Partners Life financial assistance update, and more daily news

Partners Life has announced that it is too soon to determine the extent of the economic impact the current lockdown will have on clients. Previously, Partners Life offered a Premium Holiday and a Premium Suspension to support clients under financial hardship. Partners Life has noted that they will reassess whether other additional support will be required. 

“As you may remember, during the very first period of COVID-19 Alert Level 4, Partners Life offered a discretionary COVID-19 Premium Holiday to our clients, allowing them to suspend their premiums and keep their cover if their household had been significantly impacted by the period of lockdown.

Subsequently, during the period following the move down in Alert Levels, we permanently changed the criteria for our Premium Holiday and Policy Suspension affordability options as follows:

Premium Holiday

The provisions for Redundancy, Bankruptcy, Termination of a Fixed Term Contract and Permanent Closure of a business by which the life assured was fully employed were all extended to include the life assured’s Spouse, De Facto Partner or Civil Union Partner.

Premium Suspension

A catch-all criteriawas added for consideration where a life assured or policy owner paying the premiums are suffering from unexpected financial stress as a direct result of the Government’s Alert Level response to COVID-19.

We added these criteria to reflect the fact that the financial impacts of COVID-19 (and subsequent public health actions and orders) would likely be ongoing for some time. These criteria are stillavailable to our clients if they need assistance.

In light of the suddenness of the current Alert Level 4 lockdown, it is still too early to understand what sort of economic impact it may have on our clients given there was an economic boom immediately prior to this outbreak, and given we do not yet have any indication of likely duration – we will reassess whether any other specific additional support is required and warranted once more information comes to light over the coming days.”

In other news

Nib: nib holdings limited (nib) will announce its FY21 Full Year Results via webcast at 10.00am (AEST) on Monday 23 August 2021.

  

Dial: 0800 451 109 or +61 2 8038 5291

Passcode: 8677534

Lessons and opportunities from the regulatory shake-up in Australia from Fidelity Life on Vimeo.


Outrage over funeral cover scheme closure, and more daily news

It was announced that New Zealand Credit Union (NZCU) was set to close down its Credicare scheme. This was going to leave over 2,00 people without funeral cover. Members were set to be credited $50. After outrage from members, NZCU announced that the Credicare scheme has been extended until January 2022 when NZCU will decide the future of Credicare. 

“More than 2,000 people are likely to be left with hefty funeral bills as the New Zealand Credit Union (NZCU) looks to close down its Credicare scheme, which provides funeral insurance plans.

Around 2,650 people are part of the scheme, most of them South Islanders. Some of the clients had been paying into the scheme for many years, expecting their families to receive around $10,000 when they died, according to a report by TVNZ’s Fair Go.

In June, NZCU announced that it would shut down Credicare, to the shock and dismay of customers, especially those who had invested significant amounts of money.

As part of the closure, NZCU offered members a credit of $50 in their accounts. However, some customers said they had paid thousands of dollars since the scheme began in early 1990s. The closure will also make it very difficult or costly for elderly customers to obtain further funeral insurance.

Meronea Dawson, a member that had paid into Credicare for more than 20 years, could not help but feel betrayed.

“I feel like a friend of mine shat on me,” Dawson told Fair Go.

Following the backlash, NZCU said it will extend the Credicare scheme until January 2022, when it will make known its decision about the scheme’s future.

“We acknowledge that we could have approached the proposed closure of Credicare in a different way and we are sorry that our recent communication has caused concern and distress for some Credicare members,” said NZCU chief executive Gavin Earle. “We have listened to the feedback and are committed to working together with Credicare members to determine its future.” Click here to read more

Insurers and advisers that regularly work with customers will recognise the misconception represented by the word 'invested': these people believe that they are saving up for a claim. That belief means that they do not understand the product they own - which is a large part of the reason it is not working the way they thought it would. We know that insurance is a low-involvement category. Very often, even if a client has the cover properly explained to them, they forget - because it simply isn't important information for them. Insurance is boring for most consumers, and the new and confusing thing they just been told stands no chance against a long-held belief. That is one of the reasons that we cannot expect clients to maintain their own insurance programmes. It must be done for them, either by the insurer, or a good adviser. 

