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 about the 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


Southern Cross highlights CareHQ, and more daily news

Southern Cross is reminding advisers and members of the CareHQ service. CareHQ is designed to make virtual medical consultations with  New Zealand GPs possible. CareHQ operates from 7am-7pm everyday. The consultations are possible via the CareHQ app. Southern Cross members are able to redeem a 15% discount on the standard price of $65.  Click here to find out more

 

CareHQ can connect your team with trusted medical care, quickly – 7 days a week, 7am-7pm. With the CareHQ app your team is only a few taps away from a virtual GP consultation. And Southern Cross members get a 15% discount if they access CareHQ via the My Southern Cross app – that’s a saving of $10 per consultation off the standard CareHQ price of $65.

 

In other news

 

Congratulations to nib and Pinnacle Life for digital excellence awards, from Insurance Business Mag: Insurance Business New Zealand Awards – winners revealed 

Strategi: On track for 15 March? Check your readiness with our February report card


nib strategic thinking shift, and more daily news

nib New Zealand CEO Rob Hennin outlined the company’s shift in strategic thinking. Instead of focusing on ‘sick care’ nib will be focused on ‘well care’. Hennin noted that COVID-19 has meant that health insurers are more determined to promote healthy living, community connection and mental health. Hennin states that nib’s core focus and strategy remains unchanged although financial protection is no longer the sole focus. nib is set to follow a more holistic approach when viewing the health journeys of members. Choosing to take a long-term approach will mean that nib will work towards empowering members to make healthier choices.

“As insurers across the country put their 2021 strategies into action, nib New Zealand CEO Rob Hennin says that for him, this year will be all about focusing on ‘well care’ rather than ‘sick care,’ and looking beyond the mindset of an insurer focusing purely on financial protection.

Hennin says that with COVID-19 having changed everybody’s lives on such a huge scale, it is more important than ever for health insurers to promote community connection, wellness, and a focus on mental health. He says nib’s core strategy remains fundamentally unchanged, but that there will be much higher focus on mental health, and on supporting members’ health journeys.

“COVID has clearly disrupted our lives and our business in unforeseeable ways,” Hennin said.

“Our strategy is very clear - we’re looking to protect our members, offer them the financial cover that they need, connect them with providers who can help with specific needs, and to help them to navigate the healthcare system that we have in New Zealand.

“We also want to empower them to make the health decisions that will put them on track to achieving what they want to achieve, and that part of our strategy is very much unchanged.”

Hennin says the company will be looking to take a more “holistic view” of people’s health journeys, and to take a “long term approach” to helping them access the care that they need. Click here to read more

In other news

Fidelity Life: Apollo, eApp and Adviser Centre set to be improved to better customer experience - no further details announced yet

Fidelity Life: Fidelity Life announced that they will be introducing a new commission framework - no further details announced yet

From Goodreturns: Predictions for 2021 – from the Laird’s Desk

Southern Cross Travel Insurance: Southern Cross Travel Insurance awarded WriteMark for new 'plain language' domestic policy


nib views on financial advice, and more daily news

nib has said that members that receive financial advice are better off. In addition, nib CEO Rob Hennin noted that half of nib’s members join via financial advisers. Hennin credited nib’s view by highlighting the findings from an internal study which found that members with advisers have more financial certainty and more health benefits. Hennin used the findings of nib’s internal study and studies commissioned by the FSC to conclude that people who receive financial advice are better off, saying that people with financial advice experience an improvement to their overall health.

“Health insurer nib says it is “absolutely clear” that customers with insurance advisers end up better off, and says advisers have done an “extraordinary” job adapting to the challenges that have come with COVID-19, and multiple lockdowns.

According to nib New Zealand CEO Rob Hennin, approximately half of the insurer’s business currently comes through its adviser channel. He says its internal studies have been clear – customers with advisers have more financial certainty, and also see increased health benefits as a result.

“It’s absolutely clear from our research and the work the Financial Services Council has done that Kiwis who receive financial advice are better off,” Hennin told Insurance Business.

Hennin acknowledged the work advisers have done saying that their response to COVID-19 was extraordinary. Hennin mentioned the increased use of digital tools and other methods to reach and assist clients.

“Advisers have just pivoted and done an extraordinary job throughout COVID-19,” Hennin added.

