dealer group

 


Partners Life appoints Nadine Tereora, and more daily news

It has been announced that Nadine Tereora will join Partners Life as the new Chief Operating Officer. Nadine is set to join in 2021.

“It is my absolute pleasure to announce that Nadine Tereora is joining Partners Life in the role of Chief Operating Officer. While the details around her start date are still being worked out, we expect Nadine will be starting with us towards the beginning of 2021.

Having worked with Nadine in the past, and more recently having been in direct competition with her in her previous role as Chief Executive Officer at Fidelity, we are beyond delighted to be welcoming Nadine to the Partners Life team, and know that her unique mix of skills, experience and mana will be a huge asset to us as an executive team and to Partners Life as a whole.”

Naomi Ballantyne and Nadine Tereora

In other news:

Financial Advice NZ: Building on the stability of our banking system

Regulatory change needed, or halt to AMP Life sale, policyholder says

FSC webinar: Customers, complaints, code and claims - what have we learnt from COVID-19?

AIA: Progressive Care Claim Tool


Daily news update: Partners Life discontinues funeral cover, and more stories

Partners Life announced that they will no longer be offering funeral cover to new applicants as they have found that demand for the product is minimal. Although this decision was made earlier in the year, Partners decided to prolong the announcement date to ensure COVID-19 updates did not overshadow this announcement. Customers with existing cover will continue to receive product enhancements.

“As such, we have made the decision to discontinue Partners Life Funeral Cover for new policies effective today (15th June 2020). While this change may seem sudden, we had originally intended to discontinue Funeral Cover earlier in the year, however wanted to ensure it did not get swept up in, or lost amongst COVID-19 related changes and communications.

Of course, clients with existing policies will continue to remain covered and receive product enhancements and full support from Partners Life for as long as they stay in-force, as is the case for all existing Partners Life policy holders.”

In other news:

Insurer says May, June claims levels are almost back to normal

COVID-19 has increased demand for financial advice

Alert Level 1: what have advisers learnt from lockdown?


Daily news update: Newpark at a cross road, and more stories

Bernie McCrea has said that Newpark is looking into introducing shareholders as well as private capital investors to help Newpark achieve long-term goals. Bernie has said that gaining funding from investors is a better alternative than accumulating debt.

“Chairman Bernie McCrea said it was interested in institutional shareholders who might invest in the business to help it achieve its goals. It was also open to investments from private capital investors who might have money in the bank earning little interest.

“People who have an interest in financial services but are earning zero at the moment and want to diversify … we are an option for them.

In other news:

Newpark has given members a choice of four options for their ongoing relationship with the group.

Australia: Former celebrity financial adviser charged with dishonest conduct

Here are five ways to avoid looming 'retirement time-bomb'

Advisers urged to “get their cyber-security sorted”

IFSO: IFSO Scheme names two new commissioners

BNZ to put all staff through courses


Daily news update: overview of main points from CoFI select committee hearing, and more stories

Insurance and industry associations representatives shared their views on CoFI during the select committee hearing held on 10 June 2020. Participants included, Cigna head of legal Michael Burrowes, AIA general counsel Kristy Redfern, Financial Advice New Zealand CEO Katrina Shanks, Partners Life chief legal, risk and conduct officer Rebecca Sellers, industry expert David Whyte and Anna Black Fidelity Life chief risk officer.

Michael Burrowes head of legal said that the bill was a good idea but was rushed and complex. Michael and AIA general counsel Kristy Redfern both suggested that the bill be delayed. Kristy highlighted that unlike Australia, New Zealand had time to get the bill right. She also warned that the reform was affecting the mental wellbeing of advisers, which could lead to New Zealanders becoming even more underinsured.

“Michael Burrowes, head of legal at Cigna, said the bill was a good idea but there had been a lack of consultation with the industry for what would be a substantial and important regime. The result was rushed, complex and lacked the appropriate clarity and detail.

He and AIA general counsel Kristy Redfern called for the bill to be delayed until FSLAA had bedded in.”

“Redfern said changes to commission rules in Australia had affected the availability of advice and given that New Zealand was underinsured already, that outcome should be avoided. She said the threat of significant reform was affecting advisers’ mental wellbeing. “It’s more important than ever that any additional regulation is fit for purpose and doesn’t create unintended consequences and anxiety.”

She said, because there was no evidence of widespread misbehaviour New Zealand had time to get the bill right.”

