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


Fidelity Life announce new Solutions and Services team, and more daily news

Fidelity Life has announced the creation of the Solutions and Services team. The team will be led by Trecia Brown in her new role of Head of Solutions and Services. The Solutions and Services team will be responsible for delivering advice solutions, professional development, and the Building Better Businesses programme.

 

Fidelity Life is transforming its support for advisers with the creation of a new team delivering solutions across the areas of advice (including advice-tech) and professional development, as well as an expansion of the company’s market-leading Building Better Businesses programme.

 

The new Solutions and Services team will be headed by the widely experienced Trecia Brown. Drawing on her 30-year career in financial services, Trecia steps up from her current position as Head of Professional Development to become Head of Solutions and Services.

 

Fidelity Life Chief Sales and Service Officer Bronwyn Kirwan says Fidelity Life is on a mission to deliver best-in-market support to advisers.

 

“We’re making great progress with our customer-led transformation, and that includes expanding our adviser and partner propositions so together we can help more New Zealanders get the benefits of insurance protection. 

 

“Our new Solutions and Services team recognises advisers’ needs are constantly evolving as the broader business environment changes. Taking our cues from a range of stakeholders including customers, advisers and regulators, as well as from emerging technologies, our intention is to help advisers stay one step ahead,” says Bronwyn.

 

One of the first cabs off the rank is a new video series specifically for financial advice businesses and designed in conjunction with well-known business and leadership coach Jennifer Myers.  

 

“Working on your business is just as important as working in it, and this new video series will help advisers build and maintain a resilient business,” says Trecia. 

 

“As well as covering key topics like setting business goals, identifying target markets, and building your personal brand, we also look at finessing advisers’ softer skills which are often overlooked as an essential ingredient to running a successful business.”

 

Meanwhile, Fidelity Life’s Building Better Businesses programme is also set for further expansion, with new modules in the pipeline including business diagnostics, behavioural economics and benchmarking.

 

Today’s announcement follows the unveiling of Fidelity Life’s new look Strategic Alliances team last week and continues the momentum of the firm’s customer-led transformation.

 

In other news

Cigna: pay later option available on eApp for customers that have been referred for further underwriting

 

Financial Advice: Financial Advice submitted on the Advertising Standards Authority Consultation on the new draft Financial Advertising Code

 

FSC: 5 sleeps until ReGenerations Reimagined

 

October 15 is Global Handwashing Day

 

World Food Day will be on 16 October 

 

World Osteoporosis Day will be on 20 October


AIA report on common preventable non-communicable diseases

AIA NZ has published a report on risk factors that lead to the most common preventable non-communicable diseases that result in death. AIA found that New Zealanders underestimate the impact of non-communicable diseases. AIA uncovered that New Zealanders thought that non-communicable diseases accounted for 10% - 50% of deaths when non-communicable diseases actually cause 90% of deaths.

AIA

Click here to read more

"A new report from AIA NZ has uncovered the five risk factors that lead to the five most common preventable non-communicable diseases which account for more than 90 percent of New Zealand’s deaths.

The findings, rooted in research originally founded by the United Nations, demonstrate how many of the world’s deaths are caused by lifestyle factors that contribute to preventable but deadly diseases.

Coined 5590, the five risk factors of physical inactivity, poor nutrition, smoking, excess alcohol and environment interaction, contribute to five common non-communicable diseases: cancer, diabetes, respiratory disease, heart disease and poor mental health.

The widespread impact of non-communicable diseases

Further local independent research conducted by AIA NZ shows that Kiwis vastly underestimate the impact non-communicable diseases have in the community. Half of Kiwis think non-communicable diseases account for only 10-50% of deaths in New Zealand each year. In reality these diseases account for 90 percent.

Nick Stanhope, AIA NZ Chief Executive, says the case for focusing on health promotion and preventing non-communicable diseases is stronger than ever.

