Lgal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

23 Sept 2021 – First Parliamentary reading of the Taxation (Annual Rates for 2021-22, GST, and Remedial Matters) Bill completed, with referral to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_115767/taxation-annual-rates-for-2021-22-gst-and-remedial-matters

24 Sept 2021 - MBIE issued advice that the Responsible Lending Code has been updated to reflect the revised start date of 1 December 2021, while noting that Chapter 12 of the Code continues to come into force on 1 February 2022. https://www.mbie.govt.nz/assets/responsible-lending-code.pdf


FMA identify poor value product, and more daily news

The FMA released their findings on the value of credit card repayment insurance (CCRI). The FMA has concluded that CCRI is a poor value product for all customers. As a result of the findings, the FMA is now urging over 200,000 New Zealanders to evaluate if they still need this insurance. The conclusion was based on factors including that there is a limited level of underwriting completed and that customer’s medical and occupational circumstances aren’t assessed. Additionally, the FMA found:

  • Providers’ insufficiently checked customers’ suitability for CCRI, failed to take account of individual circumstances and relied on customers ‘self-assessment’ of their suitability
  • Providers had poor communications with CCRI customers
  • Consumer understanding of CCRI’s features and benefits was poor, with some not realising it was optional
  • Providers revealed a number of processes, systems and administrative failings, including incorrect premium charging
  • CCRI benefits reduced significantly when a consumer reached age 65, with many of the benefits - the policy definitions which can trigger a claim - no longer applicable, yet consumers premiums were not decreased to reflect this.

Click here to read more

“The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) - Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko - is urging an estimated 200,000 New Zealanders who have credit card repayment insurance (CCRI) to check if they still need the product, after a review found it to be poor value.

CCRI is a form of insurance which covers some, or all, of a customer’s outstanding credit card repayments in certain circumstances, including in the event of a customer’s bankruptcy, redundancy, injury, illness or death.

The FMA review, published today, has confirmed that CCRI is a poor value product for customers.

This is based on several factors including the limited level of underwriting completed by providers when they issue a CCRI policy. The underwriting process involves an assessment and calculation of the amount of risk the insurer is taking on for the person buying insurance. With the CCRI product, providers do not assess a customer’s medical and occupational circumstances. These factors mean numerous exclusions and prescriptive conditions are applied when someone makes a claim on the policy, so customers may not receive the benefits they expect.

The FMA report also found providers treated CCRI as a low-touch product, with customers receiving little communication or engagement. Therefore, many customers did not make claims. Because claims are being declined due to numerous exclusions or customers simply not making claims, this has resulted in providers experiencing low claims loss ratios and accruing significant  profits. The amount paid out in claims to customers is low compared to the insurance premium collected by providers.

The loss ratio for CCRI was reported as low as 10%, meaning around 10c is paid in claims for every $1 received in premiums. This compares, on average, to loss ratios of 80% for health insurers and 47% for life insurers.

CCRI withdrawn but still earning $20 million

The Joint Reserve Bank of New Zealand and FMA report into conduct and culture of the life insurance industry highlighted concerns about CCRI in 2019 and since then insurers have stopped selling it to new customers. The FMA remained focused on this product given an estimated 200,000 New Zealanders still hold in-force policies, with insurers earning around $20 million in premiums annually.

“We found underwriters and distributors are not displaying sufficient levels of customer care in their suitability assessments and communications with customers,” the report said. Product suitability assessments are a critical part of customer care, where a customer’s personal circumstances should be checked to ensure the product meets their needs and financial position.

James Greig, FMA Director of Supervision, said: “New Zealanders should check if they have CCRI and ask themselves whether they still need it. We encourage customers to contact their provider to check if this product is still suitable for them. Some providers indicated their sales process for CCRI had involved customers ‘self-assessing’ whether the product was right for them, based on product terms and conditions, and disclosure documents. This is unacceptable.”