“They’ve really embraced digital tools and they’ve gone out, consulted with their clients and done whatever they can to ensure they all have access to the care and protection that they need.”” Click here to read more

In other news

Southern Cross: Insurer promises to “build momentum” and enhance products at AGM

AIA: Belief in oneself key to empowering women


Southern Cross Travel Insurance appoints new CEO, and more daily news

Southern Cross announced that Jo McCauley will take on the role of CEO. McCauley was promoted from her role as Chief Customer Officer. McCauley brings with her years of experience in financial services and strategic leadership. Her previous roles include insurance portfolios management at Tesco Bank.

“McCauley was hired from within the business, previously heading up SCTI’s sales, product and marketing division as Chief Customer Officer since October 2017.

Bringing a wealth of experience in financial services and strategic leadership, McCauley’s background spans several years of international product and marketing experience, including managing direct-to-consumer insurance portfolios with Tesco Bank in the UK.”

McCauley has said COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the company and the travel industry but Southern Cross Travel Insurance is focused on members and employees. McCauley has noted that she is proud to have the opportunity to be the CEO. Greg Gent, Southern Cross Chairman, has said that McCauley's experience within the company will be an asset.

“McCauley said while the outbreak of COVID-19 this year has had a significant impact on SCTI and the whole travel industry, their focus is on looking after its customers and its people.

“I’m proud to have the opportunity to lead a fantastic team that continues to work hard to improve SCTI’s customer experience and processes for when the market returns."

Southern Cross Chairman Greg Gent said Jo’s experience working as part of the business will be a significant asset to SCTI.

“Jo has a diverse range of skills and leadership experience in the financial services sector, and her direct knowledge of Southern Cross Travel Insurance and its products will provide a strong foundation to lead from,” he said.”

McCauley has managed the launch of the domestic travel insurance product as CEO. As part of the product development, McCauley overlooked the policy wording to ensure that it was easy to understand. As a result, the company was the first travel insurer to be awarded the WriteMark plain language endorsement.

“In her first weeks in the CEO role, McCauley managed the launch of the business’ new domestic travel insurance product, ensuring that the policy was written in plain language. SCTI is the first travel insurer in New Zealand to have its domestic travel insurance policy awarded the WriteMark plain language endorsement.” Click here to read more

In other news

FSC: Outlook 2021 with FMA CEO Rob Everett

From Goodreturns: Adviser appears before FADC on record keeping charges

Katrina Shanks piece on Stuff: There are 150,000 unemployed, so why are we short of workers?


Southern Cross Travel Insurance appoints new CFO, and more daily news

Southern Cross announced the appointment of Amanda Yap-Choong as the new Chief Financial Officer. Yap-Choong is a Chartered Accountant and was previously the Commercial Finance Manager at Chapman Tripp. She has also worked at Broadspectrum and PwC. In her new role Yap-Choong will be responsible for overlooking the national finance function, business analysis, and improving efficiencies in processes and reporting.

“Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) has brought Amanda Yap-Choong into the role of Chief Financial Officer, where she will provide business operations and change management leadership to deliver to the business’ strategic priorities.
 
Yap-Choong is a Chartered Accountant and brings extensive experience leading diverse cross-functional teams and stakeholder groups in the infrastructure and professional services industries. She is well versed in providing financial assurance to financial services sectors including insurance, banking and funds management.
 
Most recently, Yap-Choong worked as the Commercial Finance Manager for law firm Chapman Tripp. In this role she was responsible for managing the national finance function, delivering business analysis in an advisory capacity and improving efficiencies in processes and reporting. Prior to that, she held roles at Broadspectrum and PwC in New Zealand and Ireland.”

Jo McCauley, Southern Cross Travel Insurance CEO has said that Yap-Choong will strengthened the capability of the executive team and add value to businesses. Yap-Choong has said that she is pleased to join the team as the new CFO.

“Southern Cross Travel Insurance CEO Jo McCauley said, “We were impressed by Amanda’s commercial acumen and track record of delivering strong results.

 

“Amanda’s appointment has strengthened the capability of our executive team and her experience of adding value to businesses amidst times of change will help us deliver to our business priorities amidst COVID-19.”   Yap-Choong said, “I’m pleased to step into the CFO role at SCTI and join a great team which is focused on delivering exceptional service to its customers. I am looking forward to contributing towards SCTI’s strategic direction as the leader in the industry.”

In other news

Financial Advice: Get In Shape Advice Summit 2021 registration open

FMA: FMA sets expectations for issuers of ‘green’ and ‘responsible’ funds

 


Insights from Southern Cross AGM, and more daily news

Southern Cross CEO Nick Astwick has revealed that Southern Cross has had a successful year. In the annual general meeting Astwick mentioned that Southern Cross worked to offer benefits to members during the year. Additionally, Astwick noted that it is important for Southern Cross to continue innovating and challenging the delivery of health services to ensure long-term sustainability.