“Non-communicable diseases are the leading cause for preventable death not only in New Zealand but across the globe. In 2019, 74 percent of the world’s total deaths were caused by non-communicable diseases. Furthermore, non-communicable diseases took seven places in the top 10 causes of death,” says Stanhope.

“Covid-19 has been on our minds for the past year, with more than a third of Kiwis thinking Covid-19 was responsible for the most deaths globally in 2020. However, the more insidious threat is non-communicable disease.

“At AIA NZ, we believe it’s our social responsibility to move away from simply being a payer of claims, to partner with Kiwis to live Healthier, Longer, Better lives.”


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

12 Oct 2021 – The FMA released advice that the Ministry of Justice commenced a statutorily required review of the AML/CFT Act on 6 Oct 2021, with the MOJ releasing a consultation document with submissions closing on 3 Dec 2021. https://consultations.justice.govt.nz/policy/aml-cft-review/

12 Oct 2021 – IRD released a commentary on the Supplementary Order Paper No. 64 to the Taxation (Annual Rates for 2021–22, GST, and Remedial Matters) Bill, containing proposals aimed at limiting the deductibility of interest incurred for residential property investments. https://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/publications/2021/2021-commentary-sop-argrm-bill

13 Oct 2021- FMA issued guidance on the advertising of financial products. https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/media-releases/fma-issues-guidance-on-advertising-of-financial-products

13 Oct 2021 – RBNZ issued a consultation seeking views on its enforcement framework with submissions closing on 24 November 2021. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2021/10/views-sought-on-enforcement-framework

13 Oct 2021 - 13 Oct 2021 – MBIE advised that the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has issued the Updated Addendum to the Responsible Lending Code: COVID-19. The addendum elaborates on and offer guidance on how lender responsibility principles and lender responsibilities may be implemented by lenders while dealing with borrowers who have been impacted by COVID-19. https://www.mbie.govt.nz/dmsdocument/17505-updated-addendum-to-the-responsible-lending-code-covid-19

 

 


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


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance industry

11 Oct 2021 – The FMA, while issuing a public censure of a derivatives issuer (FIRMA NZ), advised that it is in the process of conducting an in-depth monitoring review of the Derivatives Issuer industry, following a sector risk assessment last year. The results of the review will be collated for consideration of future industry guidance and/or standard condition review. While the review has been deferred due to COVID-19 Alert Level changes, the FMA expects to conclude the review before the end of 2021. https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/media-releases/censures-firma-nz-breaches

11 Oct 2021 – Two Bills introduced into Parliament

  • Data and Statistics Bill - intended to repeal and replace the Statistics Act 1975

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_116197/data-and-statistics-bill

  • Retail Payment System Bill - introduces a range of measures to promote competition and economic efficiency in the retail payment system

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_116198/retail-payment-system-bill

11 Oct 2021 – Council of Financial Regulators noted the passing of its tenth birthday with recruitment of its first adviser, having its role recognised in legislation, and completing an updated Memorandum of Understanding between its members. https://www.cofr.govt.nz/news-and-publications/cofr-celebrates-significant-milestones.html


Partners Life approve use of electronic signatures, and more daily news

In response to increasing demands to accept electronic signature services Partners Life has announced that they will begin accepting documents with electronic signatures that are submitted through a range of e-signature services. Partners Life may request further information if a submitted document doesn’t clearly show the electronic service used. Additional information may include the document’s audit trail to ensure one of the approved services have been used.

“We have received an increasing number of requests regarding the acceptance of electronic signature services. Electronic signature services provide a safe, auditable means for clients to sign documents digitally.

We can confirm we will accept documents signed using the following services:

  • 2Shakes
  • RightSignature
  • DocuSign
  • AdobeSign
  • HelloSign
  • NitroSign
  • Formstack
  • DocHub
  • PandaDoc

If a submitted document does not display the electronic service used, we may request further information, such as the document’s audit trail, to be certain it was signed using one of the approved services. Please note Memorandum of Transfer forms cannot be signed using electronic signatures and we still require a physical signature on these forms.”