Mr Greig noted the Financial Markets (Conduct of Institutions) Amendment Bill before Parliament will introduce obligations and duties for insurers to put customers first. “Insurers need to focus on managing conduct risk to ensure customers’ interests are prioritised,” he said. “This is an essential requirement of the new legislation, so insurers need to invest in the systems and processes to meet these obligations and show they are putting customers’ first.”

The FMA found:

  • Providers’ insufficiently checked customers’ suitability for CCRI, failed to take account of individual circumstances and relied on customers ‘self-assessment’ of their suitability
  • Providers had poor communications with CCRI customers
  • Consumer understanding of CCRI’s features and benefits was poor, with some not realising it was optional
  • Providers revealed a number of processes, systems and administrative failings, including incorrect premium charging
  • CCRI benefits reduced significantly when a consumer reached age 65, with many of the benefits - the policy definitions which can trigger a claim - no longer applicable, yet consumers premiums were not decreased to reflect this.

Inquiries ongoing, remediation underway

The issues uncovered in this review are concerning and the FMA’s inquiries remain ongoing.

Some providers have remediated, or are remediating, customers affected by any of these issues. The FMA will continue to engage with providers to ensure this activity progresses and is prioritised.

The review was carried out to better understand the suitability of CCRI for consumers and followed the 2019 Life Insurer Conduct and Culture review, which found certain insurance products provided poor value.

Sixteen underwriters and distributors participated in the review, which involved gathering qualitative and quantitative data between October – December 2020. This included gross written premium, claims ratios, dates CCRI was offered, suitability of processes, product reviews and any known issues.

The FMA received 13 consolidated responses from underwriters and distributors, with some of them related entities or part of a parent organisation.”

In other news

Next week is Mental Health Awareness Week

FMA: FSC Connect: Financial Advice and Advisers in Focus

From Good returns: [OBITUARY] Highly respected adviser passes on


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

23 Sept 2021 – RBNZ advised that it will proceed with its proposal to tighten Loan-to-Value Ratio (LVR) restrictions on lending to owner-occupiers to reduce risky mortgage lending from 1 November 2021. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2021/09/reserve-bank-tightens-lvr-restrictions

23 Sept 2021 – FMA media release advising that credit card repayment insurance is a poor value product, urging customers to check policies. https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/media-releases/credit-card-repayment-insurance-a-poor-value-product-customers-urged-to-check-policies/


Industry awards finalists revealed, and more daily news

The Life Insurance Company of the Year award finalists for the 9th Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance awards were recently announced. Finalists include AIA, Asteron Life, and Fidelity Life. Additionally, Amy Cavanaugh, Pinnacle Life General Manager Operations and Len Elikhis, AIA Chief Officer - Product and Vitality are among the finalists for Young Insurance Professional of the Year award. Click here to read more

“The top New Zealand insurers will have their time to shine at the upcoming awards hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF).

This year will mark the 9th year of the awards that aim to "...unite all sectors of insurance for a celebration of excellence, professionalism and community".

The finalists were announced this week with Fidelity Life up against Asteron Life and AIA NZ for the top life insurer award.

The 2019 awards also saw Fidelity Life's Ben Holloway win the gong for the young insurance professional of the year.

This year, Pinnacle Life's Amy Cavanaugh and AIA NZ's Len Elikhis are two of seven young professionals nominated for the award.

"This year’s awards are centred around 2020, celebrating how our industry has supported the customer, community, and its people," the ANZIIF says.

The judging panel will explore how organisations or individuals have contributed to professionalism in the insurance industry and how they have successfully addressed issues by implementing innovative change.

The ANZIIF expects more than 400 of the industry’s top professionals spanning the breadth of New Zealand insurance to attend the awards being held at the Cordis in Auckland on Wednesday, November 17.

