Legal and regulator update for the life and health insurance sector

4 April 2022 - Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Hon David Clark, January and February 2022 diary released with the following potential financial services sector related meetings noted:

  • 2 Feb 2022 – ASB (Vittoria Short, CEO; Craig Sims, Executive GM; Debbie Mills, Tribe Lead Home Ownership & Louise Griffin GM Govt Relations)
  • 2 Feb 2022 – Kiwibank (Steve Jurkovich, CEO; Liz Knight (CRO); & Mike Hendriksen (CLO))
  • 2 Feb 2022 – BNZ (Dan Huggins, CEO; Sam Perkins, Chief Risk Officer; Martin Elliott, GM Consumer Product Lending Domain; Dean Schmidt, Exec, Commercial Services and Responsible Business; Paul Hay, GM, Regulatory Affairs; Dirk McLeish, GM, Line 1 Control and Assurance)
  • 2 Feb 2022 – Westpac (Catherine McGrath, CEO, Westpac; Clayton Cosgrove)
  • 2 Feb 2022 – ANZ (Antonia Watson, CEO; Peter Parussini, GM Public, Consumer and Govt Affairs; Ben Kelleher – MD, Personal Banking; Cushla Scholfield,  Associate General Counsel; Andrew Gaukrodger  - Govt Relations & Corporate Responsibility)
  • 9 Feb 2022 – IAG (Bryce Davies, Corp Relations and Amanda Whiting, CEO)
  • 9 Feb 2022 – Financial Advice NZ (Heather Roy, Chair and Katrina Shanks, CEO, and John Bolton, Director)
  • 10 Feb 2022 – FinCap (Ruth Smithers, CE)
  • 17 Feb 2022 – Speech to FSC Future Ready Advice Summit

4 April 2022 – Government announced a new round of sanctions announced targeting Russian oligarchs.

5 April 2022 – Parliament completed the first reading of the Fair Pay Agreements Bill, referred to the Education and Workforce Select Committee with report back due by 5 Oct 2022.

6 April 2022 – IRD advised that a new FATCA Excel file template is now available for download via myIR.

6 April 2022 – Commission for Financial Capability released data about KiwiSaver balances across age groups and gender, with the data collected by Melville Jessup Weaver actuaries on behalf of the Commission.

6 April 2022 – Privacy Commissioner invited submissions on a proposal to amend the Health Information Privacy Code 2020 to align it to the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill, with submissions closing on 4 May 2022.

Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Aplastic Anaemia


Were back with another item analysis - this time for Aplastic Anaemia.

Please find our proposed sub-items below.

Sub-items rating review



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,

Fidelity Life reveal financial results, and more daily news

Fidelity Life has revealed that the underlying profit for the year ended 30 June 2021 was $22.5 million. Fidelity Life has identified an increase in net premium revenue, strong new business, less policy lapses, and expense management as key drivers. CEO Melissa Cantell has said that she is pleased with Fidelity Life’s achievements and is looking forward to the future. 

“Fidelity Life’s core business continued to perform well in the 2021 financial year as it boosted transformation spend and remained resilient against the economic impacts of COVID-19. 

Underlying profit for the country’s largest locally owned life insurer for the year ended 30 June 2021 rose to $22.5m from $20.3m in 2020. Key drivers were a $6.1 million uplift in net premium revenue off the back of strong new business, fewer than expected policy lapses and robust expense management. 


The company paid $130.8 million in claims to its customers compared to $139.7 million in 2020. 

Total comprehensive income fell to $4.3 million from $17.9 million in 2020, reflecting a total of $9.3 million invested in key transformation projects (net of tax), including the firm’s new technology platform and the proposed acquisition of Westpac Life. In addition, a sharp rise in government bond rates had a $7.3 million impact (net of tax). 


Chair Brian Blake said the $400 million Westpac Life deal was one of the most significant events in the company’s history and, once completed, would see Fidelity Life welcome Ngāi Tahu Capital as a major shareholder alongside the NZ Super Fund. 