“There was a sense of achievement after a year of delivering for members and it was time to build on that momentum with even more innovations, Astwick said.

“There is no question the Society must continue to innovate. We want to challenge the way health services are provided to deliver better value and healthcare to members.

“This is the direction in which we need to go to ensure sustainability of the private health sector and to deliver the best value outcomes for our members.”

Astwick noted that Southern Cross was working alongside healthcare providers to offer members more options while ensuring that there isn’t a sharp increases in premiums.

“Astwick said the Society was actively working with healthcare providers to find new ways to deliver quality outcomes for members, while keeping premiums affordable.

“We're considering exploring a number of options where we think enhancements are possible. What’s important is treatment when you need it quickly, with the best possible health outcome.”

Chairman Greg Gent spoke of the challenges of the last financial year and acknowledged that Southern Cross has been fortunate. COVID-19 has had positive impacts, with Southern Cross Society receiving more premiums and paying out less claims which led to the $50 million give back. 

“Chairman Greg Gent told the meeting the last financial year had been a challenging one for the Society, but it was fortunate to be in a position to come through it strongly.

The impact of COVID-19 saw the Society receive more in premiums for the financial year than anticipated and pay out less in claims than expected.

The pandemic also resulted in costs associated with the necessary mobilisation of the Society’s workforce, and at the same time, a market-leading decision to give back $50 million to members in the form of premium credits, said Gent."

Key figures presented in the meeting were:

“FY20 - KEY NUMBERS AT A GLANCE:

  • For every dollar paid in premiums, the Society returned 85 cents in claims to members.
  • A surplus of $32.4 million.
  • $50 million returned to members as premium rebates due to COVID-19.
  • Membership increased to 879,198, up 8,133 on the previous year.
  • The Society comprised 62 per cent of New Zealand’s health insurance market but paid 72 per cent of all claims.
  • $443.1 million in net tangible assets, representing approximately five months of claims.
  • Standard and Poor’s A+ credit rating retained for 18th consecutive year.”

In other news

From Goodreturns: [The Wrap] Industry blindsided by PI decision

From Insurance Business Mag: Balancing compliance and speed – are insurers getting it right?


Recent product database update

QPR database version 139 has been issued to subscribers and uploaded onto Quotemonster. This version includes the following changes:

  • Southern Cross - new policy wording effective 09/11/2020

                  - Addition of Chemo 100 and 300

                  - Rating changes applied

Remediation to:

  • Westpac - Trauma Accelerated - Diagnosis and Partial Benefit

Code Working Group provide insight into new code, and more daily news

Angus Dale-Jones, chairman of the Code Working Group, shared insights on the upcoming regulatory changes. Dale-Jones mentioned that the workload of advisers is going to change. Unlike the current regime, Dale-Jones noted that the new regime will not allow advisers to be easily let off the hook. Instead, Dale-Jones says in the new regime advisers will need to do more for their clients. Although all advisers need to adjust their service to meet the regulatory obligations, there will be scalability in provisions. Dale-Jones said that the code is designed around scalability, meaning that the effort and work advisers are expected to put in depends on the advice given. 

“To help advisers prepare, Good Returns talked to chairman of the Code Working Group Angus Dale-Jones who told us what changes are most vital for advisers to take note of.

Dale-Jones said that for many “the amount of work that the adviser is going to have to do will change”.

According to Dale-Jones this contrasts with the current system of class advice, which he believes has been too soft on advisers.

“Class advice [has] basically allowed advisers [to be] let off the hook. The current regime has encouraged advisers to do less for their clients. Which is not a good outcome for anybody including the advisers.”

But this will all change when the code of conduct comes into play on March 15, “The new regime holds that no matter how big or small you are, the code of conduct and the regulations apply. But, there is scalability in the provisions. If it is a very simple piece of advice, say advice on KiwiSaver, then you adjust your work accordingly. If you are doing full blown investment planning, then you would expect to see much more work around that.”

Scalability of advice is central to the code for Dale-Jones who says that, “The code and the legislation have been designed with scalability in mind. This isn’t as if we have switched the boundary. It means that whenever there is advice, the code applies. Advisers need to think very carefully as to how it applies.””

Dale-Jones also highlighted that FAPs will need to consider processes and procedures that advisers follow. Two code standards will become relevant to advisers in the new regime. Standard three and four weren’t previously requirements but are intended to protect clients. Dale-Jones has said that he is confident that much of the industry will handle the new standards with ease.

