Government criticised for allocating funds to ACC to work on NZIIS before MBIE’s analysis of consultation on scheme released, and other news

Jenée Tibshraeny writes in NZ Herald of how the government has been critiqued for pushing through legislation to allow ACC to work towards operationalising the NZISS ahead of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) analysis of submissions made via the consultation process. MBIE has said a formal decision on whether the government will proceed with the scheme will be made in June or July.

MBIE's acting manager of income insurance policy, Francis van der Krogt, told NZ Herald around 2000 people or organisations either made full submissions or answered a shorter-form survey.

He said officials are analysing the feedback and preparing a summary for Ministers, which will be released "in due course".

Asked why the submissions weren't published before the legislation was passed and funding allocated via the Budget, van der Krogt noted the legislation is a "small and relatively technical piece of legislation" that enables ACC to do work it wouldn't otherwise be able to do under existing legislation.

"The work will help inform final decisions. Any substantive legislation to create a New Zealand Income Insurance scheme would go through a full Parliamentary process," van der Krogt said.

More daily news:
FSC debunks health insurance myths
Good Returns: Leanne Lazarus (former Westpac Life CEO) appointed CEO Heartland Bank
Government commits to providing ACC funding for preliminary work on systems and operational processes for NZIIS
WTW introduces new version of Radar pricing software


Budget allocates $60 million to establishment of NZIIS and delays implementation to 2024, and other news

On 19 May Finance Minister Grant Robertson presented the Government’s Wellbeing Budget, allocating $60 million to support the continuing development of the New Zealand Income Insurance Scheme (NZIIS).

The amount will fund the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) to undertake preliminary work to establish the systems and operational processes for a new levy-funded income insurance scheme.

The proposed implementation has also been pushed back from 2023, with Robertson saying

“There is considerable work to get the scheme up and running, and it is now expected that it will be operational in 2024.”

Insurance Business spoke to Deloitte NZ tax partner Robyn Walker, who said

“The sensible decision to not rush this through means that the New Zealand Income Insurance Scheme may become a significant matter for voters to evaluate as we head into Election 2023.”

More daily news:

Dispute before ombudsman about income earned while on claim for income protection insurance policy

Members of TripleA Association to vote whether to wind up association

Entries for Insurance Business's Top Insurance Employers 2022 close 27 May

In Finder’s RBNZ survey, 100% of experts predict OCR increase in May

And a bit of light humour from xkcd here


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

20 May 2022 – Under an extended Parliamentary session from 19 May 2022, the following Bills were passed through all their stages in Parliament under urgency.

  • Taxation (Cost of Living Payments) Bill

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_123884/taxation-cost-of-living-payments-bill

  • Income Insurance Scheme (Enabling Development) Bill

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_123885/income-insurance-scheme-enabling-development-bill

  • Companies Office Registers Funding Validation Bill

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_123888/companies-office-registers-funding-validation-bill


Quotemonster training session

We invite you to join our next training session with Kelly, our National Partnerships Lead, which takes place on Wednesday, 8 June 2022 11:00 AM-12:00 PM. 

In this introductory session, we will go over the basics of using the website including: 

  • How to directly compare two insurers for replacement business (Head-to-Head) 
  • How to download our detailed comparison and client friendly benefit overview or heat map report
  • How to add banks and non-adviser companies to your Research comparison 
  • How to find older policy documents

...and you’ll get a walk through the features of our new website.

All Industry members are welcome to join this session so please register your interest by emailing us on info@quotemonster.co.nz

Please feel free to contact us if you're also interested in a 14-day Research trial!

Happy Crunching!


New Zealand’s protection gap according to Sharron Botica, and other daily news

A recent report suggests New Zealanders are under-insured by hundreds of billions of dollars. Spinoff asks Sharron Botica from AIA New Zealand to explain why it’s so important to make up the shortfall.