In other news:

FSC: ReGenerations Reimagined will begin on 19 October at  3.30pm

Partners Life: Expressions of interest now open for 3 day New Adviser Training Course

AIA: Last days for adviser wellbeing survey feedback

The Co-operative Bank: Mark Wilkshire will join as the new CEO on 25 January 2022


Cigna Life Insurance sold to Chubb

Cigna New Zealand announced that Cigna Life Insurance here in New Zealand has been sold to Chubb. Additionally, Cigna has sold businesses in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey to Chubb for US$5.75 billion. Cigna New Zealand CEO Gail Costa has said the focus will continue to be Cigna customers.

This afternoon Cigna Corporation announced that it has sold a number of businesses in its International Markets portfolio to Chubb for US$5.75 billion.

This includes our very attractive life insurance business in New Zealand as well as businesses in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey.

For those of you that may not be familiar with Chubb, they are one of the world’s largest publicly traded insurance companies. They have operations in 54 countries and territories, employ 31,000 people and have net assets of almost US$200 billion. They are one of the top 200 companies in the world by market capitalisation.

Importantly, Chubb are looking forward to playing a leading role in the future of the global life insurance industry. They see New Zealand as a highly desirable market and are excited about our growth potential.

Chubb view the purchase of our business as highly complementary to their global business as it now adds life insurance to their fire and general presence in New Zealand.

David, the leadership team and I firmly believe Chubb are committed and well positioned to continue developing our offering. We have a number of initiatives in progress, which we’ll share more about with you in the coming months.

This is an exciting opportunity for us, given Chubb’s size, scale and desire to invest in our business so that we can continue to innovate and expand our product and service offerings.

I’d like to use today’s announcement to reinforce the importance of our long-term partnership, our commitment to third party distribution and to growing our businesses together.

Our focus on being there when our customers need us most is at the heart of everything we do and we look forward to continuing to deliver great insurance solutions for New Zealanders alongside you. 


My Covid Record: site details and reminder to get vaccinated!

The Ministry of Health has the new My Covid Record site is up in beta. The purpose is to provide a portal to obtain vaccine evidence currently for travel, but later for mass events such as concerts. I managed to set up my account in about ten minutes - it helps if you already have a RealMe login.

It is also an opportunity to provide a reminder that getting vaccinated works to reduce the transmission, serious illness, and death from COVID-19. I'm vaccinated and everyone I know has had at least the first jab, if not both. If you haven't or you know anyone - often young people who have only recently been allowed to go an get the jab - who hasn't got around to it yet, do help to spread the word. The more of us that can get it, that do get it, the easier life will be (including for those few who cannot have the jab due to medical reasons). Link to the site here: https://app-beta.covid19.health.nz/

Insurers interested in how digital health records development is going should definitely take note of this. It is likely to be the same or similar registration process.

Screenshot 2021-10-08 094838


Legal and Regulatory Update for the Life and Health Insurance Sector

6 Oct 2021 – Law Commission launched a review of the law relating to adult decision-making capacity and published the Terms of Reference that will guide the review. This may have a bearing on how you identify and help clients that may be vulnerable in some way, some disabled clients, as well as those of you that may work with very elderly clients. There will be a public consultation process in 2022 and an intent to report to the Minister of Justice by the end of 2023. https://www.lawcom.govt.nz/media-release/law-commission-review-law-relating-adult-decision-making-capacity

6 Oct 2021 – MBIE announced that Government is seeking feedback on creating a Digital Strategy for New Zealand, with a closing date for feedback of 10 Nov 2021.

https://www.mbie.govt.nz/about/news/government-seeking-public-feedback-on-digital-strategy/

https://www.digital.govt.nz/digital-government/strategy/towards-a-digital-strategy-for-aotearoa/have-your-say/

7 Oct 2021 – The Office of the Privacy Commissioner released a paper setting out the position of the Office on how the Privacy Act regulates bio-metrics. https://privacy.org.nz/publications/guidance-resources/biometrics-and-privacy/


