Accuro has had a price review effective today the 1st of September and here are the increases:
SmartCare + 5%
SmartCare+ + 2%
GP+ Plan + 5%
Specialist+ Plan + 5%
Dental + 5%
Here is the latest press release from Accuro regarding their product changes:
Accuro releases new product enhancements
The latest product enhancements by Accuro Health Insurance continue to build on their strong foundations, by further meeting the needs of New Zealanders and small to medium businesses.
Simplified wording is a key feature across their entire product range.
Accuro CEO, Geoff Annals, wants health insurance to be something everyone can understand. “This move was important for us as most of our members are not in the industry and they need to know what they have cover for, so they can make the most of their policy benefits.
“The general perception of insurance is not as positive as we would like. We are part of the New Zealand community and provide a vital service - it’s important that we use everyday language that makes us accessible to all” Annals said.
SmartCare+ the flagship plan, has received significant enhancements; general surgery and major diagnostic benefits have increased from $300,000 to $500,000 per person per policy year.
As well as this across all of Accuro’s on-sale specialist add-on plans the amount covered has increased to $5,000 per person per policy year.
After receiving feedback from our members we are pleased to announce there is now cover on SmartCare and SmartCare+ for cancer procedure and/or accessories during or within six months after a relevant procedure. This includes wigs, hats, scarfs and mastectomy bras.
This enhancement is to recognise that there is a lot more to a healthy and as hassle-free procedure than just having the bill covered. “Having the extra things like a nice wig and/or a mastectomy bra can make a big difference to people’s self-esteem and wellbeing – something we are very big on”, says Kelleigh Aston, GM Sales & Marketing.
Aston is also proud that annual price increases aren’t above medical inflation. According to actuary, Peter Davies, surgical claim inflation is sitting between 4%-5%.
Even with significant enhancements Accuro was able to keep the annual increase in line with the above figure.
Jenée Tibshraeny has this excellent article on insurance claims declined by car insurers because the driver made mistakes: they took one drink too many, they were restricted drivers, but did not have a properly qualified person with them, and so on. I should make it clear that I am notin favour of drink-driving. I think that people should observe their licence conditions, but I do not think that these should be blanket reasons for declining insurance claims, although blatant, knowing cases, should probably remain excluded.
The fact is, most accidents on the road involve some breach of the law: going too fast, not paying enough attention, failure to give way to the right... you can continue to add to the list. But, at least for now, we pay them. Why? Because we assume that the driver still wishes to avoid the insured contingency - so these are accidental lapses - and financial consequences of an accidental lapse are exactly what the customer is interested in getting insured.
Read the whole article and ask yourself how much worse it would be if the insurance policies had been life insurance, with an unlawful acts exclusion. Link. Fortunately such policies are not common, but several are sold by major brands to thousands of consumers every year in New Zealand.
Sleep quality tends to decline with age. Modern lifestyles are often blamed for poor sleep - but there is definitely some controversy over those ideas. But over recent decades prescriptions for sleeping pills have been rising. One insurance adviser in Auckland says that at least a third of women must declare either anti-depressants or sleeping pills on their application forms. Something is going on, and there are risks:
'Over the longer term, depression and dementia are significant risks, as are worsening anxiety and falls. Dependence brings the problems associated with withdrawal. Associations have also been reported with cancer, pneumonia and other infections.' says Dr Chris Ball in this article.
'For years, the medical community suspected that benzodiazepines and Z drugs were associated with premature mortality. A large UK study confirmed mortality is significantly increased.In 2014, deaths involving benzodiazepines were up 8% from the prior year and totalled 372. This is the highest level since data was collected.'
Clients are sometimes suspicious of all the different types of insurance they are offered. They can find it hard to believe that they really need income protection, or trauma insurance. A great way to help them with that decision is to show them some stats from a trusted third-party.
We got a local actuarial firm to provide us with some tables of risks that we could build into Quotemonster to make it really easy for you to include these in your insurance reports.
As with the pricing and research on Quotemonster we personalise these statistics to the age and gender of the person or people that you have entered into the quote. This makes the information so much more powerful: it isn’t just any number; it is a number relevant to them based on New Zealand experience.