“Customer insight work carried out by AIA has told us that people often feel protected against death, illness and other physical circumstances because they feel they can lean on whānau and community to help out. But this isn’t always realistic, and it can be a dangerous mistake that could leave that support network severely and unexpectedly cost-laden.

According to a Financial Services Council NZ report from 2020, 71% of New Zealanders are under-insured when it comes to life insurance.

….. we drastically underestimate how much financial pressure is created when a household loses half of its income.

In 2018, the retirement commissioner Diane Maxwell said the New Zealand “she’ll be right” attitude could be playing a part. That attitude has major consequences and leaves your loved ones to carry a heavy burden.

While relying on savings is a common plan in case of a significant event causing a loss of income – the proverbial “rainy day fund” – you need to have savings to use. Data from Stats NZ showed New Zealanders typically don’t have great savings, with just 0.4% of income being saved over the quarter ending March last year."

More daily news:

FSC says NZ Income Insurance Scheme needs "more time"

Southern Cross wins Organisational Change & Development award at the NZ HR Awards 2022

Jackie Waddams appointed as General Counsel for AIA New Zealand

FANZ’s 1 June webinar covers key insights, updates and best practice for insurance advisers, register here.

Goodreturns: JP Hale thinks he knows why your clients are unhappy


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

19 May 2022 – Takeovers Panel issued updated Guidance on Schemes of Arrangement and also issued comment on “Deal Protection Devices”. https://www.takeovers.govt.nz/

19 May 2022 – IRD advised of the introduction into Parliament of the Taxation (Cost of Living Payments) Bill and the Bill was passed through all Parliamentary stages under urgency in an extended Parliamentary session.

https://www.taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/news/2022/2022-05-19-tax-bill-introduced

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_123884/taxation-cost-of-living-payments-bill

19 May 2022 - Companies Office Registers Funding Validation Bill introduced to Parliament to amend 13 different Acts to retrospectively validate fees that have been collected under those Acts that have been, or will be applied under any register administered by the New Zealand Companies Office. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_123888/companies-office-registers-funding-validation-bill

19 May 2022 – The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) reported that the Government has agreed through Budget 2022 to increase the Financial Market Authority (FMA) annual operating funding from $60.805 million to $76.401 million in 2025/26. As part of the new funding arrangement, the Government has agreed to set new industry levies following consultation last year. The levy increase will be phased in over 4 years to minimise the burden on the financial sector. The levies have also been apportioned by entity size and type, to ensure smaller entities are not unduly burdened with high costs. Currently, the majority of the FMA’s funding is recovered from market participants through the FMA levy (83%), with the Crown contributing the remaining 17%. The proportion of the Crown’s contribution is decreasing slightly to 16% from 2025/26. Through Budget 2022, the Government has agreed to contribute all capital funding and some operational funding for CoFI and CRD towards the FMA, which will provide some cost relief to entities. While MBIE and the FMA also consulted on funding requirements for the Insurance Contract Law (ICL) regime, decisions about funding for this regime will be made at a later date. Any levies for this regime will take effect after the Insurance Contracts Bill has been passed by Parliament. https://www.mbie.govt.nz/about/news/government-to-increase-fmas-funding-and-set-new-levies/

20 May 2022 – Under an extended Parliamentary session from 19 May 2022, the Income Insurance Scheme (Enabling Development) Bill was read a first time, with the Second Reading continuing while writing this. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_123885/income-insurance-scheme-enabling-development-bill


Quality Product Research: addition of specific injury insurance rating

Specific Injury Cover is of great benefit in circumstances where ACC or other insurance policies do not provide sufficient financial protection. Although it presents as a succinct product (or optional benefit), it offers a comprehensive injury cover at an affordable price. It may be the case that this product appeals only to a particular market niche, but we believe that its benefits and features are of considerable value and should therefore be included within our rated products’ suite.

We have a draft comparison of those insurers who offer this product but are yet to release this publicly, pending data to support our ratings.

