Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Aplastic Anaemia

Introduction

Were back with another item analysis - this time for Aplastic Anaemia.

Please find our proposed sub-items below.

Sub-items rating review

Aplastic

Notes

A defined treatment option is a commonality across all insurers, excluding Asteron Life who have a more open definition when compared to their competitors. We have included a sub-item for those insurers who require diagnosis from a medical specialist along with a deduction to those that do not offer an additional treatment option. Aplastic Anaemia is a lowly weighted item in our database; however, our proposed rating aims to emphasise the difference in the definition between insurers, rather than focusing too much on ranking them from best and worse.  

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: QPR database update V145

Quality Product Research works continually to update our product ratings. We have just distributed the QPR Database V145 to subscribers which includes the following changes:

 

* Medical Exclusions Major Review - all insurers

* Partners Life - new policy document effective 12/07/2021

> Income & Expenses Cover and Moderate Trauma rated

> Enhancements effective 12/07/2021

 

* AIA enhancements to Trauma & IP/MP effective 23/07/2021

* Pinnacle Life - new policy document loaded

> Life: no rating changes

> IP: no rating changes

> TPD Any Occ Accelerated rated

> Trauma: minor rating changes

* Reviews:

> Trauma

- Osteoporosis re-rate for all companies

- Asteron - Trauma Reinstatement replaces continuous Trauma in TBB

> IP/MP

- Total Disability Class 1&2 5yr for PL

> Life

- Financial Planning & Legal - re-rate for all companies

- Grief and Funeral Support - re-rate for all companies

- Business Future Insurability (optional) added to PL


nib report on financial growth, and more daily news

nib New Zealand recently reported on the financial results for the 12 months to 30 June 2021. nib announced that it had experienced good results despite COVID-19 related uncertainties and disruptions. Premium revenue was $277.8 million (NZD), a 9.8% increase from the same period last year. The increase in premium revenue has been credited to strong policyholder sales and pricing adjustments.  An underwriting result of $26.8 million (NZD) was achieved, this is up 3.6% from the same period last year. Click here to read more

“nib New Zealand today announced its results for the 12 months to 30 June 2021 (FY21) with premium revenue lifting 9.8% to NZD$277.8 million and underwriting result1 of NZD$26.8 million up 3.6% on the same period last year (FY20: NZD$25.9 million). 

nib New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Rob Hennin said the business delivered another good result despite the uncertainties and disruptions caused by COVID-19. 

 

“From the onset of the pandemic our key focus has been on the health and wellbeing of our members, travellers and employees, which is why we swiftly enacted our member support package that, to date, totals AU$45 million across the nib Group,” Mr Hennin said. 

 

The full year result includes the full release of the initial NZD$9.0 million COVID-19 provision, matching the expected claims catch-up for deferred treatment.

 

“While there was some initial impact on healthcare access, claims have quickly bounced back which means our members have been able to get the healthcare treatment they need,” Mr Hennin said.

 

Premium revenue growth for the period was driven by strong policyholder sales and pricing adjustments. Net policyholders increased 1.6% impacted by the decrease in inbound international students due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

 

“Excluding international students, policyholder growth was 5.0% supported by the performance of channels including group, adviser and our whitelabel partner, the New Zealand Automobile Association. Since we acquired the business, we’ve grown policyholders by 50%,” Mr Hennin said

Mr Hennin said growth in nib’s net promoter score (FY21: 34 vs FY20: 33) reflected nib’s digital transformation progress, with investment in system modernisation improving the member experience.

 

“We’re big advocates of digital healthcare as it addresses many of the barriers that prevent people from accessing healthcare. That’s why we’ve teamed up with digital-first providers like Tend to make it easier for our members to see a GP, coupled with Zoom pharmacy which improves medicines adherence by delivering prescriptions direct to a patient’s home or work,” he said.

 

Mr Hennin said nib also continues to work with its key partners and members to roll out population health initiatives that deliver significant health and wellness benefits to the community. 

 

“For example, we’re supporting Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei’s Body Warrant of Fitness programme which helps members to access quality healthcare providers and increase their health knowledge and literacy. By providing free primary health checks, the programme aims to improve their health outcomes through early detection and diagnosis of any potential disease,” Mr Hennin.

 

“We’re also actively developing solutions to expand these initiatives to other iwi,” he concluded.

 

nib New Zealand Chairman, Tony Ryall said FY21 also demonstrated the importance of good health and the role private health insurance plays in helping Kiwis to achieve better health outcomes.

 

“The pandemic has heightened community awareness of disease risk and the need to better manage that risk. Our partnership with Honeysuckle Health reflects this thinking as we look to deploy advanced data science to more precisely predict and treat health risks, moving towards prevention over cure,” Mr Ryall said.”

In other news

AIA: Rosalyn Lambert will be on leave until mid-next year with Anna Biss stepping into her role.