Fidelity Life make several appointments, and more daily news

Fidelity Life has announced that several appointments have been made as part of the insurer’s transformation strategy. Melanie Beattie joins Fidelity Life as the new Head of Strategic Alliances. Sean Craigen has been appointed as the Strategic Alliance Manager – Bank and Brands. Mike Whitehead leaves his roles as a BDM to become the Strategic Alliance Manager – Advice and Corporate. In their roles, Sean and Mike will report to Melanie. Bronwyn Kirwan has said that the new appointments will exemplify Fidelity Life’s commitment to protect more New Zealanders and increase the value proposition to partners.

“The pace of Fidelity Life’s transformation continues, with a number of key appointments to its new-look strategic alliances team boosting the firm’s partner proposition.

The appointments of Melanie Beattie (Head of Strategic Alliances), Sean Craigen (Strategic Alliance Manager – Bank and Brands) and Mike Whitehead (Strategic Alliance Manager – Advice and Corporate) were announced by Fidelity Life Chief Sales and Service Officer Bronwyn Kirwan today.

“These appointments show we’re lifting our value proposition to our partners. Our transformation includes broadening our channel mix to help us protect even more New Zealanders, and we see so much opportunity to collaborate with like-minded organisations in delivering modern financial services to New Zealanders.

“Conversations with partners about commissions are now giving way to conversations about customers and strategy, helping us form a strategic roadmap to achieve a shared ambition. We’re excited about strategic relationships with significant advice and customer-led organisations and these new appointments are the first phase of investing to be an outstanding partner”, says Bronwyn.

Fidelity Life’s strategic partners include Farmers Mutual Group (FMG) and New Zealand Home Loans (NZHL), and it recently announced a new 15-year partnership with Westpac NZ as part of the proposed acquisition of Westpac Life.

The new appointments.

Melanie Beattie joins Fidelity Life in the newly created role of Head of Strategic Alliances, spearheading a new-look team and shifting gears with the firm’s strategic partnering approach.

Melanie spent the formative years of her career in the UK starting and selling a number of businesses in the energy sector before making a switch to corporate – initially with IBM, then with EY as Head of Market Development. She became Head of Strategic Partnerships at ASB and led their partnership practice across corporate, commercial, SME, and rural/primary sectors. In 2020 she took a up new role at tech start up Trade Window as Head of Global Ecosystems.

Reporting to Melanie, Sean Craigen takes up the role of Strategic Alliance Manager – Bank and Brands. Sean is currently at BNZ leading their general insurance product portfolio and compliance roll out with third parties. Prior to this Sean worked at IAG in a number of roles including leadership of their future partnerships, ventures and innovation team.

Also reporting to Melanie, Mike Whitehead is taking up the new role of Strategic Alliance Manager – Advice and Corporate. Mike’s currently a Fidelity Life Business Manager in the Auckland region and prior to joining Fidelity Life, he held a number of roles at BNZ in commercialisation, area management, franchise management and asset financing. His background also includes time as a Ray White auctioneer and salesperson, and a 14-year stint as a stock agent and auctioneer with Wrightson’s. Click here to read more

Screen Shot 2021-10-06 at 4.19.07 PM

Financial Advice: The Be Inspired, Be Energised conference will now be online. Pricing for the two day online conference reduced to $395 +GST. The conference will be recorded and available for those that have registered.

RBNZ: Christian Hawkesby has been appointed as Deputy Governor


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance industry

5 Oct 2021 – RBNZ issued advice of a change of the implementation date from 1 Jan 2022 to 1 Jan 2023 for the interim Solvency Standard applicable to insurers. Insurers will be particularly relieved at this decision, as there were some significant challenges with the 2022 date, and the modelled requirements for additional capital. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/regulation-and-supervision/insurers/consultations-and-policy-development-for-insurers/active-policy-development/review-of-the-insurance-solvency-standards

5 Oct 2021 – FMA advised that MBIE has commenced a review of FMA funding and levies, with submissions closing on 7 November 2021.