We invite you to join us on this rating process as we greatly value your input and feedback on changes we make to our platform. We are looking at gaining further insight into this product and would really appreciate any data that you are able to share with us from experience. We are especially keen to gain a better understanding of:

  • The most claimed benefits within Specific Injury.
  • The most claimed fractures.
  • The features that are claimed more than once.

It would be of considerable assistance if you are able to provide us with relevant data and claims information.

Once we have received and reviewed all the feedback, relevant information and data from the Insurers we have communicated this to, we will publish a preliminary rating report for you to review.

Please note that at this stage, the rating framework we have formulated for Specific Injury Cover can change depending on the information we receive from those insurers who wish to participate in this exercise. The finalised ratings will subsequently be published and be available to view on Quotemonster.

If you're interested in being involved in this rating, have had a client with a claim, or are an expert in this field please email us on researcher@qpresearch.co.nz 

We look forward to your assistance and input with this rating exercise and thank you in advance for your participation and time.


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

18 May 2022 – RBNZ published its “Enforcement Principles and Criteria Guidelines”, which are the foundation of its enhanced enforcement framework. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2022/05/rbnz-strengthening-enforcement-framework

18 May 2022 – NZX gave notice of changes to the NZX Listing Rules, approved by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) on 5 May, 2022, as well as updates to three Guidance Notes and also a Practice Note dealing with the Issues of Warrants, with all of the changes and updates coming into effect on 17 June 2022. https://www.nzx.com/announcements/392278

18 May 2022 – Commerce Commission advised that, under the new Retail Payment Systems Act 2022, the Mastercard and Visa credit and debit card networks will be the initial focus of the Commerce Commission’s work to promote competition and efficiency in the retail payment system. https://comcom.govt.nz/news-and-media/media-releases/2022/mastercard-and-visa-networks-will-be-initial-focus-for-commission-under-new-act


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

17 May 2022 – Second reading of the Data and Statistics Bill completed in Parliament. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_116197/data-and-statistics-bill

18 May 2022 – FMA released a report titled “Value for Money Industry Report” highlighting that Fund managers’ inconsistent performance measurement and cost of fees reduces benefits to investors. https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/media-releases/value-for-money-may-2022/


Southern Cross appoints new COO and more daily news

Southern Cross Healthcare has appointed Mark Stewart as Chief Operating Officer, which they say completes recent changes to the executive team. From the Southern Cross media release:

"Mr Stewart brings with him a wealth of expertise in developing innovative strategies within complex environments and leading business transformations. He joins Southern Cross from PwC, where he led the company’s engagement with national telehealth service Whakarongorau Aotearoa.

Prior to that role, Mr Stewart spent more than a decade working for NZ Post, including four years as the state-owned enterprise’s COO. There, he held operational and strategic leadership for more than 5,000 people and co-led the organisation’s transformation in supporting the growing demands of online retail.

Mr Stewart has also spent several years working in the UK and has completed a PhD in Management Science/Operations Research.

Southern Cross Healthcare CEO Chris White says Mr Stewart’s experience makes him the ideal choice for leading operational functions across the hospitals side of the business.

“Mark has a strong track record in leadership and change management within large-scale, complex environments, and these skills will be critical as Southern Cross Healthcare evolves into a more integrated healthcare system that offers consistently high-quality care,” he said.

Mr Stewart will be joining Southern Cross Healthcare from 20 June 2022.

More daily news:

Partners Life is running webinars on completing your full license application

Strategic pay has published its 2022 Directors' Fees survey

FSC released a blog item titled, “Health Insurance Myths Busted.” https://www.moneyandyou.org.nz/blog/health-insurance-myths-busted

Cardiologists are seeing an increasing number of heart problems in people catching Covid-19


FSC announces Future ready advice summit, Queenstown – and more daily news

The Financial Services Council has announced the new Future Ready advice summit in Queenstown. Come along and join us at the summit and learn about – if you do, we will see you there. More from the FSC:

“Join us at the Future Ready Advice Summit on 14 June 2022 in beautiful Queenstown at the Heritage Hotel. This Summit follows the successful online event in February this year, and gives us a much-needed opportunity to reconnect and learn, while supporting Kiwi tourism.