2021 ANZIIF New Zealand Insurance Industry Awards finalists:

Life insurance company of the year:
- AIA New Zealand
- Asteron Life
- Fidelity Life

Insurance learning programme of the year:
- AA Insurance
- AIG New Zealand

Young insurance professional of the year:
- Stephen Cantwell, FMG
- Amy Cavanaugh, Pinnacle Life
- Len Elikhis, AIA New Zealand
- Joseph Fitzgerald, Wotton + Kearney
- Steph Kelly, FMG
- Daniel Mathieson, Sherpa
- Megan Wolak, Delta Insurance

ANZIIF lifetime achievement award: Announced on the night”

Amy Cavanaugh:

Lo-amy-clr

Len Elikhis:

Aia-elt-len-elikhis

 

In other news

From Good returns: Life cover - the hard sell for Kiwi insurers

Swiss Re: How much more life insurance needs to be sold

From Good returns: Full licensing - what does it look like?


AIA announce new research project, and more daily news

AIA NZ has announced that it will be sponsoring an independent research project, NZ Adviser Wellbeing Research. The project aims to understand the mental health and overall wellbeing of advisers. AIA is working with Australian researchers Dr Adam Fraser and Dr John Molineux who were both part of a similar study conducted in Australia earlier in the year. The study will explore the current mental health of New Zealand advisers, the habits and attitudes of advisers with positive mental wellbeing as well as the mindsets and behaviours necessary to manage market disruptions. Chief Partnership Insurance Officer Sam Tremethick has noted that AIA is looking to understand the key challenges experienced by advisers. Advisers looking participate can click here.

 

“AIA NZ is sponsoring an independent research project to better understand the mental health and wellbeing of financial advisers in New Zealand.

The project, called the ‘NZ Adviser Wellbeing Research’, aims to understand the current state of mental health of NZ financial advisers, explore the habits and attitudes of those advisers who are currently experiencing positive mental wellbeing, and understand the mindsets and behaviours needed to evolve and manage significant market disruptions.

 

Sam Tremethick, Chief Partnership Insurance Officer AIA NZ, says “We’re looking to undertake a ‘temperature check’ on how advisers are going here in NZ. We know there has been a lot of change in recent times, and this research will seek to understand the key challenges experienced by financial advisers locally, particularly in light of increased regulation, operating in a global pandemic and changing client needs.”

AIA NZ is working with Sydney-based researchers Dr Adam Fraser, founder of The e-lab, and Dr John Molineux who specialise in producing reports of this nature. The pair undertook a similar research project earlier this year in Australia, which was a first-of-its-kind study into Australian financial adviser wellbeing.  Sponsored by AIA Australia, key findings showed poor levels of mental and physical health among financial advisers including

·               73% of respondents had high levels of burnout from stress

·               67% had experienced some level of depression

·               61% had poor sleep due to stress. 

“At AIA NZ we’re committed to helping people live healthier, longer, better lives, and we want to understand how we can better support the NZ adviser market to understand and improve their own health and wellbeing,” Sam says. 

The research findings will highlight future opportunities and inform practical applications for improving wellbeing for NZ advisers, and will be shared widely to benefit the broader industry.
Take part and share your views! Please click the link to take part in the NZ Adviser Wellbeing Research

 

The NZ Adviser Wellbeing Research is open until 10 October 2021 to all financial advisers in New Zealand, not just those involved in the life insurance business. It is not a requirement to have previously placed business with AIA NZ.

 

To encourage participation and show our appreciation, AIA NZ will donate $10 to the Mental Health Foundation for every NZ Adviser Wellbeing survey response received (up to $2,500). Please share your views today; these findings will benefit our industry as a whole, and offer valuable insights into current states of adviser mental wellbeing,” Sam says.  ”

 

In other news

Cigna: Specific Injury short-form application is now available for adding to existing business. The form can be accessed on Adviser Hub.