https://www.fma.govt.nz/compliance/consultation/consultation-fma-funding-and-levy-review

https://www.mbie.govt.nz/about/news/consultation-opens-on-2021-fma-funding-and-levies-review/

6 Oct 2021 – Ministry of Justice launched a public survey seeking views on the impact of New Zealand’s anti-money laundering laws, with the survey closing on 3 Dec 2021. https://www.justice.govt.nz/about/news-and-media/news/what-do-you-think-of-our-anti-money-laundering-laws/


Goodreturns: level life cover

Matthew Martin reviews Partners Life's decision to increase level rates. We had a great talk through the drivers of level life rates. Interest rates is a dominating factor, but the context for level life cover has always been a backdrop of continuing improvements in mortality risk. That's been put into reverse in most rich countries by COVID-19. Here is Matthew Martin's article. Here are the links to the data investigations that show the impact on life expectancy and the examination of excess deaths through the pandemic


Legal and regulatory

27 Sept 2021 – Several regulatory releases related to financial services published as follows:

  • KiwiSaver (Reallocation and Transfer of Default Members) Regulations 2021
  • Financial Markets Conduct (Communal Facilities in Real Property Developments) Exemption Notice 2021
  • Financial Service Providers (End of Transitional Period) Order 2021 (relevant to overseas financial service providers with New Zealand retail clients above a minimum threshold)
  • Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance (Exemptions, Annual Returns, and Other Matters) Amendment Regulations 2021

4 Oct 2021 – NZ Police Financial Intelligence Unit released its August 2021 Suspicious Activity Report. https://www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/fiu-monthly-report-aug2021.pdf

4 Oct 2021 – RBNZ released its Annual Report. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2021/10/maintaining-focus-on-economic-wellbeing-and-prosperity

4 Oct 2021 – FMA media release, as part of World Investor Week (4-10 October), urging DIY online investors to pause before succumbing to investment FOMO. https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/media-releases/diy-investors-encouraged-to-take-a-mo-before-giving-in-to-fomo/


Partners Life set to change Level Life premium rates, and more daily news

Partners Life has announced that from 1 November Level Life premium rates will increase by up to 20% for new business. This change is a result of monitoring the performance of products against several expectations, including claims, lapse rate, expenses, and positioning expectations. Partners Life has clarified that the change in premiums won’t apply to existing guaranteed level premium life covers.

“As a key leader in the Life and Health Insurance industry, Partners Life is focused on ensuring the sustainability of our products for the long-term benefit of our clients.

This means we are constantly measuring and monitoring the performance of our products against expectations in respect to claims, lapses, expenses and competitive positioning.

Our latest review has identified a need for us to adjust our guaranteed level premiums for Life Cover.

With effect from 1 November 2021, Level Life premium rates will increase by up to 20% for new business, which reflects our experience assumptions, and will bring our pricing for guaranteed level life premiums in line with the rest of the market.

This change in premiums will not apply to existing guaranteed level premium life covers (including future contractual CPI indexation increases), in keeping with the guarantee.

As is usual, any non-CPI increases of guaranteed level premium life cover on existing policies will be priced based on the premium rates applicable at the date of increase.”

In other news

nib: Nib halts travel insurance sales in Australia and New Zealand

AIA: Not all life insurers are equal

From Stuff: Why you should constantly review your insurance coverage


The biggest threat to the life and health insurance sector:

An insurable event is one which can be defined, measured, and is uncertain. Uncertainty is crucial. Things that are certain cannot be insured. Another feature of an insurance contract is asymmetrical information – we know general risks – like how likely cancer is – the insured knows specific risks – like how their health is. We have an obligation to each other, defined in law as utmost good faith.

But of course, you know all that.