Katrina Shanks shared Financial Advice’s concerns as well as saying that it was hard to understand the implications of CoFI as a lot was left to regulations. Katrina also highlighted that that unlike other sectors, the power to prohibit incentives was very strong. Similarly, David Whyte said that it was unclear if advisers were caught by providers’ fair conduct programmes.

“Shanks said Financial Advice NZ had six main concerns: the bill’s power to regulate sales incentives, no definition of “fair”, confusion over whether financial advisers are included in fair conduct programmes, the definition of intermediary, the claims process, and the timing of the bill’s enactment.”

“David Whyte, speaking on behalf of a group of sector participants including Financial Advice New Zealand, the TripleA Advisers Association and Wealthpoint, said the drafting was confusing because it was not clear whether financial advisers were caught by providers’ fair conduct programmes.”

Rebecca Sellers, chief legal, risk and conduct officer at Partners Life highlighted that incentives played an important part in the livelihoods of many advisers. While Anna Black Fidelity Life chief risk officer said that the outcome of CoFI needs to increase customer trust and ensure sustainability

“Partners Life chief legal, risk and conduct officer Rebecca Sellers said incentives played an important part in the livelihoods of many businesses and were a matter of substantive policy that should not be delegated to regulation – though committee member and Labour MP Duncan Webb asked AIA how the rules could be kept up-to-date with a changing industry if they were not in the regulations.”

“Anna Black, chief risk officer at Fidelity Life, said the outcome of the bill needed to increase customer trust and ensure sustainability of the industry over the long term. “Pausing is appropriate.”” Click here to read more

In other news:

Commerce Commission: The Commerce Commission:  announced that it has finalised the criteria it will use to assess whether a lender is “fit and proper” under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act

Partners Life: Partners Life sponsored the filming for Fight For Time, a story of the Pink Dragons

FSC: FSC 2020 Awards will be held at the FSC Generations Conference Gala Dinner

FSC: Generations Conference earlybird tickets now available

FSC webinar: Introduction to Generations webinar

FSC: FSC’s partner Voices of Hope will be the charity partner for the 2020 Conference


Daily news update: CoFI submitters areas of concern, and more stories

There have been many submissions on the topic of CoFI. AIA, Cigna, Fidelity Life, Partners Life and AMP have shared their views in regard to the implications CoFI will have on advisers, commission as well as the scope of COFI and the time needed.

Fidelity has stated their concern for potential adviser issues and customer confusion relating to advisers having to comply with different fair conduct programmes. Gail Costa, CEO of Cigna, has said that because of CoFI, advisers could end up preferring one provider's conduct programmes to simplify their compliance obligations, causing a conflict of interest. Partners Life have said that advisers should not be caught by the bill at all. While AIA have said that advisers that were not licensed under FSLAA should be the only ones affected by CoFI.

“While submitters voiced support for the overall intention of the bill, all raised concerns about how it has been drafted.

Significant concern related to how advisers will be dealt with under the bill. There is a carve-out for financial advice providers, but not necessarily for individual advisers, in its current form.

That could mean all advisers had to show compliance with the financial advice providers’ conduct programme, as well as meeting their own obligations under FSLAA.”

When discussing commission, Fidelity said that CoFI could create uncertainty and affect participants’ ability to plan for the future. Nick Stanhope has said that change in commission, will create very high levels of regulatory risk.

“Submitters were concerned that the bill left open the option of regulators introducing new rules for commission structures, without any legislation change being required.”

Another area or concern was the scope of CoFI. AMP stated that they were concerned that being considered a financial institution would increase costs. And Partners Life has said that there is a risk that CoFI is going to create an uneven playing field. KiwiSaver customers would have protection through the bill if they were with a bank but not through a fund manager.

“Many submitters were worried about the scope of the new bill. Some said it was too broad – AMP Wealth Management New Zealand said it was concerned about being included as a financial institution – the cost of licensing would affect its ability to keep costs down. The Securities Industry Association said it seemed that NZX trading, and advising market participants, had been inadvertently captured as intermediaries.

But Partners Life said there was a risk it would create an uneven playing field – a customer would have protection through the bill if they were in KiwiSaver through a bank but not through a fund manager.”

The last area that has created mass concern is time. Nick Stanhope has said that FSLAA should be given enough time to be implemented before more regulations are introduced. David Ireland, partner at Dentons Kensington Swan has also expressed his concern saying that CoFI hasn’t gone through the same level of consultation as other significant regulatory changes.