Cigna: Cigna Live remains postponed until further notice

Partners Life: second educational module: Policy Ownership has been released

Fidelity Life: underwriting and medical forms are now on Adviser hub

Fidelity Life: signatures can be drawn straight on editable forms using a touch screen or inserted as an image

Fidelity Life: application forms are being updated so they can be filled in and signed by customers at home

Fidelity Life: if advisers need to contact Fidelity Life to update anything regarding applications advisers will need to cc the customer or attach their original email for records. This includes:Disclosing medical history, financial detail, occupational or even pastimes. Any changes to their application, for instance a change in sum insured, wait period or benefit period.Start date confirmations and similar notifications

 

 


QPR: group life and health product research

Many advisers come across clients who have cover with a major employer group scheme and would like to be able to access research to support recommendations to either retain, replace, or dispose of this cover. "Wrap-around cover" with very high excess levels so that benefits such as good non-Pharmac drugs coverage can be offered is a common component of advice - but understanding what is actually covered already is a key part of making any effective recommendation. As many of these groups have terms and conditions specific to them, or are at least based on a different 'foundation' product to current retail offers, it is not simply a matter of looking at current retail policies. Therefore, we are often asked if we compare group life and health insurance on Quotemonster as part of the quality product research service. QPR does not, although at times Chatswood does, offer bespoke comparison to larger adviser groups and insurers - this is not an economic solution for most advisers. However, we are now defining the scope of work to add group life and health comparison to the site. If you would like a say in how the new service works we would be delighted to hear from you. In particular we would like to know what the most common group schemes you come across are and which you would most like us to provide research on. Please send your comments to either Treena Jordan, Doreen Dutt, or me.


New Head to Head Detailed Reports

With most of the country now out of level 4 lock-down other than us living in Auckland, I hope you’ve managed to get outside and enjoy the freedom of level 2. 

I am super proud of the team here at Quotemonster, even under the challenging conditions of level 4 lockdown we are excited to announce our next exciting new Quotemonster report.

The new Head-to-Head report has been designed to drill down into the detail, providing you another great tool to help educate customers about any criteria within the policy wording that could have an impact at claim time.  The new report provides you the sub-item detail. Sub-items are used to determine the impact from restrictive criteria within the policy wording.

In the example used below, the criteria for the cancer condition under insurer 1 is less that insurer 2:

Cancer

We love getting your feedback whether it’s good or bad. Please email or call either me, Doreen or Kelly what you think of our latest release. We have more exciting enhancements due to go live over the next month adding even more value and reasons to use Quotemonster.

The first training session is next Wednesday 22 September from 11.00am - 12.00, these sessions will cover the new detailed head to head reports, plus where to find the great Heatmap and Benefit Overview reports too.

Kia Kaha from the Quotemonster Team.


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

16 Sept 2021 – ASIC in Australia released additional information for advice licensees and financial advisers who are authorised representatives to help them prepare for the commencement of the design and distribution obligations on 5 October 2021. https://asic.gov.au/about-asic/news-centre/news-items/what-the-financial-advice-industry-needs-to-know-about-the-design-and-distribution-obligations/

17 Sept 2021 - Parliament's Finance and Expenditure Committee released submissions made to the inquiry into the current and future nature, impact, and risks of cryptocurrencies. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/submissions-and-advice/all?custom=INQ_111968


FYI: Southern Cross Plan Comparison

Southern Cross offers a multitude of direct and adviser products. On Quotemonster we currently only offer the following products, however are looking to include more in future:

  • Wellbeing 1 (WB1)
  • Wellbeing 2 (by choosing WB1 and selecting Specialists and Tests as included we move to Wellbeing 2)
  • Wellbeing (either 1 or 2) + Chemotherapy 100
  • Wellbeing (either 1 or 2) + Chemotherapy 300

In order to include the Cancer Cover Plus upgrades - Chemo 100 and Chemo 300, you can do so by selecting the product in your "Settings" screen (as per our screenshot below)

SX

If you wish to compare some of the benefits within a Southern Cross product, here is a Plan Comparison Chart that provides a general idea.

Happy Crunching!


Investment News NZ: "Australia product regs offer bitter pre-taste of COFI"

Investment News NZ, a service run by respected journalist David Chaplin, describes ASIC's new Design and Distribution Obligations (DDOs) as offering a bitter pre-taste of COFI" - referring to New Zealand's draft Financial Markets (Conduct of Institutions) Amendment Bill. Investment News quotes a range of sources in Australia as closing products rather than meeting the additional costs and risks of the new compliance obligations:

"ASIC lists three core obligations for the various parties involved in the financial product chain, requiring:

  • issuers to design products in synch with the “likely objectives, financial situation and needs” of targeted end consumers;
  • issuers and distributors to take “reasonable steps” to ensure products only reach the defined client market; and,
  • issuers to monitor “consumer outcomes” and review products in light of the DDO end game."

