Southern Cross announces new product availability for advisers, and more daily news

In a package of announcements, including senior team role changes, probably the most significant is that Southern Cross has announced that their entire product set is now available to advisers to offer to their clients. 

 

Southern Cross has confirmed that there are now 884,000 people insured with Southern Cross. The use of CareHQ to release new products during the past few months were also noted. The enhancements of the  Cancer Cover Plus product has also been highlighted.  New group business is now the same price regardless of the channel used. A new National Sales Manager role has been created to support BDMs and Premium Partner network. Southern Cross has also noted that there is now a closer engagement between Premium Partners and the Southern Cross Executive Team. Southern Cross has announced a number of appointments, Margaret Smith has been appointed as Head of Business Engagement. Ryan Koppens has been appointed as Head of Sales Experience. Janet Osborne will continue to lead the BDM team with a focus on the Premium Partner programme. 

 

It has been quite some time since our last communication, Christmas and a fantastic summer have come and almost gone and we have seen much change in the last few months with more COVID-19 lockdowns in Auckland, good news in the form of the vaccine rollout and trans-Tasman travel bubble, and significant regulatory change with the introduction of the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act.

 

Through this period Southern Cross has continued to grow well ahead of expectations, and we now have 884k members who choose to insure their health with us. We’ve also delivered new products to market with our CareHQ virtual GP service, and our enhanced cancer care module Cancer Cover Plus.

 

Our support teams, front line call centre and BDM teams have all been working hard to meet your expectations as like you, we respond to a constantly changing environment. We have delivered significant change over the last few years to bring our adviser and direct channels closer together, including the following:

 

·       Our entire product set is now available for sale by our advisers

·       New group business opportunities are priced the same in the market regardless of channel

·       Creation of a National Sales Manager role for advisers to support the BDM team and our Premium Partner network

·       Closer engagement for our Premium Partners with the Southern Cross Executive Team

 

It’s vital that we deliver great customer experiences regardless of the customer’s choice of channel. So more than ever, a strong network of advisers is a priority for Southern Cross.

 

To that end, we are now taking further steps to support our adviser channel, and I’m excited to announce the following:

 

Margaret Smith has been appointed to a new role of Head of Business Engagement - many of you will remember Margaret from her time running the adviser channel.  Margaret’s remit is to strengthen our growth and align our teams in the adviser and corporate markets right across the country. Her team now incorporates all of our B2B account managers across the country.

 

Janet Osborne will continue to lead our BDM team, with prime responsibility for the Premium Partner programme, reporting to Margaret Smith and supported by Jamie Mellow as BDM Key Account Manager (Janet’s 2IC). We will also hire a new BDM executive to alleviate pressure on our BDMs and enable them to be more responsive to you - our Premium Partners.

  

Ryan Koppens has been appointed to a new role of Head of Sales Experience.  He will be picking up all of our operational and support teams that service our adviser channel and our direct sales teams.  He will also have responsibility for our customer-facing sales teams (phone-based and in-person) across Aotearoa.  Ryan’s remit is to ensure that the sales experience for our customers is always optimal, regardless of channel. 

 

Our goal with these changes is to support you with more dedicated and better aligned teams across Southern Cross, as well as a revitalised support structure to enable faster responses to advisers and their customers.

 

You can have absolute confidence that Ryan, Margaret and Janet will work together to support a unified approach to growth and a commitment to outstanding customer experiences and support. 

In other news

Fidelity Life: Fidelity Life has said that advisers must complete their accreditation before the end of June 2021

From Good returns: It's time to get serious about advice

From Good returns: [GRTV] Ballantyne talks about PI cover and industry movements

FMA: snapshot of sector

FA sector snapshot


Southern Cross on future of the health sector, and more daily news

Southern Cross has described the change to the public health system as a positive step towards a more aligned health care system. Southern Cross noted that although the private health sector is highly efficient at delivering elective care, the sector needs to now work together to improve the overall service New Zealanders receive from public, private, and non-governmental providers. Southern Cross has highlighted that services must adapt to meet the demands of New Zealanders. Prioritising prevention has also been identified as key to achieving the best health outcomes.