““No consultation draft was released for public feedback, with no opportunity to debate the outcome of the one round of consultation on the issues paper released last year. The outcome is a bill that provides a framework for a new regime, but with many of the details not fully formed and with many uncertainties as to scope and practical application.

“Conduct licensing is complex. A new regime as significant as this one ought not to be rushed through.”” Click here to read more

In other news:

FSC set to host Reserve Bank on CEO Roundtable 11 June 2020

FSC to make oral submission to the Finance and Expenditure CoFI 10 June 2020

FSC: Big Trends in Tech, Innovations and Investing Webinar to be held 9 June 2020

FSC: Get In Shape Advice Session 2 webinar with Karty Mayne and David Greenslade to be held 12 June 2020

BNZ: OMNIMax and BNZ work together to help BNZ customers get the most out of KiwiSaver


Daily news update: AIA and Southern Cross share claims insights, and more stories.

AIA and Southern Cross have provided insight into their claim volumes during Alert Level 4 and 3. Len Elikhis, chief officer, product and vitality highlighted that there was a drop in claim volumes, although he expects claims to have been deferred and not avoided. 

“AIA chief officer, product and vitality Len Elikhis says that for AIA, the vast majority of claims come from surgical procedures. Although the lockdown period saw a drop-off in claim volumes, he says these are more likely to be deferred rather than avoided, making any significant claims savings unlikely.

With Alert Level 2 offering more room for non-urgent procedures, Elikhis says insurers will start to see those claims numbers coming back up, and customers who put their claims off for the lockdown period will be looking to access elective procedures.”

Similarly, Southern Cross experienced a drop in claims during Level 4, however they paid out over 120,000 claims for consultations urgent care.

“Kerry Boille, chief sales officer at Southern Cross Health Society says that Southern Cross has also seen a reduction in claims since the lockdown, but has nonetheless paid a significant amount in consultations and urgent care. She says the focus has been on communicating clearly and openly with members, and in switching to digital consultations where possible.

“We are continuing to process and pay claims, and while we did see a drop-off, we’ve paid over 120,000 claims since we went into Alert Level 4 and the start of lockdown,” Boille said.Click here to read more

nib tell us that Mercy Ascot is now running providing surgeries on Saturdays to try and clear some of the backlog of treatment required. With responses like that the predictions that the sector will not catch up (and some treatments will simply not be provided) are likely to be proven wrong. 

In other news:

Partners Life: My Underwriting Manager (MUM) now automatically prompts updated COVID-19 related mental health questionnaires.

Partners Life: Underwriting restrictions 2020

nib: Webinar on how to use nibAPPLY to be held 10 June 2020

Fidelity Life: Insurer to move 270 Newmarket staff to CBD: Fidelity Life leases new Fanshawe St block

Coronavirus: Saturday surgeries to clear Northland DHB’s 900-strong backlog

Elective surgery back on and Taranaki GPs as busy as ever in level 2


Product database updated

The latest version of the QPR database (V135) has been distributed to subscribers and uploaded onto Quotemonster. This version includes the following changes:

  • New Cigna personal policy wording effective 11/05/2020
    • Minor rating change to:
    • Trauma - cancer definition, child trauma option amount score
    • Life - terminal illness definition
  • Remediation to:
    • Partners Life's Mental Health Limitation (in IP)
  • Term cover policy 02/18 now rated in Westpac Mortgage Protection

Daily news update: FMA investigate advice regarding KiwiSaver , and more stories

The FMA is looking into an adviser that recommended clients move savings into more conservative accounts during Level 4 lockdown. The FMA has stated that this advice could cause great damage to clients. Clients that accepted the advice provided in a mass email would have locked in the losses caused by the market volatility. As a result of the adviser’s actions, the FMA has reminded the public that they should consider all options before making any changes.

"The AFA sent a bulk email in March 2020 to clients urgently recommending they move their savings in KiwiSaver and other funds to less risky options.

The FMA was alerted to the communication after receiving a complaint from one of the adviser’s clients.

FMA head of supervision James Greig said the advice was inappropriate and had the potential for significant harm.

"The FMA has a low tolerance for poor conduct that poses risk to customers as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, especially because New Zealanders are looking for financial guidance at this time.” Click here to read more

In other news:

FMA: Providers working to help panicked switchers

PartnerRe: PartnerRe announces two new CEOs

Partners Life: New independent director at Partners Life

Is a brokerage no longer a “lifestyle” business?

Reserve Bank: Reserve Bank governor believes rates can go lower