Only the most cynical and short-term thinking generates products that would breach the first obligation. Occasionally time can cause a product to drift from being an effective solution to being considerably less effective - and those products should, of course, be cut from any offered range. So on this point most product providers would agree with the regulator and also no incur any meaningful marginal cost if they already have a professional product management function.

But it is a rare piece of new law or regulation which comes with no trade-offs. Costs begin to emerge when you consider the possibilities under the second two obligations. A product provider could offer a product to distributors and consumers with little concern for how they used it. In practice most still preferred to offer more warnings and guidance the more exotic or risky a product became. A few did not, or were happy to play down risks. It seems that in every market cycle in the investment sector this occurs. In life and health insurance we have always known that a few (we hope, very few) clients, have treated insurance as a kind of lotto ticket. In some cases a rare 'bad apple' adviser has not tried to dissuade them much, of if they have tried, the client has simply bought online or direct.The tricky part is in knowing what 'reasonable steps' are under new regulations and how to meet them. Costs are inevitably added. Some rarely used, yet useful, products will be deemed too difficult or too risky to use.

The toughest - and perhaps the costliest - rule is to monitor consumer outcomes. This requires a lot of thought about what represents a good outcome, how the product supports that, and monitoring which may (although it does not have to) inject insurer compliance requirements deeper into intermediated adviser-client processes such as annual reviews. How frequently and how carefully this has to be done could describe a big range of possible outcomes. Different companies will take different approaches. Clients may balk at some of them - it seems inevitable that some advisers will. There is a risk that some adviser - client processes are so defined by compliance that differentiation becomes impossible. Worse, clients may simply shrug and walk away from more complex products and advised engagements in favour of less effective, direct, engagements. We believe that advice can make a difference. The more complex a client's situation the bigger that difference can be.

The crucial lesson from this point is not to try and avoid the requirements but for all parties - insurers, advisers, and regulators, especially regulators, to engage creatively, flexibly, and with an open mind on compliance technology, to try to reduce the costs and maximise the benefits. We all say we will, but it does take real effort not to slip into dreary functional norms.

 

 


FYI: Asteron Life - Trauma Reinstatement replaces Continuous Trauma

Following on from our post on the release of Database V14.5 – a significant change we have made to Quotemonster is replacing Asteron's Continuous Trauma with Trauma Reinstatement for the Trauma Buyback option.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1-1024x144.png
 

This will mean that you can no longer quote Continuous Trauma however we are exploring options on how to integrate both in future. To learn more about Asteron's Trauma product please click here. Please free to email us on info@quotemonster.co.nz if you have any questions or comments.

Happy Crunching!

 
 

BBC Series: 100 women masterclass on money

A great episode in the 100 women series focused on Money. You don't have to be a woman to enjoy it and get value from it. Anyone who expects to have women as clients to finds this market important - and I definitely do - may get value from the solid run through many of the basic issues from the perspective of the three experts interviewed:

 


Closing the protection gap and more daily news

Swiss Re yesterday published the results of a survey undertaken this year to understand New Zealanders' attitudes and behaviours towards life insurance:

The inaugural report, Closing New Zealand's mortality protection gap, estimates that the mortality protection gap for New Zealand households – the gap between households' financial resources and the protection they need to maintain their living standard in the event of the death of a primary earner – at USD 435 billion (NZD 670 billion) as of 2020. 

The findings show that this gap is projected to widen to more than USD 500 billion (>NZD 750 billion) within the next 10 years, in part due to rising consumption and household debt levels. As an industry, there is a need to act now.

The current COVID-19 crisis has increased the sense of risk and insecurity. More than 80% of those surveyed in New Zealand believe that losing the income of the primary earner will affect their family significantly. This is slightly higher than the 72% of all advanced Asia Pacific markets Swiss Re surveyed prior to COVID-19.