“It is not only the adviser that needs to be thinking carefully about the scope of their advice, the new regime and its focus on FAPs means that, “FAPs as the licence holders under this new regime, need to think about the processes and procedures that its advisers are going to have to follow in order to comply. It’s not all just on the shoulders of advisers.”

For advisers who have grown used to doing things the old way, Dale-Jones says that there are two key code standards that they will need to pay particular attention to.

“The two standards that have not been formal requirements previously are standards three and four. Standard three is to ‘give financial advice that is suitable’. So that means that the adviser needs to think about the circumstances of their client and consider what suitable advice means for them.

“Now there isn’t a code standard that applies to that in the class advice standards currently, but a person giving class advice who goes and tries to sell things against their client's interests is risking legal action. This code just makes it very clear that this is a standard that must be adhered to.

“Standard four is ‘ensure that the client understands the financial advice’. Now that standard asks advisers to put themselves in the shoes of the client to ask themselves: ‘Is this client vulnerable? Does this client have any understanding of financial matters? Do I need to explain things more to help the client understand?’

“Now this is something that a good practitioner should have been doing before anyway, but now there is a code standard that makes this a requirement so it becomes much easier for the regulator to say, ‘You did not do that, you don’t have a file note to demonstrate how you have done that, so you have not complied with the law.’ So the law has become far more precise in saying what needs to be done.”

With all the changes coming, Dale-Jones is confident that most of the industry will be able to handle the new standards with ease.” Click here to read more

In other news

Cigna: “Blue Star, our collateral provider, is in the process of upgrading their platforms which support the ordering process. To complete this they’ll be temporarily shutting down their online ordering portal on our Adviser Hub from 11am on Friday 4 December until 8am on Monday 7 December.

All emails regarding new business should still be sent to newbusiness@cigna.com, all other emails regarding existing business should be sent to customercarenz@cigna.com.”

BNZ: BNZ was warned by the Commerce Commission over responsible lending and disclosure failures

Southern Cross: Couple's $25,000 bill after cancer surgery only partly covered by Southern Cross


Southern Cross mental health programme, and more daily news

Southern Cross has reported that there is an increase in demand for a mental health programme targeted at school aged children. The Pause Breathe Smile programme became available for free in September to all New Zealand primary and intermediate schools. There has been increased demand for the programme since.  Southern Cross partnered with Pause Breathe Smile Trust and the Mental Health Foundation to fund the programme. Southern Cross spokesperson Joanne Mahon has said that Southern Cross is happy with the increased demand for the programme from schools and parents and is equally happy to be making a difference in the lives of children.

“Demand for a programme aimed at equipping school children with tools to navigate life’s ups and downs has more than doubled in the past three months.

Interest in Pause Breathe Smile with Southern Cross has increased significantly since September, when the programme was made available without cost for the first time to any primary or intermediate school in New Zealand.

First launched in 2013, the Pause Breathe Smile programme had already reached 65,000 kids before teaming up with Southern Cross.

New Zealand’s leading independent health and wellness provider, Southern Cross has joined forces with the Pause Breathe Smile Trust and the Mental Health Foundation to fund the programme.

Spokesperson Joanne Mahon said Southern Cross was delighted by the level of interest from teachers, schools and parents in New Zealand’s own locally designed and internationally recognised schools’ mindfulness programme.

“This increase in demand since the costs associated with participating in the programme were removed shows us there is huge appetite for a structured programme like this for schools.

“We wanted to support a programme that directly benefited our children and the fantastic uptake means we can start to make a real impact on the mind health of our kids.

 “We’re thrilled to be able to make a tangible difference for Kiwi kids as part of our commitment to helping to build a healthier future for all New Zealanders.”

Grant Rix, Director of Mindfulness Training and Development, has said Pause Breathe Smile is scaling up the team and the programme because of the anticipated and actual surge in demand.

“The Director of Mindfulness Training and Development for Pause Breathe Smile, Grant Rix, said that with financial barriers to schools participating in the programme now a thing of the past, the programme had been scaled up to meet demand.

“The last three months have been a game changer for us. If all the schools that have contacted us since September go ahead with bookings, we will double the number of schools we have reached in the past two and a half years before we teamed up with Southern Cross.

“We knew demand was likely to be high but it’s always difficult to gauge. Now we are building the team to scale up to meet this increased demand, which is a wonderful position to be in.”

In other news

From Insurance Business Mag: Insurance players should embrace a ‘hybrid’ digital model - expert