FMA investigate false COVID-19 advertisement by adviser

False information was posted on Chinese social media platform WeChat by an adviser. It was suggested that people living in New Zealand get health insurance to ensure that don’t have to pay the same amount for COVID-19 related hospitalisation as people in China (up to $250,000). Regardless of a person’s immigration status, anyone is eligible for free emergency treatment and testing for Covid-19. The FMA was notified and the adviser has been contact. Although the adviser agreed to remove the ad, the FMA will be following up on the issue.


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Partners Life: Webinar sessions to encourage software use

Partners Life are now hosting some webinars to help advisers get the most out of the software particularly while they are not currently able to meet clients face-to-face.

The announcement states 'These sessions are designed for those who have either not used, or do not regularly use either Evince or My Underwriting Manager (MUM) in their processes. If you are already using these tools you may find you know much of the content already, however, feel free to join us for a refresher if you feel like it would be helpful.'

Click here to read more. 

Risk is real

A great tension affects the world of insurance. The first part of the tension is the recognition that risk is real, and the world is a dangerous place. That was felt immediately after the Canterbury earthquakes and again after Kaikoura. We are reminded of the importance of planning for disasters. Briefly, insurance becomes talked about: over the last few weeks stories about travel insurance were quickly followed by stories about life and health insurers. This is a moment when we can reassure those with cover that this is what we are here for. For those without the message is more complicated and must be nuanced: people need cover, and we are allowed to talk about that idea, but it is vital to get that tone right. Here is a link to my latest piece in Asset magazine, now available online, which covers some of this territory. 

Mapping insurer responses to COVID-19

With increasing health and financial stability fears, customers and advisers are looking to insurers for reassurance. Insurance companies have had to act fast to determine the best course of action for customers. In response to COVID-19, various life and health insurers have made decisions regarding applications, underwriting, claims, product, cover and premiums.  While the severity of COVID-19 is still unfolding here in New Zealand and around the world, life and health insurers are preparing to support customers. Chatswood has constructed a table that details the various action plans life and health insurers have in place. If you would like the complete table, please email your interest to

FSC: Webinars focusing on financial services, wellbeing and the political landscape

The FSC have announced a number of webinars as part of the Financial Services Council's Connect programme to guide, support and educate the sector and consumers as we navigate through Covid-19.

FSC Connect Webinars have been curated across a range of topics reflecting issues we face, whether through the lens of working in the financial services sector or as a New Zealander today, living in our bubbles and adjusting to life in Alert Level 4.

The 30-minute 'Ted Talk' style sessions are designed to give you a break, join with your friends and colleagues and connect with our community. There will be an opportunity to ask questions during the session.

Click here to register for 'The COVID-19 Crisis: How the Financial Services Sector is responding with Rob Flannagan and Richard Klipin'

Click here to register for 'Insights from the Pandemic: How politics and media have responded'


Pinnacle Life on who needs life insurance, who doesn’t

Pinnacle Life Marketing Manager Kerry Vaughan spoke with Newshub to clarify life insurance. Kerry stated that it would be a good idea if people with financial obligations took out life insurance. In the interview Kerry provides three different examples of when life insurance is necessary.

  1. You have dependents
  2. You have a mortgage or other debt
  3. You’re worried about what getting ill would mean for you financially

Similarly, Vaughan gave three examples of when life insurance isn’t necessary:

  1. You have no dependents or debts
  2. You’re very young 
  3. You have out-lived your need for it

To the top list I would add the ideas that life insurance gives rapid payment compared to the sale of real property, and also if you expect that you might soon have one of those three reasons in the future. To the bottom list I would add that your assets have grown to the point where you have sufficient funds to meet your commitments and desires for your estate. 