By attending, you will:

  • Hear directly from our regulatory partners and key decision makers
  • Get the latest advice on thriving under a financial advice provider license
  • Hear from experts and focus on the future and developing professional advice practices
  • Join our Advice Masterclass focused on future-proofing the business model of the future
  • Network with peers and hear from industry leaders
  • Speak to suppliers for practical help and support through the changes
  • Contribute towards your Code Standard 9 competence requirements 

Both streaming and in-person tickets are now available for purchase. In-person numbers are limited, so we encourage you to register quickly to avoid disappointment.

More daily news:

Partners Life announces new adviser training course 20-22 June

AIA launches new limited cover starter plans

Financial Advice New Zealand regional roadshow


Health insurance: the problem with claims tied to the level education of the provider

Health insurance can be a driver for health treatment claims costs. Take this simple summary of the ear wax removal scenario sent to us by a person claiming on their health insurance. This is a common requirement for older people, and the claim situation indicates ways in which insurance may drive the wrong behaviour in procedure costs:

  • There are range of people competent to complete assessment of the need and to complete ear wax removal including, for example, registered audiologists, registered nurses and others such as enrolled nurses and presumably audiologists who, for whatever reason, might not be on the audiologist register.
  • There is a fee for the procedure. For example, Ear Health charge Gold Card superannuitants a discounted rate of $59.
  • A claim can be submitted to a major health insurer for the consultation and the procedure.
  • The amount the insurer will refund depends upon who does the consultation and procedure, up to approximately $200 for a registered audiologist, $30 for a Registered Nurse, and zero for anyone else that completes exactly the same procedure. We presume this is a cost control measure - but we suspect it is working precisely in reverse of how it is intended to operate.
  • Hence, competence is not the measure used to determine whether a claim will be admitted, and the rate of reimbursement, rather the educational / professional status of the individual doing the consultation and ear wax removal.

In our view, this leads to a perverse outcome as it appears on the face of it to be in the interests of the client to insist that an audiologist complete the procedure, even at a higher cost, if necessary, because the full cost can then almost certainly be claimed in contrast to the situation where a Registered Nurse or someone else does the work.

We think this is the worst outcome for everyone, as the audiologist spends expensive time doing menial work, the insurer pays out a higher amount, and the client presumably ends up with a risk of higher premiums or reduced discounted premiums because of claims.

One is tempted to suggest that somewhere a registered audiologist has already figured out that they could complete a very quick assessment, charge like a wounded bull, and passes the client on to someone else in-house to do the cleaning at no extra charge. Could other examples be given: of course.


Quotemonster training session - check out the new website!

We invite you to join our next training session with Kelly, our National Partnerships Lead, which takes place on Monday, 23 May 2022 10:00 AM-11:00 AM. 

In this introductory session, we will go over the basics of using the website including: 

  • How to directly compare two insurers for replacement business (Head-to-Head) 
  • How to download our detailed comparison and client friendly benefit overview or heat map report
  • How to add banks and non-adviser companies to your Research comparison 
  • How to find older policy documents

...and you’ll get a look at our new website.

All Industry members are welcome to join this session so please register your interest by emailing us on info@quotemonster.co.nz

Please feel free to contact us if you're also interested in a 14-day Research trial!

Happy Crunching!


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

10 May 2022 – Government announced further Russian sanctions targeting disinformation and those responsible for cyber-attacks on Ukraine.

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-sanctions-target-disinformation-and-malicious-cyber-actors

https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/europe/ukraine/russian-invasion-of-ukraine/sanctions

10 May 2022 – Third reading of the Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Bill completed in Parliament, with the Ombudsman issuing a statement welcoming its passage.