Some people don’t, and some of them are actively working to break down the essential elements of the insurance process. One of those is the right to underwrite. We need to defend that. If a person knows that they are much, much more likely to suffer a critical illness such as cancer, they will be much, much more likely to seek insurance. This anti-selection causes headaches for both insurers and everyone else in the same risk pool: people with normal risks who end up paying over the odds for their cover. Pricing for risk is vital. Does this make me heartless about the problems of the person who is far more likely to develop cancer – not at all – I am glad to contribute to the costs of their care and support them, as we do through our health service and welfare benefits if they are needed. But some people believe private insurers can be compelled to cover people without pricing for the risk to the general good of all. I wish this were the case, but if we do compel insurers to take uninsurable risks, we are likely to see insurance enter a swiftly downward heading spiral: as costs rise the healthier and wealthier lives head for the exit, relying on higher savings and family to help. When that happens the remaining pool must be re-priced higher, which in turn makes the cover un-affordable for all but the worst risks. Then the risk pool fails – and no one has cover. A valuable risk sharing tool is lost.

If the aim is to destroy the insurance industry, depriving millions of a valuable risk sharing tool, the best way to do that is to deny the right to price risk. That takes all sorts of forms: the most common we have heard of recently is that we should not be able to price for mental health risks, or that we should cover cosmetic procedures in health, or that policies should always return the whole of the premium paid, or that we can’t ask all the questions we need to when underwriting, or that it is okay for the insured to withhold medical information. We must always push back against the idea that each of these would be a cost-less decision to take and would not harm other New Zealanders. Each would have consequences. Things that are certain - or very nearly certain - like events in the past or inherited conditions which emerge in later life, are not suited to insurance. As a society we need to look after people who suffer in this way - and that is probably the role of government, not insurance.

Of course, when it comes to underwriting, insurers could do more around education. Looser underwriting rules may have an adverse claims impact. Most clients cannot know that.  Material non-disclosure is not very common, normally it’s a genuine mistake. Mistake or not, some of the non-disclosure can be driven by fear or shame. Being clear about the benefits of underwriting can help reduce these a lot - as can smart question design.

 

In other news

From Good returns: 'Hole in one' cover and the design of insurance products

AIA has announced data can be passed from Iress’ Risk Researcher tool to AIA’s Quote Builder and eApp. Click here to read more

Health insurer nib has replaced the free travel insurance cover feature that was part of Ultimate Health with some additional mental health coverage. Details are to come.

 

Not vaccinated yet? Click here to get it done: https://bookmyvaccine.covid19.health.nz/


Southern Cross reveals top claims, and more daily news

Southern Cross has revealed that spinal fusions was the most expensive surgical claim in the year to 30 June 2021, with the most expensive claim costing $222,000. Radical neck dissection surgeries were the next most expensive claims. The three most common claims made were for cryotherapy procedures (34,000 claims), excisions of skin lesions (31,000 claims) and minor surgery performed by a GP (26,000 claims). In the year ended 30 June 2021, Southern Cross paid more than three million claims valued at $1.12 billion.

“Surgery for bad backs has topped the list of most expensive surgical claims funded by Southern Cross Health Insurance (Southern Cross) in the year to 30 June 2021, with the highest individual claim coming to $222,000.

Eight of the top 10 most expensive claims paid by New Zealand’s leading health insurer were for spinal fusions - surgery which permanently connects two or more vertebrae in the spine – with four claims topping a whopping $200,000.

Southern Cross Chief Medical Officer, Stephen Child, said that the expense and volume of these claims demonstrate the value and benefits of health insurance.

“Whether you require expensive surgery such as spinal fusion, or if you are one of thousands needing a more common procedure, such as the removal of a skin lesion, Southern Cross members can have the assurance they are covered for unexpected events.”

The next two most expensive claims were for radical neck dissection surgery, which involves the removal of cancerous tumours, with each claim totalling more than $150,000.

Child said spinal fusion is a highly complex procedure and therefore can be very costly.

“Spinal fusion surgery is a very serious procedure that’s typically performed by an orthopaedic surgeon or a neurosurgeon. Often it involves the implantation of extensive metalware and artificial bone, which results in additional cost and expense.”