Swiss Re's findings show almost two thirds of households in New Zealand have some form of mortality protection gap. About a fifth of households have just 10% or less of the financial resources required to cover their protection needs; in other words, a protection gap of 90%.

The report also examines how to close the gap in New Zealand. Swiss Re estimates that in the decade to 2030, this could be achieved with an additional USD 1.5 billion (NZD 2.3 billion) of life premiums every year. Yet only 39% of consumers reported owning a life insurance policy, and survey responses find that buying life cover is not their default option for increasing security.

You can download the report here:  Closing the mortality protection gap in New Zealand | Swiss Re

Other daily news:

AIA Vitality is offering 1,000 points for members to get their Covid-19 vaccine

Montoux, sellers of decision science software, is running a seminar on engaging long-term care insurance clients

nib: are joining Protecht, sellers of risk management software, for a seminar on culture and conduct risk management.

Partners Life: an interview with Life Kris Ballantyne and Mark Leishman discussing financial literacy can be found here:


Quality Product Research: How do we model the package weightings and why?

A package should reflect the relative value of different types of insurance protection to the person buying that cover. We put weightings on packages because, for example, a package of just life and trauma is less comprehensive than a package of life, trauma, mortgage protection, and medical.

A summary of the weightings is shown below:

Prdouct new

Zoom in on the income and mortgage elements for a moment. That was raised by several advisers recently who feel that mortgage cover is the first element of temporary disability protection put in force. Market practice backs this up - quoting by advisers in Quotemonster shows that more mortgage protection is now quoted than income protection. So how were we to revise the package breakdown? We took the view that of the 45% of the package value assigned to MP and IP combined, the scores should reflect the relative weights when MP and IP are typically included in a plan together. MP often covers the first 40% of income insured and IP tops that up to about 75%. Clearly it can vary according to rules specific to each company and products used, but broadly this gives a new weighting as follows:

MP         25%

IP           20%

Total      45% of package value

We value and appreciate all the feedback coming through! If you have any questions or comments please email them through to info@quotemonster.co.nz


FYI: How to quote Partners Life Income and Expenses or Moderate Trauma Cover

We have recently added Partners Life Income & Expenses and Moderate Trauma to our product selection on Quotemonster.

To learn more about these please click on the product - Income and Expenses or Moderate Trauma

To quote these products on our platform, select them in your “Settings” as per our screenshots below:

Moderat

IE

Please free to email us on info@quotemonster.co.nz if you have any questions or comments.

Happy Crunching!


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

13 Sept 2021 - RBNZ Over September RB are conducting a quantitative impact assessment exercise with selected insurers, to help understand the capital impacts of the draft interim solvency standard. They have published a template for feedback. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/regulation-and-supervision/insurers/consultations-and-policy-development-for-insurers/active-policy-development/review-of-the-insurance-solvency-standards

14 Sept 2021 – FMA stories released comment from Derek Grantham titled “The Goldilocks dilemma (or how to choose the FAP full licence class that’s just right).” https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/fma-stories/the-goldilocks-how-to-choose-the-fap-full-licence-class-thats-just-right/

14 Sept 2021 - MBIE sought submissions on whether to reissue the Addendum to the Responsible Lending Code, which elaborates on and offers 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. Submissions close on 22 Sept 2021. https://www.mbie.govt.nz/have-your-say/addendum-to-the-responsible-lending-code-covid-19

14 Sept 2021 – Commerce Amendment Bill reported back to Parliament from the Select Committee. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_108304/commerce-amendment-bill

15 Sept 2021 – FMA media release advised that the FMA has seen a spike in investment scam complaints, issuing more warnings, since start of COVID-19. https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/media-releases/fma-sees-spike-in-investment-scam-complaints/

15 Sept 2021 – Privacy Commissioner issued a compliance notice to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, triggered by a cyber-attack in December 2020.

https://privacy.org.nz/publications/statements-media-releases/compliance-notice-issued-to-reserve-bank-of-new-zealand-following-cyber-attack/

https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2021/09/privacy-commissioner-issues-first-compliance-notice-to-reserve-bank-of-new-zealand

 


CLSAP NZ ordered to pay $770,000, and more daily news

The details of a judgment in a case brought by the FMA highlight the importance of good governance and director education. In the details below I draw your attention particularly to the comments by the judge in the last five paragraphs in the quoted section below.