“As well as strengthening our New Zealand-owned credentials and providing greater access to capital, having two iconic New Zealand investors on our share register sends a strong signal to the market about the quality and potential of Fidelity Life.” 

CEO Melissa Cantell, who started at Fidelity Life in January 2021, said she was pleased with the firm’s achievements and was looking to the future with confidence. 


“We’ve worked hard this year and put strong foundations in place. We continued to invest in our transformation, while at the same time delivering an underlying result which shows our core business of providing life insurance to New Zealanders is performing well. 

“Looking to the future, there’s a lot to be excited about as we work towards our aspiration to reimagine life insurance. Completing our technology build and the game-changing acquisition of Westpac Life will be key, as will ensuring we maintain our relentless focus on our customers.” 


In other news

TAP: TAP offers OATs to independent advisers

Partners Life: Partners brings in actuarial expert

From Insurance Business Mag: Full licensing a “unique opportunity” to think about business future

Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Financial Planning & Legal Advice


We have recently conducted a full review on our “Financial Planning & Legal Advice” item. Please find the new sub-items below.

Proposed sub-items

FInancial final


The Financial Planning & Legal Advice benefit differs between insurers with a significant weighting on whether the company offers reimbursement on legal expenses. Fidelity is one of the major insurers who doesn’t offer this, and customers are only eligible for payment if their Life cover sum insured is over $100,000. Similarly, Momentum Life requires 3 years continuous cover before payment eligibility.

Another item worth mentioning is Asteron, Fidelity and Westpac directly stating that the benefit will be paid out to all policy owners – the maximum amount paid by most insurers is $2,500 so this particularly feature seems to reduce the value of the benefit.  

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,

Fidelity Life purchases Westpac Life, and more daily news

Fidelity Life has announced that they have signed a conditional agreement to purchase Westpac Life and distribute Fidelity Life products exclusively to Westpac customers for the next 15 years. NZ Super Fund: Ngāi Tahu Holdings has joined as a shareholder to help with the $400 million acquisition of Westpac Life. Fidelity Life has highlighted that they are awaiting regulatory and shareholder approvals but expect the deal to be completed by the end of the year. As part of the purchase, the Westpac Life team and 150,000 policyholders will join Fidelity Life. This will increase Fidelity Life’s in force market share from 12% to approximately 17%.

“Today we’re announcing some big news: we’ve signed a conditional agreement to buy Westpac Life and enter into a 15 year strategic alliance with Westpac to distribute our products exclusively to their retail customers.

To help fund the $400 million acquisition we’re absolutely delighted to be welcoming another large shareholder to join our cornerstone investor the NZ Super Fund: Ngāi Tahu Holdings – the investment arm of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, one of New Zealand’s largest iwi. Ngāi Tahu Holdings are a fantastic addition to our shareholder base and further strengthen our NZ-owned credentials.

The agreement is still subject to regulator and shareholder approvals, and we expect it to be completed by the end of 2021.

A true partnership.

This new alliance with Westpac, who share our aspiration to reimagine life insurance, aligns with our plans to diversify our channel mix to help us reach even more New Zealanders.

Once the deal’s completed we’ll be welcoming the Westpac Life team and 150,000 policyholders to Fidelity Life and will boost our in force market share from 12% to nearly 17%.”

In other news

nib: nib Health Insurance Protect, Connect & Empower Seminar Series will be held in  Timaru and Dunedin

FSC: Outlook 2021/22 with Geoff Bascand

Quality Product Research: Proposed rating for Coma (Trauma)


Following on with our recent theme of revising ratings, we have reviewed Coma, re-assessing the item based on modern definitions.  A rarely claimed on benefit, yet significant coverage in the media when the insurer decides not to pay out.  

Below are the proposed items for Coma.



Momentum life is the only provider that requires the insured to be in a coma for 96-hours, while Westpac uniquely requires a permanent neurological deficit. Three insurers, Fidelity, Pinnacle and Westpac specifically exclude medically induced comas and a similar definition is observed in the use of life support systems and response to internal and external needs.