“As the largest independent healthcare delivery network in the country, Southern Cross Healthcare welcomes the reform to the public health system.

It’s a positive step towards a more aligned system comprising public, private and non-governmental providers to achieve a better, fairer and more sustainable health solution.

The private health sector has a lot to offer and is well-recognised for highly efficient delivery of elective care. Now is the time to work in a whole of sector approach to maximise the contribution all facets of the health sector towards meeting the health needs of Kiwis.

The provision of services must adapt to meet ever-increasing and evolving demand. We only need to look at the growing mental health crisis, coupled with an ageing population where people’s latter years are often lived in a state of high health need, to see a strongly collaborative approach is required to deliver more efficient and cost-effective healthcare.

New Zealand simply cannot afford to have a health system that continues to operate at the bottom of the cliff. Changes need to happen now, and prevention must be a key focus for the new strategy to achieve the best health outcomes. 

This is why Southern Cross Healthcare has evolved beyond delivering care to patients in our wholly owned or joint venture hospitals and medical facilities and is investing in areas of growing importance. We now have invested in providing preventative, community-based services including occupational health, rehabilitation and mental health support, along with clinical wellness services.

While we know this is just the beginning, we look forward to receiving more information, and continuing to work in partnership to roll out the new health system.”

In other news

In Good returns: If in doubt - disclose

Partners Life: Andries van Graan now chief of adviser distribution at Partners Life

Russell’s piece in Good returns: Bancassurance – an opportunity for advisers?

Financial Advice New Zealand: Companies Office working to ensure FSPR process is "made simpler"


Fidelity Life looking to improve legacy systems, and more daily news

Fidelity Life CEO Melissa Cantell has said the insurer is looking to improve current legacy systems to ensure a seamless process for advisers. Cantell has said that legacy systems are not equipped with the technology to meet business and customer needs. Cantell notes that although they have a lot of information, there is no way of extracting useful insights. To minimise manual work for employees and to improve adviser interactions, Fidelity Life is looking to introduce a new core platform later this year. Fidelity Life has been working on the new platform for the last few years. The majority of Fidelity Life’s business will be moved to the new platform. The change is expected to change the way Fidelity Life works with advisers. Internal and external trials of the new platform have been positive.

“Research has shown repeatedly that New Zealanders who get financial advice end up better off. However, poor legacy systems have often been a pain point for advisers dealing with insurers - something which Fidelity Life CEO Melissa Cantell said her company is looking to change quickly.

“My experience of many industries is that everyone has a technology challenge in some way, shape or form, but insurance and financial services seems to have more than many,” Cantell commented.

“There are many old legacy systems that were not built with today’s businesses or customers in mind, and we’re not any different to anyone else.”

“The old systems are just not fit for purpose any more, and they’re hard to get data out of - we’ve got so much information, but the insights just aren’t there because it’s so hard to get it out,” she explained.

“It’s hard for our people to work with lots of manual processes, which means more time handling process and less time helping customers. Then you have our advisers who are trying to connect with us, and it’s imperfect because our world isn’t great, and theirs is somewhere on their own spectrum.”

Fidelity Life is looking to roll out a new technology platform from the middle of this year - something Cantell said has been a significant project for the insurer for a number of years now, and will allow advisers to work with Fidelity Life on a ‘whole other level.’

“We have a new core platform which will have us migrating a big chunk of our business on to a brand new, clean, built-for-us platform,” Cantell said. “We’re moving everything across, and our entire on-sale book will be on that new platform.”

“It has many components to it, but one of the things we’re particularly excited about is our new adviser portal,” she added.

“The way our advisers work with us will be on a whole other level than it is now. Once that’s there and we’re clean, tidy and not managing the complexity of our own internal systems, we’ll start to think about what else we can do beyond that.