To add a client risks report you need to prepare a quote just like usual – remember this is so we can choose the statistics relevant to them. When you get to the report stage you need to put a tick in the client risks report. Then hit the view report button, and you’re done.
Scroll through the report. Near the end of the document (depending on how many other items you added to the report) you will find this page. Note that there are risks given for each of the main risks you can quote on: death, becoming totally and permanently disabled, suffering a critical illness, and becoming temporarily disabled. We don’t have medical insurance on the list as nearly everyone that lives could claim on it at some point in their working lives.
Now look at the columns. There are risks shown for ‘just you’ which is the risk for just the one client. But the next two columns are more interesting: what is the risk that one out of a couple will suffer one of these problems? That’s higher. It is also the number that is more of a concern to most of the people you are creating reports for. We also show the risk for one out of four business partners to show how the risk grows with the size of the group – ideal for business insurance discussions.
The risk percentage shown is the risk that between the client’s current age and age 65 they will experience the problem – death or disability for example.
There are some oddities we are often asked about. Why does a male smoker have a slightly lower working-life risk of temporary disability? That’s because of the higher numbers of early deaths. Anyway. Do use the client risks report and see how it can help you discuss risks with your clients and hopefully get them to extend the range of cover that they buy. We hope it will also get them to buy cover for their partners and business partners.
We have been meeting with advisers and reviewing the needs analysis Beta test with them. If you have used the needs analysis tool on Quotemonster please drop us a line and ask to join one of our focus groups - so we can make the tool better and better. We have already learned a lot from the advisers we have met so far. Version two is live and we're working on version three.
Looking at some recent quote data we have noticed that sums insured are not tracking up in proportion to incomes. In fact, nothing like. This phenomenon has been noted before: it was picked up in the Massey research into insurance levels conducted about five years ago.
This is what we mean: for a couple with younger children where the average (mean) sum insured for life for an income of about $50,000 p.a. is about $510,000 the mean for those with incomes greater than $103,000 (more than double) is only about $830,000. It varies somewhat according to household composition.
But seeing it in the data from adviser quotes made me look harder at it – and wonder at the implications for needs analysis. There may be ways to change how you arrive at your ‘ideal’ or ‘recommended’ cover amounts that may help to nudge the cover values up.
The first is that the peer group for life insurance sales may cross income boundaries – meaning that people with higher incomes are averaging down the amounts of cover they think about because they are including lower income friends in their comparative set. Unlike, say, the market for cars, it is not obvious what ‘people like us’ buy in the way of insurance. If the insurance industry managed to make insurance an aspirational good which gets seen or talked about then this problem would disappear.
The second is that basing your ‘ideal’ or ‘recommended’ cover amounts heavily on income-based measures will widen the gap between your recommendation and the cover amounts likely to be eventually selected – maybe creating a ‘shock’ when you discuss it with them.
The third is that you may be better off building up recommended sums insured with fixed cost components rather than using income-based measures. Focusing on clearing debts, providing education funds, funeral expenses, and bequests should be added and agreed before then adding an income-based measure for the balance of the cover recommendation.
As we are now working on version three of the needs analysis in Quotemonster, if you are interested in this area please contact us.
Scoop states'The AIA Healthy Kids Challenge uses leading NZ athletes to inspire, motivate and educate primary school children and their parents to lead healthier lives. International Rugby winger Cory Jane is getting behind the Challenge. Launched by AIA Insurance New Zealand, the five-week programme aims to inspire 15,000 primary school children to be active and eat well – all while having fun and learning.' Read more here.
Tom Hartmann from the Commission for Financial Capability has written this article for the NZ Herald. A focus group of IFA members put together by the FMA discussed the things they do for their clients to ensure they are going to get a good result, including instilling confidence, pushing them out of comfort zones, spreading risk, and more.
According to this article on nbr.co.nz nib has increased its New Zealand customer base to 212,497 since buying OnePath's medical insurance book. The company has said "New Zealand continues to deliver on the targets set when we acquired the business,"
"For the 2017 financial year and beyond we expect profitability to further improve through organic growth and increased scale."
