Quality Product Research: Built-in versus optional benefits - how we help to keep advisers safe when preparing comparisons

Quotemonster quotes products depending on the options selected - this is then automatically passed through to the research analysis if you have a research subscription. So unlike services which only work on feature lists, we appropriately rate the product that the client has actually been quoted. This is essential to the provision of compliant personalised advice.

For example: Life Cover Buyback on Accelerated Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) was quoted approximately 900 times in March. This option allows the insured to increase their life cover, back to the original value, after they have claimed on TPD (the TPD claim amount is deducted from Life cover). Terms and conditions are unique to each provider. 

Most insurers offer Life Buyback as an optional add on and at an additional cost, some insurers, in this example Asteron Life, has this as a built-in benefit. While TPD is harder to claim on than some other products, we find this to be a significant difference that might be of interest for long term policy holders. To reflect this on Quotemonster, we note this in the premium breakdown screen and the score for this benefit will be included in the research score for companies that build it in to the product. It is much safer for users than having to remember to tick or untick the inclusion of certain features. 

New TPDWe 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


Life price comparison database update

We have updated the life price comparison database, version 113, to reflect the changes to Cigna's pricing, which were extensive. Corporate subscribers should examine the update notes that have been sent with the database and the change report function. Advisers should check out comparisons on Quotemonster to see the effect of the changes which involved some increases - but also some notable decreases - which tended to favour larger cover amounts and the 90 day wait period for IP / MP. 


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


Cigna implements new commission, and more daily news

Cigna has implemented several new changes to their commission model. Advisers will now receive 100% of Cigna’s documented commission rates, regardless of their persistency rates or group affiliation. With this change, advisers will now have the power to decide how commissions are split. Commission payments will now begin from month two. Cigna has said this change was introduced in acknowledgement of the extra time and effort advisers are putting into their businesses. Another change is giving adviser the option of choosing the payment period with the as earned option. Advisers can now choose between upfront payment and spreading the payment over the first two years. Advisers that choose to spread payment over two years will ensure that there is no clawback if a policy lapses during that time. Cigna has added more selection to their discounting options. These options have been linked to spread commissions.

Renewal Commissions will now be paid from month two

We recognise that the servicing of your customers doesn’t start from month 13, it starts from the moment their policy is issued.

With the new regulatory environment you’re now operating in, we acknowledge the extra time and work you’ll be dedicating to your business. So we want to support you further as you work harder to protect your customers.

From now on you’ll be paid all the commission

All Advisers, regardless of persistency level and/or Group affiliation, will now receive 100% of our documented commission rates. We can help facilitate any splitting of commissions you need to do, but you are in total control of where it goes.

We’re introducing an ‘as earned’ payment option

Choice matters. So we’re giving you option to receive your commission payments over the first two years, instead of upfront. With this option there’s no clawback if a policy was to lapse in the first two years.

More flexibility with our discounting options

To provide you more flexibility and options to suit your customer’s needs, we’re adding more selections to our discounting options and we’ve linked these to our spread commissions.

Updating our commission to include best in market features reflects our ongoing commitment to you and helps ensure New Zealanders have continued access to the quality advice you provide.”

Cigna commission table April 16 2021 3
Cigna commission table April 16 2021 3
Cigna commission table April 16 2021 3

In other news

FSC: Register for Breakfast with Hon James Shaw

FMA: FMA targets fees charged by fund managers

ACC: ACC estimates 90 per cent of injury claims are preventable

From Good returns: From army life to life insurance - a big gun leaves the industry

Cigna: Insurance for living campaign 


Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Diabetes Mellitus (Adult)

Introduction

The Ministry of Health estimates that over 263,000 New Zealanders are living with Type 1, Type 2, or gestational Diabetes, with the highest incidence in Maoris, Pacific Islanders and South Asians. Many insurers do offer cover for diabetics, however, add on significant premium loadings (at times even 400%) in order to minimise the risk that arises from insuring a high-risk individual. 

Proposed Rating  

Sdd
Notes

The ongoing advancements in medicine have prompted us to review this rating. Policy definitions are similar among insurers with minimal variation. Interestingly, many insurers offer a partial/diagnosis benefit for Type 1 Diabetes once the insured is over 30. However, AIA offers full payment for Type 2 and Type 1 Diabetes after age 30. Asteron Life only offers a partial benefit with their optional Early Trauma Benefit.

Why is this important?

Clients that have a family history of Diabetes will be interested to find how each insurer rates in this area. Diabetics often pay increased premiums, regardless of how well their condition is managed, so there is a high level of responsibility on the adviser to conduct annual reviews that may reduce loadings or exclusions for their clients.  

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


March peaks interest in comparison

An all-time record high of 2,504 users on quotemonster.co.nz in the last 28 days confirmed that it was a very, very, busy March. More advisers than ever are interested in comparisons. Advisers tell us that consumers like comparisons. Guidance around replacement advice requires that either a comparison is done, or the risks of proceeding without having done a comparison are explained - for example, in this report. It seems that advisers, regulators, and consumers all agree that comparisons are an essential part of financial advice. This situation is dynamic - you cannot form a view and then keep expecting that to hold true - every quarter, on average, four insurers change the pricing for eight product lines and the policy wordings for five product lines. So if you haven't compared, how can you be confident in your recommendation? 