“We’ve already piloted the platform on part of our business internally and externally, and it’s all been going well, so we’ll soon be turning it on for everything.” Click here to read more

In other news

From Good Returns: Trust tax disclosure changes: What advisers need to know

Fidelity Life: NZ's largest locally owned life insurer champions adviser learning and good outcomes for customers

Professional IQ: Jail time for breaching NZ's cartel laws from April 2021 - what you need to know

Southern Cross: Head of Adviser Networks, Ryan Koppens says Southern Cross is looking to enhance adviser referral pathways


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


Partners Life on preparing for 15 March, and more daily news

In preparation for 15 March, Partners Life has compiled a list of things that financial advisers must do to ensure compliance. The list is designed as an informative piece as well as a mini checklist with questions regarding duties. ​The list is made up of the following six points:

  1. “Ensure you come under a transitional licence by 15 March You may obtain your own licence, or be engaged under someone else’s. If the licence hasn’t come through by 15 March, you cannot give financial advice until it arrives. Use this time wisely for business planning, reviewing your processes, documenting what you do, and any number of other business-related activities. Note that the FSPR will be mostly offline from 2-15 March to prepare for the new regime (more details here). 
  2. Get your disclosure sorted You must meet the new disclosure requirements from 15 March, including your website, Facebook page, engagement letters, and statements of advice. Use the FSC Disclosure Guide templates to write your text. Have your website developer draft your new site and be ready to go live late at night on 14 March. Use this opportunity to review your other client documents – do they meet the requirements of the Privacy Act (e.g. permission to share client data with the FMA and your compliance consultant), Secret Commissions Act (do you disclose referral fees and commissions), and other legal obligations? 
  3. Have you documented your complaints process? Ask your Disputes Resolution Scheme for help. They are very likely to have learning resources and templates to help you. Implement a Complaints Register, and check monthly that it is completed properly. Write down your process, including how you check it is working. 
  4. Is your record-keeping up to scratch? Do you have all client files backed up? Are they secure – how do you protect client information from being seen or taken by others? Can you access them quickly when you need them? Are they complete – do you record all of your interactions with each client? Challenge your process – where are the risks that privacy could be breached? What interactions are not recorded? Write down your process, and what you do to check that it is being followed 
  5. Do you comply with the new duties? Challenge your process against the new duties, and write down how you meet your obligations. Good advisers meet these obligations now, and may only have a few minor tweaks to make. How can you prove that you meet them? 
    1. ​How do you ensure that your clients understand the nature and scope of your advice, the limitations to your advice, and the advice you give them? 
    2. How do you ensure you give suitable advice? Do you use research tools? Do you use advice tools? How do you calculate the quantum of cover, and choose the best provider and products for each client?
    3. Care, diligence and skill? This is already the law. If you don’t meet this now, step it up!  
  6. Some of the duties are a no-brainer But just because they’re a no-brainer, don’t forget to properly document how you are observing them – if anyone asks, don’t just tell them you are a good adviser: make sure you can show them! 
    1. Do you recommend products for your benefit, or for your client’s? If you give advice other than to benefit your clients, you are breaking the law. How do you prove that your advice is for your client’s benefit, and you are not influenced by commission?
    2. Treat clients fairly and act with integrity – this should underpin everything you do as a financial adviser. Think about it hard – do you?
    3. Don’t recommend financial advice products that don’t comply with the law.”

Partners Life has also stated that advisers that make structural changes and advisers that make a mistake must inform the FMA. Partners Life has explained that advisers must tell the FMA what they are doing to about the issues and steps they are taking to minimise any potential harm.

“If you do anything wrong, or make structural changes to your business or key personnel, you have to tell the FMA about it if it is material. If this happens, don’t just give the FMA a problem. Tell them what you are doing about it – how are you minimising any harm that the problem may cause?

If you hold a licence and have other financial advisers working in your business, you must ensure that they meet these obligations too. How are you ensuring that happens?

While the full list of obligations is long, many of them articulate things you should already be doing. Work through the list above, and embrace the opportunities that FSLAA brings!”

In other news

FMA: FMA warns adviser for KiwiSaver advice

Southern Cross: Southern Cross offering advisers access to StayingWell, a free hub of hand-picked wellness information


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


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?