This article on Stuff.co.nz describes one lady's story of how her travel insurance will not pay out as the insurer is claiming the pneumonia she is suffering from in Malaysia is linked to a pre-existing condition, COPD. Without wishing to comment on this particular unfortunate circumstance it is worth reflecting that just because your own doctor, who has a particular desire to take care of you, has a particular view of a condition that doesn't mean that view will be shared by everyone. Insurance advice can help.
Here is a link to the latest Quotemonster newsletter 'Supercharge your sales process'. It describes how to create all the cool components of a great risk report now available from Quality Product Research. To receive it directly you must have a Quotemonster account with a valid email address.
Wealthmanagement.com has this article - It is always a priority to operate in your client's best interests but are the clients you are talking to fitting into your business model too. While, FinanicalAdvisorIQ.com has this article titled 'FAs Should Make Sure Their Clients Fit Them Too'.
Using Quotemonster you can develop some great information for your insurance report. Each part of our insurance data is designed to help you connect to the customer somehow. For example - price comparison, because customers like to see you quote the market. They want to see that you have checked out the policy differences so they don’t have to. If you tell them they have 25% risk that one of them will suffer a critical illness that helps them decide whether or not to buy.
You might not think the underwriting requirements report helps you sell, but it does. Some people love surprises, but discovering that you need to have blood drawn is unlikely to be a favourite. Some people just don’t like needles, but feel embarrassed, and won’t tell you. There’s a customer that will leave wanting the product, but may not buy, and may not even tell you why. Of course, most people are perfectly happy with whatever the process is, so long as they aren’t sprung with a whole series of extra demands which take up their valuable time.
So preparing the underwriting report is about helping the client understand what needs to happen to put the cover in place. Sometimes they may make choices to reduce the scope of tests required, and that’s okay, most of the time they will be happy with what you recommend and glad to know that you are going to take care of the whole process for them, and glad that you have shown them what the process is going to require.
On Quotemonster, to find underwriting requirements you need to prepare a quote just like usual. This is vital as underwriting requirements vary according to client data, the policies and sums insured selected. Set up the client, or open an existing client, choose your benefits, and then hit next to move to the price comparison chart.
When you are at the comparison page you will notice a row of tabs. The first lets you download brochures and policy documents. The price comparison you will be familiar with. The research tab shows a comparison of up to fourteen products at once. Next is head to head. Then you see the underwriting tab.
If you know the client’s body mass index (BMI) then you can enter it here. If you don’t, then leave it with the default (which is set to the upper end of ‘normal’). If you want to know how to calculate BMI click on the button next to the field. It’s straightforward.
When you have entered these details click this button to get your report. You can view this on screen and later you can add it to your Quotemonster report. The requirements are split into groups. For example, there is a group for blood tests, another for a physical exam, and a different group again for a fasting test. Each of these represents an ‘activity’ for the client, and should therefore be mentioned in your implementation plan. Also, it is worth noting that the requirements can vary considerably for high sums insured. This is especially common for cases involving business insurance and higher income protection amounts.
Insurer commission records are a poor guide to actual financial adviser behaviour - but they remain the best place to start. The FMA is following up its research based on lapse rates and new business records with requests directly to advisers with higher lapse rates. This is a valuable exercise and it is already exposing some interesting findings. Take these two:
The fact that a policy lapsed while the computer records at a life company showed a given person as the servicing adviser does not necessarily mean that adviser gave an advice on termination. That adviser may not have been receiving any commission, may never have received the initial commission, and may not in fact own the right to communicate with that client. They may not even own the client records. Although many will, these situations do occur, and cast a sharp light on the structure of the current Financial Advisers Act. The Act makes the individual adviser responsible for their advice, and yet a company may have so much control over the process - and the remuneration for the business - and yet have little or no responsibility for the advice. Ideally this anomaly will be addressed in the drafting work for the new law and subsequent regulations.
On the other hand there will be some advisers that may find the request for information hard to answer. Poor records will be exposed. Although as RFAs they do not have an explicit record keeping responsibility it will be interesting to see how the FMA and RFAs approach the question of a lack of records. In a no-advice sales context records can be thin, but in a situation where a person was supposed to be giving advice it does seem a failure of the design of the law that there is no requirement to keep records. The new law appears set to address this gap.