Congratulations to Pinnacle Life on being granted a digital advice exemption

The FMA has granted Pinnacle Life a digital advice exemption. Congratulations to Gillian Vaughan and her team, in particular Amy Cavanaugh who has been driving this project forward. From the media release:

General Manager Operations Amy Cavanaugh says the provision of digital advice will extend Pinnacle Life’s existing online service to customers, offering a flexible approach to personalised advice.

“We know our customers are busy people, so we thought about how we could provide advice in a flexible, personalised, easy-to-access way. The new digital advice platform we are developing will enable customers to make informed decisions about insurance through tailored, real-time digital advice, whenever and wherever they want it.

The Chatswood team has been privileged to be a part of this project. Our prior contributions to online processes have tended to be data services. This project is a further step forward as it has been for a personalised digital advice process. I would like to recognise Shaun Dowler, who provides data science consulting as part of our team has been particularly valuable in pushing ahead this work for Chatswood. 

The announcement says that the service will be launched later this year. 

Pinnacle Life new advertising

The new Pinnacle Life ad has been crafted in a manner that illustrates the consequences of being unprepared for unforeseen life events. The devastating effects of being unprotected is intended to appeal to the emotions of viewers. The turn in events of the main character's life works to highlight the ups and downs in life and places emphasis on the importance of preparing for unfortunate events while in a good place.


Recent product and price changes

Recent product changes include:

  • New Product release Asteron for Trauma, Life and TPD
  • New Policy document for Cigna for Life and Trauma
  • Southern Cross product changes effective 1 December

Recent pricing changes include:

  • Pinnacle Trauma rates effective 20/9/18
  • BNZ Trauma rates went up August
  • Fidelity Life rates effective 1/7/18
  • Southern Cross announced pricing changes from 1 Novmber

Co-op Money NZ Insurance Transaction with Pinnacle Life

Gareth Vaughan has an excellent article, rich with detail, on the Co-op Money transaction with Pinnacle Life. First, let me be clear - Co-op Money NZ is not the same as Co-operative Life, often abbreviated to Co-op Life, a subsidiary of The Co-operative Bank.

Co-op Money NZ has sold a book of life business to Pinnacle Life, and non-life business to Provident. My understanding is that this is a move that has been contemplated for some years. The sale conclusion, however, was timely, as pressures from systems changes at Co-op Money NZ have been affecting the balance sheet. Lots of detail in Vaughan's article. Link.

Fraud is real, that's why we underwrite, verify, and investigate, and most clients want us to

News reports show that clients still take desperate measures, at times, to defraud insurance companies. That fact is often overlooked when journalists are writing about someone being denied cover for non-disclosure, or a claim payment is held up for weeks while something is investigated. 

Asteron Life, Pinnacle Life, and AA Life, were all the targets in this case. You can read in the article at this link, on goodreturns. Asteron Life unfortunately paid a fraudulent claim, before it was spotted by Pinnacle Life, and then by AA Life (which is a joint venture between Asteron Life and AA). While paying a fraudulent claim is embarrassing, and I am sure that an extensive review is going on to prevent any repeat of that, there is a wider story about fraud. Life cover fraud is difficult, and therefore rare. But fraud involving income protection or medical insurance is much more common, and harder to spot: a claim going on too long, an unreasonable price, or unnecessary tests and procedures can all look just 'arguable'. Insurers worry that they will look mean, or untrustworthy themselves if they dither. That's why a common industry saying is 'if in doubt, pay out'.

But sometimes talking about declines and fraud is a good thing to do. Honest customers like to hear about it. They don't shout about it, but it helps. A very few clients that are strongly motivated by money can spend a lot of time working to defraud an insurer - while insurers are trying to serve the vast majority of honest customers. Most consumers want their cover to be affordable when they aren't claiming, and generous when they need to claim. For them, the message that insurers can be tough on dishonest customers is actually a positive.