Southern Cross is a not-for-profit Friendly Society which operates solely for the benefit of members. For the year ended 30 June 2021, it paid more than three million claims valued at $1.12 billion

When looking at what were the most common claims paid by Southern Cross, the highest by volume was cryotherapy procedures (34,000 individual claims), followed by excisions of skin lesions (31,000) and minor surgery performed by a GP (26,000).

Cryotherapy breaks down skin lesions or skin abnormalities at the site through freezing. A skin excision procedure involves the cutting of abnormal tissue away from healthy tissue.

Colonoscopies, which look for signs of bowel cancer and investigate causes of pain, bleeding or changed bowel habits, were the fourth most commonly-funded procedure, with 23,000 claims paid by Southern Cross.

“Given the high incidence of skin cancer in New Zealand, it isn’t surprising skin lesion removal is one of the most common procedures we fund,” Child said.

Although the individual claim costs can be high, Southern Cross Health Society’s Affiliated Provider programme has helped to dampen rising healthcare costs, achieving more than $220 million of savings for members through the programme since 2012.”

Top 10 most expensive individual claims in FY21

Procedure

Total paid

Spinal Fusion

$222,000

Spinal Fusion

$210,000

Spinal Fusion

$201,000

Spinal Fusion

$200,000

Spinal Fusion

$179,000

Spinal fusion

$175,000

Radical Neck Dissection

$170,000

Radical Neck Dissection

$156,000

Spinal Fusion

$156,000

Spinal Fusion

$153,000

Top 10 procedures by volume in FY21

 

Procedure

Description

Number of procedures funded

Cryotherapy of Skin Lesions

Liquid nitrogen treatment to freeze and destruct an abnormality.

34,000

Excision Skin Lesion

Cutting out abnormal tissue away, usually related to cancer.

31,000

GP minor surgery

N/A

26,000

Colonoscopy

An exam used to detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum.

23,000

Intravitreal injection

An injection or shot of medicine into the eye.

10,000

Nasendoscopy

A test to look at the inside of the nose, the throat (pharynx) and the voice box (larynx).

9,000

Biopsy of Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue

A procedure to remove cells or skin samples from the body for laboratory examination.

9,000

Cataract extraction and insert IOL

Removal of cloudy lens in the eye and replacement with artificial IOL (intraocular) lens.

8,000

Gastroscopy (+/- Biopsy / Polyp)

A procedure to examine the upper part of the digestive system.

7,000

Removal of Teeth

N/A

6,000

In other news

Cigna: Gabe Smith new chief architect

Cigna: David Marquis to become head of data


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

For novelty seekers I commend to you the last item on this list. If you are unsure about the role of digital currencies then there are some excellent backgrounders available at https://www.economist.com/ :

30 Sept 2021 – Law Commission published a supplementary discussion paper on Class Actions and Litigation Funding with submissions closing on 12 November 2021. https://www.lawcom.govt.nz/our-projects/class-actions-and-litigation-funding

29 Sept 2021 - The Treasury published its 2021 Statement on the Long-Term Fiscal Position. https://www.treasury.govt.nz/news-and-events/news/treasury-publishes-2021-statement-long-term-fiscal-position

30 Sept 2021 – Commission for Financial Capability media release noting the 20-year anniversary of “helping Kiwis get their money Sorted”. https://retirement.govt.nz/news/latest-news/20-years-of-helping-kiwis-get-their-money-sorted/

30 Sept 2021 – FMA released the AML/CFT Monitoring Insights Report covering the regulator’s monitoring of the AML/CFT Act over the past three years (1 July 2018 – 30 June 2021). https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/media-releases/fma-steps-up-enforcement-of-anti-money-laundering-breaches/

30 Sept 2021 – RBNZ issued a consultation on the future of money consisting of two issues papers titled “Stewardship and Future of Money” and “Central Bank Digital Currency”, with submissions closing on 6 Dec 2021. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2021/09/reserve-bank-consults-on-the-future-of-money