According to Darren Stevens from Australian website Risk Adviser "While life insurance companies are busy dealing with business as usual imperatives, game-changing social and digital trends are unfolding that stand to turn the industry on its head."
Stevens warns life insurers must prepare their businesses to cater for these trends – not next year or in five years’ time – but right now.
The article lists in detail these trends that are happening right now:
The FMA has launched their refreshed website which now makes it easier for regulated businesses to quickly find the information they need. Visitors to the website will notice a simplified design, plus much-improved navigation and search functionality. The new preference centre enables you to update personal details, select the type of email communications you receive from the FMA and tailor the content we send you to a more personalised level.
Financial Planning website uncovers the truth about whether female investors prefer to work with women advisers. A recent study finds the answer is no. Among women investors who use a financial advisor, the study found, 86% "said that they are equally comfortable working with either men or women financial advisors." As it turned out, 83% of the affluent women surveyed currently work with male financial advisors.
This article by Andy Marshall explains the impact of mental illness on insurance claims and discusses whether depression is being over-diagnosed. In this case the context is medical insurance in Australia. However, it is worth a look as it also covers some of the ground rarely traversed by New Zealand media when they are unhappy that an insurer can discriminate on the basis of mental illness of any kind, including depression. It does have an impact, and although most people with depression will live full lives, others, sadly, will not. Everyone needs to price the cover for that extra risk.
Contrasting expected causes of claims for trauma insurance can be useful in considering what conditions are most important.
Chantal Marr from LSM Insurance Canada discusses the importance of critical illness insurance and the leading causes of claims.
In the table below we compare LSM's figures with QPR's NZ figures. QPR's figures are gender specific as the number of claims for males and females for each of the items below can be significantly different. They are also based on claims incidence for the product, rather than population incidence, that means that the heavy weighting for cancer and heart attack comes down a little relative to other causes because the insured age group is younger.
Marr also covers a list of points clients should be sure are discussed with their adviser, such as, type and duration of cover, illnesses covered and restrictions plus any exclusions.
With the risks of serious injury so high and so much money at stake, an increasing number of talented American college athletes have started to take out disability insurance in case they get injured and lose their shot of making it in the big time.
With injuries being so prevalent in football, it does not come as a surprise to see that most of the college athletes on this list are football players.
The FMA issued a warning in December 2014 about potentially misleading advertising by New Zealand businesses that help to transfer UK pensions to New Zealand. The warning highlights the importance of complying with the "fair dealing" requirements in the FMC Act or the Fair Trading Act.
Documents prepared by Australian bank NAB in August 2014 outline how the bank had the “opportunity to take the lead” in the industry by removing high upfront commissions but decided against it. The documents highlighted the bank’s understanding that the removal of commissions from risk advice could lead to consumers being unwilling to seek insurance advice if they have to pay a fee.
That concern is real, and should be part of any consideration of commission regulation in New Zealand - customer access would be reduced. It may favour vertically integrated sales channels where there is no explicit commission but costs of distribution remain funded from within the product, and the same conflicts of interest remain.
The 2014 white paper, Australians and life insurance: misinformed, misinsured?, identified a deep lack of understanding amongst consumers around the different types of life insurance. Zurich Australia's new app is in response to this research, the app was launched on the 1st of March and is new consumer-facing life insurance app to assist advisers in improving the financial literacy of their clients.
Zurich's head of sales strategies and research for life insurance and investments, Andy Marshall, said technology has been designed to help close the financial literacy gap.
“By improving the extent to which customers understand the advice they have been given, they are more likely to appreciate the value of that advice and the value of the solutions recommended,” Mr Marshall said.
It is Chris Bell's last day as manager of the claims team at Asteron Life today as he leaves to pursue other interests. Many people will know and like Chris Bell's approach to the team, always exuding compassion, competence, and a balance which has made him widely respected. I have heard him talk about the claims process and managing disability claimants back to work - and it is an important and difficult task. He was part of my early career when he managed the underwriting team at Prudential. He will be missed.
A recent survey conducted by software provider Midwinter found 68 per cent of advisers identified robo-advice as an ‘opportunity’, and just 32 per cent of clients expressed the belief that robo-advice posed a threat to their industry.
Advisers also showed a willingness to promote robo-advice to their clients, with 30 per cent indicating “it was important” to tell clients about the technology and 52 per cent suggesting they would let clients know the option existed.
There were 288 survey participants of which 44 per cent were from boutiques/IFAs and 73 per cent had at least four years experience as advice professionals.
Click here to read more on this over on Australian website IFA.
Hank Stern brought this to my attention. It was a campaign in which I had some involvement, although the creative idea was the agency. Although I think they did a great job and there was a lot of awareness the campaign was not very successful and other approaches were used after this.
Partners Life CEO Naomi Ballantyne wrote yesterday announcing the retirement of Chris Coon. I have reproduced her note in full below as it is hard to think of a person who has had a bigger impact on the New Zealand life insurance industry.
"At the age of 72, and after 4 years of being right in the middle of the huge work volumes and pressure that comes from building the fastest growing (and, in our opinion, best) life company in New Zealand, Chris Coon has made the decision that the time has come for him to take a leaf out of brother Richard’s book and start easing towards retirement.
To this end, Chris has now handed over day to day responsibility for Partners Life actuarial functions to Anton Gardiner, who has accordingly been appointed to the role of Partners Life’s Chief Actuary while Chris will now become a part-time actuarial consultant to Partners Life, focused on specific research and analysis projects.
At the same time Chris has decided to retire from his Partners directorships, both to enable the Board to restructure to best meet the requirements of our future capital raising strategies, and to enable Chris to turn his attention to a new international project he is working on with his two sons. His Board resignation will take effect immediately following the Board meeting on 16 March 2015.
From the staff point of view it will be strange not having Chris actively involved with the day to day business any more, but we can all take comfort in the knowledge that through his consultancy, he will still be applying his vast experience and formidable intellect to driving Partners Life to even greater success. And I am equally sure that you will agree that Chris has well and truly earned the right to ‘smell the roses’.
While Chris’ directorship and employment with Partners Life are about to change, what will never change is the role he has played as one of the Founders of Partners Life. Partners Life exists as the successful, vibrant, exciting business it is today as a result of Chris’ vision and passion.
The company will organise a suitable function where staff and directors can say our thanks to Chris in person, however in the meantime please join me in congratulating Chris on not only the success he has helped create for Partners Life, but also for his stellar career in the Life Insurance industry both here and in the UK."
Chris was very good to work with. Like many people I cannot quite believe he is actually 72. More than anything else his cheerful enthusiasm has kept him evergreen.