CLSAP Premium New Zealand Limited, formerly known as KVB Kunlun, has been ordered by the FMA to pay $770,000 for anti-money laundering breaches under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act. The FMA made a case in the Auckland High Court in June claiming that CLSAP NZ didn’t comply with its obligations under the AML/CFT Act between April 2015 and November 2018. The FMA’s case was focused on transactions undertaken by 10 CLSAP NZ customers. The FMA and CLSAP NZ filed an agreed statement of facts where CLSAP NZ admitted:

  • failures to conduct enhanced customer due diligence in relation to 12 transactions;
  • failure to conduct customer due diligence in relation to one customer;
  • failures to terminate existing business relationships when customer due diligence could not be completed;
  • failures to report suspicious transactions / activity on nine occasions; and
  • failure to keep records as required under the AML/CFT Act

“CLSA Premium New Zealand Limited (CLSAP NZ) has been ordered to pay a total pecuniary penalty of $770,000 for breaches of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act, following proceedings brought by the Financial Markets Authority – Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko (FMA).

The FMA filed proceedings in June 2020, in the Auckland High Court, alleging CLSAP NZ failed to comply with its obligations under the AML/CFT Act between April 2015 and November 2018. These were the first court proceedings brought by the FMA under the AML/CFT Act.

In a judgment determining the penalty, Justice Edwards noted CLSAP NZ’s failure to obtain any evidence of source of wealth or source of funds for some of the transactions where enhanced customer due diligence was required and “the inadequate information obtained when it was sought, is particularly concerning.”

The Judge said although CLSAP NZ had an AML/CFT programme, policies, and dedicated compliance staff, the mitigating effect of those features on the penalty  was undermined by several factors:

CLSAP NZ was warned by the FMA about its substandard AML/CFT programme in 2014 and, despite improvements, the FMA identified further issues in 2018

CLSAP NZ’s executive directors interfered with compliance, including by suspending information collected on source of wealth/funds in 2017, and one director vouching for a customer’s source of wealth/funds

Two CLSAP NZ compliance officers resigning over the relevant period due to disagreements with CLSAP NZ directors, with one director saying a “bendier” compliance officer was required

When one customer refused to provide information sought, CLSAP NZ was willing to accept inadequate information, including objectively suspicious information, to retain business.”

Click here to read more

In other news

Cigna: New customers to receive two months of free cover

Cigna: Existing customers that increase their level of insurance will receive the first two months of increased cover at no additional cost

Cigna: financial advisers will receive twice the servicing commission for two months for all new business and increases sold during the campaign period

FMA: Samantha Barrass appointed as new FMA CEO

FMA: FMA has said that they will take a ‘no-action’ approach when market participant breaches, or expects to breach, a regulatory obligation and seeks relief from the FMA

Financial Advice: Economic Update from Tony Alexander

Financial Advice: Toolkit for FAP Directors

Financial Advice: Financial Advice NZ 2021 Awards now open


Nadine Tereora to leave Partners Life

The media release from AA "...announces new CEO to guide next stage of journey..." at 9am this morning and that new CEO is Nadine Tereora, most recently Chief Operating Officer at Partners Life Limited.Congratulations to Nadine on the appointment. AA is one of the largest and most trusted organisations in the country. There are many brand-promise similarities between AA's service and insurance and much of AA's operations concerns financial services as well.

More details in the release below:

AA announces new CEO to guide next stage of journey

The Board of New Zealand’s Automobile Association is delighted to announce that Nadine Tereora has been appointed as its new CEO from February next year.

The appointment follows current CEO Brian Gibbon’s decision to retire in January 2022 after 30 years leading the AA as the only CEO it has known, and the ten years prior as CEO of the Wellington (Central) Automobile Association which he joined in 1982.