From Insurance Business Mag: What does 'fairness and integrity' mean in the advice journey?

Pinnacle Life: Should health and life insurers change the way they underwrite policies?

Cigna: Cigna appoints experienced lawyer, Jeremy Valentine, to its leadership team; Valentine was formerly of Co-op Bank


New premium comparison database v114

We have just distributed a new Life Premium Comparison database v114 to all subscribers. It has the following changes:

  • Updated AMP Lifetrack Life, Trauma and IP prices effective 22-Jul-21
  • Updated AMP RPP Life, Trauma and IP prices effective 12-Aug-21
  • Updated Pinnacle Life prices effective  4-Aug-21

If you have any questions about the update or would like a refresher on the reports available and the data included please let us know and we can schedule a time to take your pricing and product teams through the materials. 


Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Coma (Trauma)

Introduction

Following on with our recent theme of revising ratings, we have reviewed Coma, re-assessing the item based on modern definitions.  A rarely claimed on benefit, yet significant coverage in the media when the insurer decides not to pay out.  

Below are the proposed items for Coma.

Coma

Notes

Momentum life is the only provider that requires the insured to be in a coma for 96-hours, while Westpac uniquely requires a permanent neurological deficit. Three insurers, Fidelity, Pinnacle and Westpac specifically exclude medically induced comas and a similar definition is observed in the use of life support systems and response to internal and external needs.

Few insurers continue to use the Glasgow Coma Scale in their definitions – here is a quick overview of what the scale demonstrates https://medictests.com/units/glasgow-coma-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


Zombie fee focus by regulators and more daily news

Investment News NZ highlights the issue of 'zombie fees' in its recent piece on ASIC's legal action against five AMP entities in Australia. "Zombie fees" are fees which carry on being charged even if no service is being given, sometimes even if the client has died. Of course, if an investment management service is continuing then some level of fee should continue but it is hard to argue advice is being given if the client is dead. In a sector which usually knows the age of its clients and offers products explicitly focused on end-of-life issues we are being challenged to be more active in identifying when a client dies, which is a matter of public record, rather than simply continuing to take the money. 

In a release, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) says the legal action alleges five AMP entities “were involved in charging life insurance premiums and advice fees to more than 2,000 customers despite being notified of their death”.

Last year AMP paid out about A$9 million in a remediation program established to redress fees charged to close to 20,000 dead insurance and superannuation fund clients.

But the latest ASIC action comes in “respect of 2,069 deceased members affected by the retention of premiums, and 27 members affected by the retention of advice fees”.

Does this affect New Zealand? Not directly, in the Investment News NZ column it is clear that NZ entities are not part of the recent news. However, it is clearly unacceptable to continue to charge premiums and or advice fees long after a person is dead in either jurisdiction. We can expect that when conduct law passes here, a conduct program will need to envisage how to identify if a person has died and how to treat products while and end-of-life process is followed. Advisers, largely exempt from the conduct programs, will inevitably be caught by either their obligations under the Financial Advice Provider license, Code, or commitments to product providers. 

You can read more at this link: https://investmentnews.co.nz/investment-news/zombie-fee-charges-rattle-amp/ 

Other daily news: 

Kōura is calling for advisers that want to offer a 'facilitated' digital advice process. This underlines the trend towards convergence of digital and human in contrast to the binary view of development in the past. 

Pinnacle Life shares details of how a change in income may affect the need for life insurance. 

Adviser business values - those that are low and those that are high - are the subject of my recent piece at goodreturns. 

Seth Godin shares with us how not to miss a deadline - and how to - in two interesting and challenging posts: https://seths.blog/2021/05/how-not-to-miss-a-deadline/

 


Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Benign Brain and Spine Tumour

Introduction

The World Health Organisation states that 130 different types of brain tumours exist. A benign brain tumour is a non-cancerous growth in a distinct area of the brain. The survival rates for patients with benign brain tumours are higher than others, however this depends on the size and location of the tumour within the brain.

Proposed sub-items

Capture

Notes

There are some noticeable differences between insurers such as whether partials exist, or if the spinal cord or tumour on the pituitary gland is covered. We have tried to make the sub-items clearly demonstrate the variation between insurers.

Why is this important?

Although QPRs weighting of this item is low, it would be of high interest to those that have a family history of brain cancers. With a lot of insurers now having specialised cancer products we would like to ensure that our rating is relevant. 

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: Inflation Adjustment item update for Life Cover

Introduction

Inflation is often overlooked when customers are looking to purchase Life Cover. Although it may not be necessary for short term policies, it is however, a valued feature for long term policies (i.e., those that are in place for 20 years or more). 

Sub-items rating review

Hello

Following up on adviser feedback, we have recently added the optional Inflation Adjustment feature to MAS increasing the accuracy of our rating for Life cover for this insurer.

Please note we currently only show the pricing difference between indexed vs non-indexed (as shown below) and the rating for optional items are excluded from the total rating you will see on your research report.