Medical / health insurance pricing comparison database updated

Medical /Health Insurance pricing comparison database V79 has now been issued to subscribers. This version includes the following changes:

  • Update Southern Cross rates effective 1/3/20
  • Update nib rates effective 1/4/20
  • Update Partners Life rates (including policy fee) effective 5/4/20

Asteron’s commitment to service

With Asteron Life team members working remotely it is business per usual. Clients looking to make claims will be offered the usual service and support. Asteron is working alongside providers to offer rehabilitation and assessment services via video conference. In regards to underwriting, Asteron will continue using their tele-interviewing service. If you are looking to book a time, you can do so through AsteronConnect. Although Asteron is closing applications for redundancy cover and restricting clients from increasing their existing benefits, they are supporting clients who have changing financial circumstances by offering:

Options under Lump Sum Covers

  • Premium Holiday
  • Premium freeze
  • A mixture of stepped and level premiums
  • Restructuring Trauma cover

Options under Disability Income Covers

  • Premium and cover suspension  

In case you need to travel for work, and you are an essential worker

Although Air New Zealand has  reduced the number of regional routes, limited domestic flights have been scheduled to run to enable essential service workers to travel as well as to keep air freight moving. As the payment of insurance claims is essential work then a few in the industry may need to travel. If that's you, Air New Zealand’s domestic schedule while the country is at Alert Level 4 is:

Auckland - Christchurch

3 x return services Monday - Friday

1 x return service Saturday/Sunday

Auckland - Wellington

1 x return service Monday - Sunday

Wellington - Christchurch

2 x return services Monday - Friday

1 x return service Saturday/Sunday

Wellington - Nelson

1 x return service Monday - Friday

Christchurch - Dunedin

1 x return service Monday

1 x return service Friday

click here to read more

How registered companies can apply for a transitional licence

This is a how to for registered companies and other entities to apply for their transitional licence. The following information was kindly provided to us by the Companies Office.

To begin, indicate your intention on the FSPR to apply for a transitional licence, to do so you will need:

  1. a RealMe login, and
  2. an online services account with the FSPR.
  3. Additionally, you may also need to confirm your authority to update information if you are managing an FSP on its behalf.

Updating an existing registration on the FSPR

  1. Log in to your online services account. You’ll be taken to your dashboard. Select ‘Search for an FSP’ under the ‘Do It Now’ menu.
  2. Search for your company or entity either by its name or FSP number.
  3. Select the relevant FSP company or entity from the search results list.
  4. Once you have selected which FSP to update, open the ‘My Tools’ menu and select ‘Change Request to FSP (NZ Entity)’.
  5. You’ll be taken to the change request screen. From here you can either:
  6. select the ‘financial services’ tab at the top of the screen


  1. or scroll down the page to the financial services list, select ‘Show’ and select ‘Change details’.
  2. On the next screen you’ll see a list of all the financial services. The transitional licensing services are listed at the bottom, under the heading ‘Financial Advice Service’.

You have the option to select the services:

  1. ‘Licensed Provider - transitional licence’


  1. ‘Authorised Body - transitional licence’.

An authorised body (in relation to the financial advice service) is an entity named on another entity’s financial advice provider’s licence to provide a licensed service. Authorised bodies are still considered to be financial advice providers, but do not hold their own licence. If you are intending for your company to operate as an authorised body, you must tick the grey box ‘Authorised Body – transitional licence’.

If you are intending for your company to hold a transitional licence, you must tick the grey box ‘Licensed Provider –transitional licence’.

  1. Once you’ve selected the relevant transitional licence(s), you can either go straight to the ‘Review’ tab to complete your update, or you can review the rest of your registration by scrolling down to the bottom of the screen and selecting the 'Proceed to directors' button.
  2. On the ‘Directors’ screen, you can check the information about the directors that you have already listed. If you are satisfied that the details are correct, or if you don’t need to add another director, select ‘Proceed to controlling owners’.
  3. On the ‘Controlling owners’ screen you can check the information about controlling owners, if you have any listed, or add new ones. If you are satisfied that the details are correct, or if you don’t need to add a controlling owner, select ‘Proceed to senior managers’.
  4. On the ‘Senior Managers’ screen you can check the information about senior managers, if you have any listed, or add new ones. Once you are happy with the information, or if you don’t want to add a controlling owner, select ‘Proceed to review’.
  5. At this point you have an opportunity to review your details and check that the ‘Transitional Licensing Service’ you selected is visible. To complete the update to your FSP registration, select ‘Read and confirm the declaration here’.
  6. Confirm and click ‘Continue’.
  7. You’ll see an onscreen pop-up confirming your changes have been submitted. From here, click the link to go back to your dashboard, where you’ll see your application is ‘awaiting authorisation’.
  8. You will be sent you an email confirming that you have updated your FSP registration. If you login to your dashboard, your will see ‘Awaiting LA authorisation’ next to your registration. This will remain until the licence comes into effect.