Quotemonster and Advicemonster updates - live now

We have updated the quotemonster site, on Thursday, and made the following items live, for more detail see below:

  1. New SOA report content setting options allow you to create more customisations for your SOAs if you are an Advicemonster subscriber. To access these click settings, then SOA Setting, then Report Content Setting
  1. New SOA template for Need analysis recommendation note pad - bring through all your calculations from the recommendation notepad in Advicemonster to quote and to the SOA.
  1. New nib rates applied to the site
  1. FSP input validation for user setting and register form - so it is important that your FSP number matches your name and the entry on the FSPR. A reminder that sharing your login is a breach of our terms and conditions and unusual account activity (like switching user names) will be picked up and we will be contacting account-holders that actively share their logins. 
  1. Improved the health product breakdown table in the research report.
  1. Applied Fidelity level standalone trauma maximum level term rule
  1. Changed Partners Life IP and MP max-age to 57 - as we do not quote reduced commission versions of income protection
  1. Update Web version number to v 3.8.7

Congratulations to Albert, Doreen, and the whole team on a big package of updates. Our special thanks to the advisers sending us issues and suggestions for improvement of the Advicemonster process and the SOAs. 


Quotemonster Chatswood Team

DSC00623-Edit

This is your Quotemonster and Chatswood work team: I am so proud to work with such a great group of people. They have worked incredibly hard over the last few weeks as we had to make a lot of changes to meet new requirements for customers by 15 March. Since then we’ve trained hundreds of clients in updated processes. It has been so very busy and the team has stepped up.
 
From left to right, back row first: Melissa Waddel, our super new administrator; Treena Jordan, new Quotemonster GM, who starts with us on the 12th - we’re really looking forward to Treena joining us; Jerusalem Hibru who has been doing some great marketing work making us busier than ever. Doreen Dutt, researcher, who has also been so supportive of all the extra client calls for help. Kelly Pulham, who has been crucial to all the extra training and changes we’ve been doing. Fran, of course, who as well as business analyst and data work has taken on more leadership responsibility.
 
Front row, Rob Dowler compliance support and advice extraordinaire; yours truly; Ed Foster, does great data science work, and Albert Liu who is also an accomplished data scientist and IT leader. It has been so busy but working with this crew is a real privilege. We have big plans and lots of exciting stuff coming up. 

Quality Product Research: Health Insurance - major review process commenced for exclusions item rating

Introduction

Medical insurance is one of the most hotly contested areas of product comparison. Adjustments are made frequently to many features. Exclusions, however, are complex and difficult to compare. Although we update our exclusions ratings with every new product change released it is time to review the method and balance of the scoring of these items. We have therefore started the process of a major review.

Theme of review

The themes of this review are:

  1. A thorough review of all terms
  2. A focus on the relative weighting of the terms
  3. Calling for claims examples of how the terms are applied

Review process

We have alerted advisers and insurers to our plan to do a review and asked for data on the themes above. Changes will be based on our view of all the information sent to us.

We will then publish a model for changes to the guide scores for exclusions sub-items and ask for input on the proposed new model. Further changes may be made at this stage.

We are seeking claims examples for the review. Further changes may be made at this stage.

Timeline for review

March - advise review started

April - review claims information

May - consult on new model for rating

June - implement revised ratings

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


Why search is a critical function in product analysis

Search is the latest in developments in information sharing. Seth Godin has an excellent post about the development of information sharing and how that has been a revolution driving forward our development as a species. Life and health insurance research is, I admit, not quite as exciting as the development of written language. However we took a big decision to make all our data searchable.

That means that for almost tens years of product data we can find the product version, the specific clauses, and find the sub clauses and conditions that contribute to a better or worse wording. We quantify the impact of that and our reasons why. It is a trail of data that is roughly 50,000 data points wide by ten years long. Searching across the data enables analysis of how product improvements have been applied by companies over time. We can directly relate those to the price charged over time as well, because we took the same decision for pricing data. Only that data is a huge motorway by comparison. Our most recent pricing database has two million data points and the path goes back almost 20 years now.

To add to these great rivers of product and price data we have some tributary streams. We have tracked commissions data for about ten years, quarterly. We recently took our non-searchable news database and 18 months ago renovated that to make it so that it is properly indexed and can be connected to the product, price, and commission data flows. Now when someone comes to us and says 'how did X product compare on Y date?' we can tell you. We can tell you each of the steps between that comparison and today. It's a great resource for product management, heads of sale, and heads of marketing. It is great for advisers too. Predictions about the future usually use past data extensively. Helping advisers with complaints and challenges, assisting in the analysis for current clients with older products, all that data is available to you.

If you subscribe.