In other news

Fidelity Life: The Fidelity Life team, including Business Managers can be contacted as usual via phone and email 

Partners Life: Partners Life to monitor the COVID-19 lockdown situation closely over the next few days to work through what this might mean for affordability support options for clients, underwriting and new business pipelines

RBNZ: Official Cash Rate on hold at 0.25 percent

 


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


FYI: How to quote Severe Trauma on Quotemonster

There are three insurers that currently offer Severe Trauma in their Product Suite – AIA (Progressive Care), Asteron (Major Trauma) and Partners Life (Severe Trauma)

For further information on each please click on the product below:   

To quote this on Quotemonster, simply select Accelerated or Standalone Trauma and click the “Severe Trauma” box below the cover amount

Here are some options on how to quote:

1. You can split the amount between standard Trauma and Severe Trauma to generate a quote for all three insurers

First

2. As a work around to the above, you can add $1 into the Cover Amount for standard Trauma and the full amount for Severe Trauma

Only two insurers will generate a comparision in this case as Asteron requires a minimum sum insured of $5,000 for their standard Trauma

One

3. By splitting the cover amount, you can generate a quote that contains both AIAs' Critical Conditions Cover and Progressive Care

Progress and CC

This method allows us to compare a premium and rating for Severe Trauma on Quotemonster, however if you have any feedback, please feel free to send this through to info@quotemonster.co.nz


RBNZ announce insurer Solvency Standard consultation

The Reserve Bank has announced that a consultation will be opened until 1 October 2021 for the interim standard that considers upcoming changes to accounting rules (IFRS 17). The feedback will be incorporated into the current solvency standards. Changes will be made effective at the beginning of 2022. The started is intended to assure policyholders that insurers will be financially capable of meeting promises. Geoff Bascand, RBNZ deputy governor and financial stability general manager, has said that RBNZ will work to understand the capital impact on insurers through further analysis via an industry consultation.

“The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) is asking for feedback saying the interim standard is needed to take account of upcoming changes to accounting rules (IFRS 17) and to incorporate feedback into its current solvency standards.

The Interim Solvency Standard consultation will be open for 10 weeks until October 1, 2021, will take effect from early 2022 and be in force for around three years.

The standard has been designed so policyholders can be comfortable that an insurance company has enough funds to meet its promises to policyholders, even if it fails, RBNZ deputy governor and financial stability general manager Geoff Bascand says.

“Through our review of the standard, we have modified some of the ways that we require insurers to calculate their capital needs. This is to ensure greater consistency and clarity in our requirements and to deal with new accounting standards for the insurance industry,” Bascand says.

“This will bring our method for capturing risks into line with international standards. We will undertake further analysis, in consultation with the industry, as we are keen to understand the capital impact on insurers. We strongly encourage them to engage with the consultation.” Click here to read more

 

In other news

From Insurance Business Mag: How long does it take to get a Level 5 certificate?

nib: Underwriting delays for nib special offer

Partners Life: Naomi Ballantyne will be addressing Women in Insurance Summit 2021 attendees with her “Leadership in the 21st century,” presentation

Asteron Life: Claire Sutton will be a featured speaker at the Women in Insurance Summit 2021

nib: Rob Hennin will be a featured speaker at the Women in Insurance Summit 2021

AIA: Brynlea Hunter-Morpeth will be a featured speaker at the Women in Insurance Summit 2021


Shareable Partners Life insurance knowledge articles, and more daily news

Partners Life has published client-focused insurance knowledge articles on Partners Life Academy and the Partners Life website. The articles are intended to be sharable material to simplify insurance concepts for clients. Advisers will find PDF copies of the articles in the Content Library under Assets.