Lol

Notes

The Inflation Adjustment benefit does not significantly vary among providers. Companies differ in expiry age, with Pinnacle being the only that expires at age 60. ANZ bank seems to be the only provider with a deduction for the sub-item “Excludes when premiums are waived”. A significant difference is whether the benefit is optional or included.    

Why is this important?

The benefit would be of high value for those looking to purchase long term policies. To not have this option would have a great impact in the future as you would understand that the cost of living will only increase as time goes on (and so should our Life cover). 

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


Pinnacle Life offers self-servicing life insurance tool, and more daily news

Pinnacle Life has announced the introduction of a tool that allows people to understand how much life insurance cover they really needed. The tool is designed to identify important people in a user’s life and the user’s worry as well as the household income of the user. Once all details are provided, Pinnacle Life provides figures on the amount people with similar incomes spend in a month on insurance cover. Based on the user’s worry, Pinnacle Life also provides information on the types of cover and amount. Although the information is not personalised advice, there are "get more advice" and "get covered now" features available.

“Up until now, if you knew you needed life insurance, you could use some simple calculators that considered your financial needs, or you could talk to an insurance adviser. Pinnacle Life has always offered life insurance directly, but we couldn’t help you work out how much you needed in a thorough and sophisticated, and regulated, way. Now we can.

The tool starts by asking you to think about who’s important to you, and who relies on you for financial support. It then takes you through a step-by-step process of working out what your drivers are for getting insurance, what you worry about and your financial circumstances. We give you some things to think about along the way, but the more you tell us about you, the more we can tailor the advice to your situation. This includes telling us about your family, your health, your finances and any life cover you have already.

The cool thing is it doesn’t take very long to go through the whole process, and you can do it as many times as you like. To make it even easier (and quicker) get any details about your finances ready before you start – things like how much you earn and the amount of assets or debt you might have. You can do it on the couch in front of the tv and wearing your pajamas if you like, at 3 in the morning when you can’t sleep, on your own or with your partner, it’s up to you.” Click here to read more

In other news

nib: nib Adviser Oversight Framework launched

Compliance Refinery: 2021 Predictions survey to celebrate Compliance Refinery turning three


Pinnacle Life on insuring rainbow families, and more daily news

Pinnacle Life has published a piece on their website on the importance of insuring rainbow families. Pinnacle Life noted that families today no longer resemble the typical nuclear family unit. The piece focuses on rainbow families, which are families with parents who are part of the LGBTQI community. Pinnacle Life highlighted that the 2013 census recorded that there were 1,479 children of same-sex families in New Zealand. Pinnacle Life also noted that insurers base premium rates on assigned gender. While Pinnacle Life asks about a person’s gender, they have stated that they offer flexibility around policy ownership. Nonbinary individuals are still able to take out life insurance for themselves and their families, without worrying about gender-based pricing.

“The stereotypical family of 2021 is remarkably different from the family of 50 years ago. Mum, dad and two kids are becoming less the norm and more the unlikely. Today we are more likely to have blended families, split families, 1-child families, many kid families, single-parent families, multi-race families, rainbow families and more. With the pride festival winding down this week, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge rainbow families particularly. 

 

A rainbow family is a same-sex or LGBTQI-parented family. Statistics are hard to come by, but in 2013 the census recorded 1479 children of same-sex families in New Zealand. It's safe to imagine that if we broadened the definition, considered the number of people who didn't complete the census and increased public acceptance during this period, that this figure has probably doubled and is growing. Teachers and schools will be factoring this into activities involving families, clubs and community centres too. It's not difficult; it just takes a bit of thoughtfulness to remember that not all kids have a 'mum and dad'. Some have two mums, two dads, or a combination that extends beyond one of each or something in between.

 

If you're part of a rainbow family, you might be frustrated that life insurance companies seem to be behind the times. While there is total flexibility around who owns your policy, we still ask questions about gender, with the only options to be male and female. Some life insurance companies underwrite transgender applicants based on assigned gender, while others use their stated gender.

 

Life insurance rates are calculated based on assigned gender and this is understandably a sensitive subject for a lot of people. This is unfortunately the norm in the industry because of the statistics around mortality. We can ensure that, once you purchase your policy online, your true gender is recorded in your policy document.

 

The important thing is you can still get life insurance if you are nonbinary, and it doesn't mean that you'll pay higher premiums because of your gender.

 

Your rainbow family may not have a nonbinary member. Rainbow families come in all shapes and sizes. But one thing they all have in common is that a lot of thought went into creating the family in the first place. Finding the 'missing ingredient' takes consideration and planning that most heterosexual couples haven't had to give a second thought. And that's just the starting point.” Click here to read more

 

In other news

 

nib: EMA HR Summit to be held 25 March 2021

FSC: Adviser research reveals optimistic outlook for the sector

Southern Cross: Southern Cross’s membership at 13-year high