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


QPR: group life and health product research

Many advisers come across clients who have cover with a major employer group scheme and would like to be able to access research to support recommendations to either retain, replace, or dispose of this cover. "Wrap-around cover" with very high excess levels so that benefits such as good non-Pharmac drugs coverage can be offered is a common component of advice - but understanding what is actually covered already is a key part of making any effective recommendation. As many of these groups have terms and conditions specific to them, or are at least based on a different 'foundation' product to current retail offers, it is not simply a matter of looking at current retail policies. Therefore, we are often asked if we compare group life and health insurance on Quotemonster as part of the quality product research service. QPR does not, although at times Chatswood does, offer bespoke comparison to larger adviser groups and insurers - this is not an economic solution for most advisers. However, we are now defining the scope of work to add group life and health comparison to the site. If you would like a say in how the new service works we would be delighted to hear from you. In particular we would like to know what the most common group schemes you come across are and which you would most like us to provide research on. Please send your comments to either Treena Jordan, Doreen Dutt, or me.


New Head to Head Detailed Reports

With most of the country now out of level 4 lock-down other than us living in Auckland, I hope you’ve managed to get outside and enjoy the freedom of level 2. 

I am super proud of the team here at Quotemonster, even under the challenging conditions of level 4 lockdown we are excited to announce our next exciting new Quotemonster report.

The new Head-to-Head report has been designed to drill down into the detail, providing you another great tool to help educate customers about any criteria within the policy wording that could have an impact at claim time.  The new report provides you the sub-item detail. Sub-items are used to determine the impact from restrictive criteria within the policy wording.

In the example used below, the criteria for the cancer condition under insurer 1 is less that insurer 2:

Cancer

We love getting your feedback whether it’s good or bad. Please email or call either me, Doreen or Kelly what you think of our latest release. We have more exciting enhancements due to go live over the next month adding even more value and reasons to use Quotemonster.

The first training session is next Wednesday 22 September from 11.00am - 12.00, these sessions will cover the new detailed head to head reports, plus where to find the great Heatmap and Benefit Overview reports too.

Kia Kaha from the Quotemonster Team.


Investment News NZ: "Australia product regs offer bitter pre-taste of COFI"

Investment News NZ, a service run by respected journalist David Chaplin, describes ASIC's new Design and Distribution Obligations (DDOs) as offering a bitter pre-taste of COFI" - referring to New Zealand's draft Financial Markets (Conduct of Institutions) Amendment Bill. Investment News quotes a range of sources in Australia as closing products rather than meeting the additional costs and risks of the new compliance obligations:

"ASIC lists three core obligations for the various parties involved in the financial product chain, requiring:

  • issuers to design products in synch with the “likely objectives, financial situation and needs” of targeted end consumers;
  • issuers and distributors to take “reasonable steps” to ensure products only reach the defined client market; and,
  • issuers to monitor “consumer outcomes” and review products in light of the DDO end game."

Only the most cynical and short-term thinking generates products that would breach the first obligation. Occasionally time can cause a product to drift from being an effective solution to being considerably less effective - and those products should, of course, be cut from any offered range. So on this point most product providers would agree with the regulator and also no incur any meaningful marginal cost if they already have a professional product management function.

But it is a rare piece of new law or regulation which comes with no trade-offs. Costs begin to emerge when you consider the possibilities under the second two obligations. A product provider could offer a product to distributors and consumers with little concern for how they used it. In practice most still preferred to offer more warnings and guidance the more exotic or risky a product became. A few did not, or were happy to play down risks. It seems that in every market cycle in the investment sector this occurs. In life and health insurance we have always known that a few (we hope, very few) clients, have treated insurance as a kind of lotto ticket. In some cases a rare 'bad apple' adviser has not tried to dissuade them much, of if they have tried, the client has simply bought online or direct.The tricky part is in knowing what 'reasonable steps' are under new regulations and how to meet them. Costs are inevitably added. Some rarely used, yet useful, products will be deemed too difficult or too risky to use.

The toughest - and perhaps the costliest - rule is to monitor consumer outcomes. This requires a lot of thought about what represents a good outcome, how the product supports that, and monitoring which may (although it does not have to) inject insurer compliance requirements deeper into intermediated adviser-client processes such as annual reviews. How frequently and how carefully this has to be done could describe a big range of possible outcomes. Different companies will take different approaches. Clients may balk at some of them - it seems inevitable that some advisers will. There is a risk that some adviser - client processes are so defined by compliance that differentiation becomes impossible. Worse, clients may simply shrug and walk away from more complex products and advised engagements in favour of less effective, direct, engagements. We believe that advice can make a difference. The more complex a client's situation the bigger that difference can be.

The crucial lesson from this point is not to try and avoid the requirements but for all parties - insurers, advisers, and regulators, especially regulators, to engage creatively, flexibly, and with an open mind on compliance technology, to try to reduce the costs and maximise the benefits. We all say we will, but it does take real effort not to slip into dreary functional norms.