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

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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.

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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


Insurers set to pay assisted dying claims, and more daily news

Various insurers have confirmed that terminally ill customers who choose to undergo assisted dying will be eligible for claim payouts. Before the referendum AIA was the only insurer to state that it would pay if the referendum passed. Recently, Cigna has said that it would pay out if assisted dying became legal and customers decided to end their life. Jane Barron, Pinnacle Life spokeswoman, noted that customers with a terminal illness are entitled to claim if it has been stated by a doctor that they have 12 months or less to live; so those that would have an assisted death are already entitled to claim.

“AIA, New Zealand’s largest life insurance company, said it could still settle claims if ACT MP David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Act became law, but others were yet to settle on their stance at that time.

 

With preliminary figures from the Electoral Commission on Friday showing 65 per cent of New Zealanders voting in favour of the End of Life Choice Act, terminally ill adults with fewer than six months to live will be able to request assisted dying.

 

One of the life insurance companies contacted by Stuff this week, Cigna, said it would pay out if assisted dying became legal and policy holders took up the option of dying with assistance. Cigna chief executive Gail Costa said the End of Life Choice Act stated that a person who died as a result of assisted dying would be taken to have died as if assisted dying had not been provided, or have died from the terminal illness from which they suffered.

 

“Provided a policy holder who takes up the option of dying with assistance meets all terms and conditions, they will be entitled to claim.”

 

And Pinnacle Life spokeswoman Jane Barron said people with a terminal illness were entitled to claim on their Pinnacle life insurance policy if their doctor said they had 12 months or less to live.

 

“Therefore, anyone who is in the situation where they are considering an assisted death is already in a position to be able to make a claim.”” Click here to read more

Chatswood thinks it likely that all the providers of the best life cover will include payment on this basis, as they already make advance payments for terminal illness, which is decided on terms that probably include more cases that those envisaged by the End of Life Choice Act, based on modelling shared in our recent Quarterly Life and Health Sector review. 

 

In other news

FMA: FMA appointments reflect serious move into fintech space

Southern Cross: ProCare and Southern Cross join forces to enter virtual healthcare market

FSC: FSC Enjoys A Solid Year Of Growth Despite Challenges

Advisers Raise $12.5k For Fiordland Conservation Trust’s Kids Restore The Kepler


Pinnacle Life unpack life insurance discussions, and more daily news

Pinnacle Life has published tips on how to discuss life insurance with a significant other. Pinnacle Life begins by encouraging those that have never discussed money or life insurance with their partners to do so as it is an important part of planning for the future.

“Talking about life insurance means talking about death. No-one finds that easy. Pinnacle Life has some tips to get you started with talking about money and life insurance with your partner.

Not many of us have been taught how to have conversations about financial decisions. In fact, financial literacy hasn’t been on the school curriculum for very long at all – at best, it’s still optional for most schools today. There seems to be an underlying assumption that financial literacy is something you can learn yourself or pick up from your parents. But evidence suggests it’s not that easy; New Zealanders are notoriously underinsured and ‘under-saved’.

In a time when the news is filled with death rates, recessions and industry failures and many of us are facing reduced incomes, it’s a reminder that it’s never too soon or too late to start having conversations about our finances and insurance. We know that it's not easy to talk about money openly and honestly; talking about life insurance can be even harder because it means talking about what will happen if you die.”

Tips include:

  1. Conducting independent research
  2. Choosing the right time to have the discussion
  3. Taking your time to plan and execute
  4. Start by looking at the big picture before honing down to the details
  5. Embrace the emotions that arise
  6. Discuss your money objectively
  7. Seek advice from a professional

Click here to see all the details

In other news

nib: new customers that sign up for Ultimate Health Max, Ultimate Health and Easy Health policies using nibAPPLY will have 2 months free until 31 January 2021

Southern Cross: 72% of all claims were paid out in 2020

82% of customer channels are now fully digitised and over 96% of claims now submitted digitally

The power of social media- Russell Hutchinson writes on goodreturns


Product database updated

The QPR database has been updated and version 136 has been issued to subscribers and all changes are now live on Quotemonster. This version of the database includes the following changes:

Pinnacle Life policy wordings updated:

IP version 16/10/2018

Life version 01/12/2019

Funeral version 23/01/2019

Trauma version 01/12/2019

- no rating changes

 

Cigna business wording 11/05/2020 updated and rating changes applied. Revisions to ratings:

- IP/MP:

Future Insurability + Redundancy max entry/exit ages for Cigna

Pregnancy Premium Waiver Gender for Cigna

Insurable Income - SE rating for Partners Life

Insurable Income Salaried + SE amount score review

- Trauma:

> Diabetes Mellitus Adult definition, min age and amount score for Cigna

> Multiple Sclerosis definition review


Pinnacle Life on who needs life insurance, who doesn’t

Pinnacle Life Marketing Manager Kerry Vaughan spoke with Newshub to clarify life insurance. Kerry stated that it would be a good idea if people with financial obligations took out life insurance. In the interview Kerry provides three different examples of when life insurance is necessary.

  1. You have dependents
  2. You have a mortgage or other debt
  3. You’re worried about what getting ill would mean for you financially

Similarly, Vaughan gave three examples of when life insurance isn’t necessary:

  1. You have no dependents or debts
  2. You’re very young 
  3. You have out-lived your need for it

To the top list I would add the ideas that life insurance gives rapid payment compared to the sale of real property, and also if you expect that you might soon have one of those three reasons in the future. To the bottom list I would add that your assets have grown to the point where you have sufficient funds to meet your commitments and desires for your estate.