Topics include:

  • Why your insurance is more expensive than your friend’s
  • Why does my premium go up each year?
  • How do insurance companies pay out big claims, when their customers only pay small premiums?
  • Where there’s a Will there’s a way – Why you should write a will
  • Wielding the stick of power: The importance of having a Power of Attorney
  • Guardians of the Parenting World: Who would you leave your kids to?
  • What is ‘Policy Ownership’ and why does it matter?
  • What are ‘Underwriting-Free Increases’?
  • What are Exclusions and Restrictions?
  • What are Premium Loadings?
  • What are ‘Special Acceptance Terms’?
  • Claims and Medical Requirements
  • PHARMAC or Non-PHARMAC? That is the question…

“Partners Life Academy now hosts a series of short, client-focused insurance knowledge articles that you may find helpful to share with your clients. These articles are also available on the Partners Life website in web format. You may find the PDF format on Partners Life Academy easier to share and discuss.

Insurance is a complex topic, and we know you spend significant time explaining how insurance works to different clients. What if there was a source of short articles you could share that have been specifically developed to help educate clients?

There is.

In Partners Life Academy, you will find these articles in the Content Library under Assets. Each article is one or two pages, and available as a convenient PDF download.”

In other news

nib: medical notes not necessary when submitting applications through nibAPPLY, unless nib specifically requests them

nib: many applications have required manual underwriting which resulted in a backlog of up to three weeks

FSC: Hon Dr. David Clark announced as keynote speaker at the Regenerations gala dinner. Mitchell Pham announced as keynote speaker at the Regenerations Conference

FSC: Outlook 2021/22 with Geoff Bascand in Wellington

FSC: Get in Shape Webinar Series, Code of Conduct and the customer experience with Steven Burgess

FSC: Launch of the latest FSC Research on 'Generation Rent'

Financial Advice: Mid-Winter Blues Webinar Series

Partners Life: Detailed schedule of Partners Life Product Changes and Benefit Improvements


mySolutions full FAP application sessions, and more daily news

mySolutions are set to run full FAP application sessions in the coming months in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Christchurch. Those living in other cities have the opportunity to attend a session in their city as long as there are a minimum of eight attendees. Those wishing to attend sessions should email their interest to shelly@mysolutions.nz

Prices

mySolution members: $2,500 per FAP

Non-members: $2,850 per FAP

Picture1

In other news

Financial Advice: Financial Advice is looking for someone to join as a Business Development Manager 

Cigna: Cigna scholarship boost for aspiring actuary

RBNZ: Monetary Stimulus Reduced

Partners Life: Client Education Resources Published by Partners Life

AIA:  AIA to Research Mental Health Issues Among Financial Advisers


Detailed schedule of Partners Life Product Changes and Benefit Improvements

Partners Life Product Changes and Benefit improvements 

Special Events Increase benefit limits increased from 75% to 100% for aggregated sum insured and new special event added

Counselling Benefit increased “use by” time to 12 months after claim

Financial and Legal Advice Benefit increased “use by” time to 12 months after claim and the maximum benefit increased to $3,000

Special Events Increase deal on offer to customers who missed policy anniversaries. Customers will have a have an additional 12 months added to their 60-day time limit that applies to their immediate past anniversary

Dependent Child Funeral Support Benefit updated to include unborn child age moving to 20 weeks or weighing more than 400 grams

Bed Confinement Benefit added under the daily care of a registered nurse as an alternative requirement

Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, Aplastic Anaemia, HIV (medical acquired), Multiple Sclerosis, Major Organ Transplant, Diabetes definitions changed in Trauma Cover

Non-surgical Benefit (Private Hospital and Serious Illness Benefits) annual limit increased from $300,000 to $500,000

New Public Treatment Top-Up Benefit means Partners Life will pay for some treatments after customer has covered treatment in public system.  

$5,000 maximum limit removed for Second Opinion Benefit (Private Medical Cover)

New cover for mental health consultations has a maximum of $2,500 under Surgical and Non-surgical Benefits (Private Hospital and Serious Illness Benefits)

Optional Specialists and Test now includes Podiatrist as a specialist for consultations

Cancer definition simplified in Excess Waiver Benefit.