Association President Gary Stocker said Nadine was clearly the best candidate to take the AA on the next stage of its journey.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Nadine will be joining us as CEO. Her leadership experience in the financial services industry is extensive and varied, making her one of the leading and most innovative executives in the sector. We have worked with her before when she was CEO at Asteron Life, our joint venture partner on AA Life Insurance, and have held her in high esteem for many years.

“More importantly, Nadine is an exceptional people leader. She intuitively understands the importance of the service culture which is at the heart of the AA, and has a natural drive towards customer innovation. She understands that we are here to serve our Members, and for the greater public good,” Gary said.   

Nadine has most recently been the Chief Operating Officer of Partners Life, the second-largest insurance company in New Zealand, and assumed the role after four years as the CEO of Fidelity Life from 2016 to 2020, during which time she played a central role in securing a $100m cornerstone investment by the New Zealand Super Fund to drive innovation and growth.

Nadine’s 2014 appointment to Asteron Life, where she served as CEO and Executive General Manager, distinguished her as the first female CEO of a Suncorp Group company, just as she will also be the AA’s first female CEO.

Under Nadine’s leadership both Asteron Life and Fidelity Life won numerous top industry awards, including Fidelity Life being named Life Insurance Company of the Year at the ANZIIF Awards, in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and the same award for Asteron Life in 2014/15.

She has been a Financial Services Council Board Member since October 2016, serving as Chair of the Life Insurance Committee, and a founding member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

“What is fantastic is that Nadine is clear that she wants to honour what’s special about the AA, and feels privileged to lead the Association into a new era. Brian is very supportive of this changing of the guard, and having worked so closely with Nadine, knows how well her expertise and personality will fit the organisation and its aspirations, ensuring a smooth transition ahead. At this time I would also like to once more pay tribute to Brian who has been such an inspirational leader to us all over the past four decades.  

“Brian has achieved an immense number of milestones such as turning a Membership base of 600,000 into 1.8 million Members, while building an Association regarded as one of the most successful in the world. Its activities are incredibly diverse, offering roadside assistance to more than 500,000 Members each year, providing driver licensing services nationwide on behalf of Waka Kotahi, and supplying all forms of Insurance to Members. The Association also offers financial services, tourism services, expert advice at AA Auto Centres nationwide and driver training. This has all been achieved without increasing the annual Membership fee for 30 years, and most Members receive more in benefits and discounts than the cost of the subscription,” Gary added.

Brian will continue as CEO until the end of January 2022 and then retire to spend more time with his family, but is expected to continue his role with the FIA, where he has been President of the Senate since 2017.

Nadine Tereora

 


Legal and regulatory review for the life and health insurance sector

13 Sept 2021 – FMA announced the appointment of experienced international regulator Samantha Barrass as its new Chief Executive, expected take up the role in January 2022 with Liam Mason as Acting CEO in the interim following Rob Everett’s departure at the end of October 2021. https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/media-releases/fma-announces-new-chief-executive-2021/

9 Sept 2021 – MBIE issued advice that, of significance to lenders and borrowers, the Government has agreed to a short delay to the full commencement of the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Act 2019 by two months, to 1 December 2021, considered necessary due to the impact of recent COVID-19 alert levels.

9 Sept 2021 – FMA advised that it will generally provide “no action relief” where a market participant breaches, or expects to breach, a regulatory obligation as a result of the COVID-19 circumstances and seeks relief from the FMA. https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/covid-19/no-action-relief-as-a-result-of-covid-19/

9 Sept 2021 – RBNZ advised that it will be holding a webinar on its insurance policyholder security consultation at 10am next Wednesday, 15 September via Microsoft Teams.

9 Sept 2021 – MBIE advised that various papers related to the Regulation of the Retail Payments System have been released, including:

Regulation of the Retail Payments System Additional Approvals Cabinet Paper

Regulation of the Retail Payments System: Additional Policy Approvals Cabinet Minutes

Regulatory Impact Statement: additional tools for regulating the retail payments system