Next steps

Transitional licence

Licensed Provider 

Once you’ve received confirmation and selected the service ‘Licensed Provider - transitional licence’, you’ll need to visit the FMA website and apply for your licence.

You’ll need the FSP number of the company that you just registered on the FSPR. You can apply for your licence by clicking here.

Authorised Body 

Once you’ve received confirmation and selected the service ‘Authorised Body - transitional licence’, you’ll need to provide your company’s FSP number to the financial advice provider whose licence you will operate under. They’ll need this when naming you on their licence application to the FMA. You DO NOT need to apply to the FMA for a licence.


COVID-19: financial impacts and how they will be paid for

I hope that I get to emerge from this crisis able to moan about the financial effects, and grateful enough to know that it will be a privilege denied to those that died. The chances are I'll be fine, the financial effects will remain for quite some time. A recession, of course, and then recovery. Assuming we don't accept those calling for state intervention to be made permanent on a massive scale, then the world will work like it has, but be different. Different companies will be winners. Different ways of working more common. Different attitudes to health and well-being - can be hoped for. The Australian Financial Review worried about the cost, and they coined the phrase "taxation, inflation, or left to the next generation" to describe how it would be paid for: 

Cost of Pandemic caption

The article is well worth a read, but you will probably need a subscription to read it. 

David Farrar, writing at Kiwiblog gave us a back of the envelope forecast for cost: 

Let’s say we spend $50 billion just on the crisis period.

Now let’s look at last year’s accounts. Tax revenue of $87 billion. Let’s say tax revenues are down 15% or $13 billion. So income down $13 billion and the interest in the extra debt is likely to be $3 billion so even once this is over, may have a $16 billion structural deficit. Oh also add an extra $2.5 billion in unemployment benefits and you’re getting close to $20 billion.

Now if you run deficits of over $10 billion for say five years or more, then bang another $50 billion debt and so on.

I should underline, that I am glad of the measures taken by this government to limit the pandemic in New Zealand. I would not want a "trumpian" lurch between denial to reaction and maybe, back again. I also think it is fair to raise questions as to why we aren't investing more time and effort in the excellent contact tracking work that South Korea has done which has flattened their curve and kept them running without a lockdown. If we're happy to spend $12bn in four weeks you would think we could  publish maps of the movements of those who have had COVID-19 that we may have come into casual contact with. That would be a good start towards thinking about how we get out of the current situation and start work on our recovery. 


Future benefits of keeping written records

Dealing with complaints from dissatisfied clients is time consuming and strays you away from your business dealings. It is made worse if you do not keep written documents. Anand Srinivasan of Brisk Insurance recently spoke about his personal experience with disagreements about past discussions and decisions with clients. As Anand kept records, he was able to remind the clients of the agreements that they had reached with him by referring to his notes. As Anand notes, no one will remember what they said exactly after a couple of years.  

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Virus suppression without a lockdown? Can it be done? It can, and has been:

In fact, it is being done, in South Korea. You can check out the now weird normality of a country which has successfully suppressed COVID-19 without shutting down at this link. It is well worth a read. 

Interesting to compare their figures to ours: at 9,876 cases in a population of 51 million SK has 0.019% infection rate. At today's date we have 708 cases in a population of 4.5 million for a 0.016% infection rate. Let's hope that our initial lockdown gives time for us to catch up to their levels of testing, tracking, and tracing - and then we can get back to something more like normality. 

This is the shape of the SK curve.

SK curve at 1 April Johns Hopkins

You can check out at this excellent dashboard by Johns Hopkin University and Medicine. Also see the post below on modelling the impacts of the virus. 

Fidelity prolongs registration date

Fidelity Life have extended the registration period for Customer Engagement 2020. Advisers now have until 6 April 2020 to register to be in the running to attend a Thought Leaders forum in Te Anau in October.

Key points:

  • Runs from 6 March – 31 July 2020
  • Based on Net Promoter Score – a measure of customer satisfaction
  • Top 30 advisers plus partners attend a special forum in Te Anau, 14-16 October 2020
  • Advisers need to register by 6 April to participate

Click here to register