 

Income and Expenses Cover

Income and Expenses Cover is designed to include sustainability features, remove over-insurance and moral hazard opportunity, and provide customer support

Benefit is the greater of pre-disability income less offset x 75% of life assured’s share of pre-disability monthly domestic expenses

The cover term for Income Cover and Expenses Cover is to age 65 with payments term options of 2 years, 5 years and to age 65

Pre-disability income is the same as Income Cover

Disabled for occupation classes 1-4 includes 10 hours or 75% of activities but it moves from own to reasonable occupation after 12 months

Customers will be considered to be in occupation class 5 if they have been unemployed, on unpaid leave, working less than 25 a week, incarcerated in a penal institution, or legally barred 12 months before disability

Income Cover offsets apply to Income Cover and Expenses Cover

Income and Expenses Cover has a payment term restriction that applies for medically unevidenced claims. These are not a fixed restriction for mental health claims

Unevidenced claims in the Income and Expenses Cover are paid for up to 12 months

Fixed payment terms reset for new disability for the Income and Expenses Cover, although customers must be back to full time work for more than 12 months to reset.

Disability within 12 months of claim for any reason is a recurrent disability

Income and Expenses Cover ancillary benefits include Bed Confinement Benefit, Return to Work Benefit, Increasing Income Benefit, Recovery Support Benefit (reduced to 6x SI), and Vocational Retraining and Rehabilitation Benefit (reduced to 3x SI or max $10,000)

Income and Expenses Cover ancillary benefits don’t include Lump sum TPD, Critical Illness Benefit, Specific Injury Benefit, Child Care Assistance Benefit, Death Benefit, and Return to Home Benefit

YRT option only applies.

Moderate Trauma Cover

Partners Life desires to get back to the principle of indemnification meaning that customers don’t need claims paid unless they have financial losses, and they don’t need to pay premiums that doesn’t indemnify against loss

Moderate Trauma Cover allows price efficiency, cutting out claims with immaterial financial consequences. This enables customers to afford higher sums insured.

Moderate Trauma Cover will mean future prices will be sustainable and will allow advisers to fine tune severity based on trauma solutions

Moderate Trauma Cover will have more defined conditions for Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, Aplastic Anaemia, Angioplasty, Blindness, Cardiomyopathy, Chromic Kidney Failure, Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Attack, Intensive Care, Loss of Cognitive Function, Motor Neurone Disease and Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, Stroke.

Designed to be 20% cheaper than Trauma Cover (TC), price differential expected to grow

Designed to be a mid-range trauma cover (between TC and Serious Trauma Cover)

No built-in TPD, customers that need TDP will need to take TPD Cover.

Moderate Trauma Cover can be combined with TC and STC to create a severity-based trauma option.


Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Agreed Value Income Protection: Occupational Retraining

Introduction

We continually review the ratings of all our benefits and have renamed “Occupational Retraining” to “Vocational & Rehabilitation Support”. Our intention with this review is to make clearer the difference between the features in readiness for more detailed research reports that are in development. Better describing the current variations and recognising that early intervention has the ability to prevent a client’s disability from escalating further and reduces more severe complications that may lead to a long-term claim – a positive outcome for the client, insurer, and employee.

Please find our proposed sub-items below.

Proposed sub-items 

Irsme

Notes

The monthly payment limit differs between insurers, however the necessity to offset is a similar feature. The major insurers (aside from Fidelity) offer coverage for Childcare Assistance, which is likely to be claimed more often than some of the other expenses. Partners Life receives a deduction for “benefit not available for all payment periods” as they do not offer their “Vocational and Retraining benefit” for payment periods which are less than 2 years. Similarly, AIA reduces their monthly payment to 6 months with 1, 2 or 5 year benefit periods. Fidelity is the only insurer that will not pay out the full benefit until the insured has returned to paid work (minimum of 20 hours). AIA, ASB and Partners Life are the only insurers that clearly offer assistance either during or after the waiting period - an important feature, as early intervention can significantly affect the length of a claim. 

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


Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Agreed Value Income Protection: Rehab and Home Modifications

Introduction

Following on from our previous post on “Vocational and Rehabilitation Support”, we have also reviewed “Rehab and Home Modifications” and renamed the item to “Home Modifications and Equipment”.

Please find our proposed sub-items below.

Proposed sub-items

Equip

Notes

The biggest variation can be seen in the monthly benefit limits. AIA and ASB have limited their payment to 6 months while Partners Life uses a tiered approach (the monthly payment reduces in line with the payment term).

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