Few insurers continue to use the Glasgow Coma Scale in their definitions – here is a quick overview of what the scale demonstrates

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,

QPR v14.2 is now live!

The QPR team have been working hard to implement changes to our website and Research in order to keep up with the changes in our fast-paced industry. 

Recent updates to Quotemonster: 

  • Quoting to reflect Life buyback is in-built for Asteron Life (TPD only) 
  • Enabling Class 5 TPD Accelerated Any Occupation for Asteron Life (occupation needs to be verified with the insurer)
  • Previously the QPR package score was based on the main client, we have now separated this so that each client will show their own package score according to the selected benefits. The star rating is an average of all the clients in the quote.   


  • New drop-down menus option in “Settings”
  • To update your Product or Occupation Setting, click “Quote Settings”
  • To update your Adviser Profile or Security Setting, click “User Settings"
  • To update your Needs or SOA Setting, click “Needs Analysis Settings” (only available to Advicemonster subscribers)


  • For Advicemonster users, we have made a couple of changes to the SOA report. We have improved the formatting in the summary recommendations table to make it easier to edit and stopped TPD from appearing in the product options table when TPD is not selected. 
  • New “Service Status” feature located at the bottom of your Quotemonster screen. This will provide updates on any upcoming maintenance or current technical issues with our website

ServiceRecent updates to QPR Research:

  • AIA Cancer Care rated (select this in your Product Settings Screen)


  • Cigna – Assurance Extra policy document 12/04/2021 loaded (no rating changes applied)
  • Westpac – Term cover policy document 15/03/2021 loaded
    • Life - no rating changes applied
    • Trauma  - rating changes applied

Rating reviews:

  • Life
    • Inflation Adjustment – re-rate for all companies (rating added for MAS)
    • Special Events Increase – re-rate for all companies
  • Trauma
    • Exclusions re-rate for Co-Operative Bank
    • Inbuilt Childs Trauma – re-rate for all companies
    • Diabetes mellitus (adult) renamed to Severe Diabetes – re-rate for all companies
    • Benign brain and spine tumour – re-rate for all companies
    • HIV- Medically Acquires – re-rate for AIA
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis – re-rate for Partners Life
    • Inflation Adjustment – re-rate for all companies
    • Cancer Critical – minor re-rate for Kaposi Sarcoma only
  • Medical
    • Overseas treatment re-rate for nib
    • Diagnostic Tests re-rate for all companies 
    • Minor Surgery amount score correction for nib 
  • Income Protection & Mortgage Protection
    • Rehab and Modifications re-rate for AIA
  • TPD
    • Inflation Adjustment – re-rate for all companies

Quality Product Research: (Inbuilt) Child Trauma – Part Two 

A reader has queried whether QPR takes the sum insured into account in our Research Ratings.  And the answer is yes, we do consider the amount paid by each insurer. In fact amount paid are a vital part of a value-based assessment approach - and something we capture much better than simple feature lists of benefits do. 

In trauma insurance, some companies pay the full benefit for an item, others only make a payment of 10% or 20% of the sum insured because the condition was not severe enough to warrant a full payment. Our score is varied according to how much would actually be paid. In the scenario for Child Trauma, we have a claims amount of $100,000 and calculate how much would be paid out by each insurer.  


Furthermore, based on adviser feedback we have corrected our ratings to reflect the fact that Asteron does include the option to convert their child cover to adult trauma at age 21. Interestingly, if the parent is on Trauma Recovery (TR) and considering converting their child cover to TR with Early Trauma they are required to complete an application. 


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,

Westpac Withdraws Gold Term and Gold Disability Income Cover

As of 15 March 2021, Westpac no longer offers Gold Term Cover (death, critical trauma, TPD) and Gold Disability Income Cover (Indemnity Income Protection). Existing policy holders, however, can continue to make amendments (i.e. increase and decrease cover amounts). Westpac Life continues to offer term life, TPD, critical illness and Agreed Value income protection in other products. For further information please click here