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_99238/protected-disclosures-protection-of-whistleblowers-bill

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/government-bolsters-protection-whistleblowers

https://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/news/ombudsman-welcomes-passage-protected-disclosures-bill

10 May 2022 Committee stage of the Retail Payment System Bill completed in Parliament. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_116198/retail-payment-system-bill

11 May 2022 – Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released a consultation on a Draft Long-term Insights Briefing on the future of business for Aotearoa New Zealand, with submissions closing on 24 June 2022. The focus is on an exploration of 2 trends influencing productivity and wellbeing – purpose-led business and use of blockchain technology. https://www.mbie.govt.nz/have-your-say/draft-long-term-insights-briefing-on-the-future-of-business-for-aotearoa-new-zealand/

11 May 2022 – Third Reading of the Retail Payment System Bill completed in Parliament.

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

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/lower-card-fees-way-business-consumers

https://www.mbie.govt.nz/about/news/consumers-and-businesses-to-benefit-from-lower-payment-processing-fees/


Quality Product Research: Medical – proposed rating for Product Flexibility

Introduction

Recently, we read an article on Risk Info NZ about Accuro removing their time restriction for members, and former members, who want to make a claim on their policy. This led to us to review if medical providers impose a time limit to their claims. Many insurers have reported that although this clause is present in their wording, they do not enforce it at claims time, however our stance is that we have to rate based on the policy document.     

If you would like to have a read of the article, please click here

10.05

12.05

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 Manager, Quality Product Research Limited, researcher@qpresearch.co.nz


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health sector

9 May 2022 – The Data and Statistics Bill, to replace the Statistics Act, was reported back to Parliament from the Select Committee. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_116197/data-and-statistics-bill

10 May 2022 – RBNZ issued a statement expressing strong support for the External Reporting Board’s (XRB) plans to develop disclosure as a tool to understand and mitigate climate-related financial risks. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2022/05/rbnz-supports-proposals-to-strengthen-climate-related-disclosure


Fidelity Life promises 24 hour turnaround and more daily news

This morning an adviser who writes a lot of business with Fidelity Life asked me today what I thought of their administration. My answer was to point to Fidelity's new promise, Fidelity Life is promising to issue new standard policies within 24 hours of receiving an application, or they will waive the policy fee for the first 12 months, which clearly outlines their intent to deal with administration effectively. More from Fidelity Life on this below:

Sub24 launches today and will run until 30 June 2022.

Fidelity Life Chief Insurance Officer Kath Johnson says the campaign aims to ensure cover is in place for customers as quickly as possible.

“At Fidelity Life we’re all about giving New Zealanders certainty to live a more rewarding life.

“With Sub24 we’re challenging ourselves to turn around standard applications efficiently so our customers can get on with life knowing they’ve got protection in place for the things that are most important to them.”

The Sub24 promise applies to applications for new policies that can be processed under standard underwriting terms, and where no additional medical or financial information is required.

If Fidelity Life can’t deliver on its promise, the policy fee will be waived for the first 12 months.

Full details about Sub24, including terms and conditions, can be found on Adviser Hub.

 

More daily news:

Seth Godin talks about the value of offering 'half-baked' ideas as the key to stimulating creativity in teams - getting input on something that is not perfect or even fully formed makes it clear you are genuinely seeking creative input (not merely endorsement) which encourages others to take creative risks which enable truly great work.

Join Financial Advice New Zealand as they explore how to get the most out of Xero (worth it, Xero has been a big help to Quotemonster.

Techweek22 kicks of on Monday 16th - review the calendar and see what you want to dip into.

Check out NZsearise maps for a heads up on likely sea level impacts - we're seeing one area regularly flooded that was not in the past near us (little shoal bay) what fascinated me was the impact of geology in combination with rising sea levels in the modelling.