Max Roser at Our World in Data posted this great image of survival curves as a great way to visualise increased life expectancy added over the last 150+ years. A similar presentation can also be used to illustrate the probability of survival when demonstrating the issues of mortality risk in decumulation planning for retirement. Our World In Data is a fabulous resource for all sorts of issues, but especially good for mortality and morbidity statistics and ideas for good data visualisation.
Over decades of insurance sector research work (at Sovereign, consulting, and within Quality Product Research) new information comes all the time. All the time I try to remember to be curious about new information, to hold my current paradigm for the industry lightly, or to set it to one side from time to time to explore the new idea. No one can manage to maintain an entirely open mind - that's why the views of others that think a bit differently can be so valuable. Outsiders, fresh voices. I cannot rely on them exclusively, or all the time, but I have to be able to bring them into the discourse and analysis. If that is a subject that interests you, then this video may help to explain the mindset that can enable us to view new information not as a threat, but as something to be interested in.
9 Apr 2021 - The Commerce Commission has issued its revised cartel leniency and immunity policy and revised template leniency agreement. The cartel leniency and immunity policy has been updated to reflect changes to the Commission’s cartel leniency policy resulting from the introduction of the new Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Act 2019 which came into effect on 8 April. Cartel conduct can now be punished with a term of imprisonment of up to 7 years. https://comcom.govt.nz/news-and-media/media-releases/2021/commission-issues-updated-cartel-leniency-policy
9 Apr 2021 – Submission closing date on the Incorporated Societies Bill set as 28 May 2021. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_109429/incorporated-societies-bill
9 Apr 2021 – IRD advised that, following attachment of Royal Assent to the Taxation (Annual Rates for 2020–21, Feasibility Expenditure, and Remedial Matters) Act 2021 on 30 March 2021, IRD released a special report on the Act. The report covers:
- early information on land-related amendments (including the extension to the bright-line test)
- feasibility expenditure
- purchase price allocation
- unclaimed money, and
- other changes.
An all-time record high of 2,504 users on quotemonster.co.nz in the last 28 days confirmed that it was a very, very, busy March. More advisers than ever are interested in comparisons. Advisers tell us that consumers like comparisons. Guidance around replacement advice requires that either a comparison is done, or the risks of proceeding without having done a comparison are explained - for example, in this report. It seems that advisers, regulators, and consumers all agree that comparisons are an essential part of financial advice. This situation is dynamic - you cannot form a view and then keep expecting that to hold true - every quarter, on average, four insurers change the pricing for eight product lines and the policy wordings for five product lines. So if you haven't compared, how can you be confident in your recommendation?
Cigna New Zealand has maintained a Financial Strength Rating of A and a Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of A. Mark Schollum, Cigna Chief Financial Officer, has commented on the results saying that Cigna is pleased that the ratings haven’t changed. Schollum continued by saying that the unchanged rating is an indication of Cigna’s financial standing, business sustainability and strong global backing. Schollum has also noted that Cigna’s confidence should reassure financial advisers and customers during this climate. AM Best has highlighted that Cigna’s financial and operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM all contributed to the rating assessment.
“Cigna's Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a” with stable outlooks, remains unchanged from last year's assessment.
Cigna New Zealand chief financial officer Mark Schollum says Cigna is pleased the rating has remained unchanged.
“This is confirmation of Cigna’s strong balance sheet, the underlying long-term sustainability of our business and our strong global backing,” Schollum says.
“At Cigna, we’re committed to being here for our customers not only now but in the long-term. Having this continued confidence in our business should be reassuring to our advisers and customers in these uncertain times.”
AM Best is a United States-based global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry.
In its rating report, AM Best states, "Cigna has strong earnings and dividends from the group’s insurance entities".
"These have helped bolster holding company metrics, such as interest coverage and reduction of outstanding debt...and Cigna’s insurance subsidiaries have consistently provided cash flow upstream in the form of dividends, which have been growing each of the past two years, given favourable operating results.
"Cigna Life & Health Group reported strong earnings again in 2020, supported by lower utilization in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the organization also consistently reporting strong double-digit profitability ratios," the report states.
AM Best goes on to say the ratings of Cigna Life Insurance New Zealand Limited (CLINZ) "reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM.
"Furthermore, the ratings of CLINZ factor in rating enhancement from the Cigna group. This reflects integration and ownership from Cigna group and AM Best’s expectation that the group would provide capital support if required.”
“CLINZ ranks among the largest life insurance companies in New Zealand, benefiting from a multichannel distribution approach. While the company accounts for a small component of the Cigna group’s consolidated revenues and earnings, it is viewed as significant to the group’s operations in the Asia-Pacific region." Click here to read more
In other news
6 Apr 2021 – The committee stage of the Financial Markets Infrastructure Bill was completed. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_93550/financial-market-infrastructures-bill
6 Apr 2021 – The first reading of the Incorporated Societies Bill was completed, with the Bill referred to the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee, with report back due by 6 Oct 2021. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_109429/incorporated-societies-bill
Dr. Graeme Jarvis has written a piece on Stuff about the Government’s plan to conduct a review into Pharmac. In the piece, Dr. Jarvis notes that the review should be seen as being for the good of the country, as long as the review is intended to update an outdated system, improve Pharmac’s performance, and expand access to publicly funded medicines. Transparency, timeliness and equity have been described as being the focus of the review.
“That this Government has decided to have a review into Pharmac should be seen as positive by the country, and good public sector governance. This assumes, of course, that the review truly aims to look at ways to modernise a 27-year-old system and both to improve the way New Zealand accesses publicly funded modern medicines and to enhance the agency’s performance.
Performance for any health service should not be about PR, such as modelled graphs reporting assumed, rather than actual, savings. It should be about health outcomes achieved. Hopefully, the review can lead to the generation of meaningful health outcome measurements for patients, not myth-based savings indicators.
Transparency, timeliness and equity seem to be key areas of focus in the review. Safety of medicines is not – that is rightly a statutory role for Medsafe, not Pharmac. However, given recent deaths following an enforced brand switch of an epilepsy drug, now subject to a coronial investigation, the safety of Pharmac’s cost-driven decision-making processes should be within scope.
Timeliness of decision-making is an issue. New Zealand takes 2.5 times as long as the OECD average of nine months to publicly fund modern medicines, all of which have undergone rigorous review internationally, including assessment of clinical need and effectiveness. Why the delay? Hopefully the review will answer this question.
Despite New Zealand’s comparable wealth on a GDP per capita basis, it funds between two and 10 times fewer modern medicines than our OECD peers. Why the disparity? Is it technical or fiscal rationing? Only the former is considered in-scope for the review.” Click here to read more
nib has noted that New Zealanders can take Pharmac out of the equation by signing up to Ultimate Health with Easy Overlay promotion. The campaign begun April 1 and will continue until 30 June 2021. The promotion is only being offered on nibAPPLY.
In other news
5 Apr 2021 – Following the 15 March 2021 transitional licensing close off date, InvestmentNews NZ issued a media report updating the numbers of transitionally licensed Financial Advice Providers (1,817), Authorised Bodies (1,200) , Financial Advisers (10,750) and Nominated Representatives (12,246). David Chaplin also tells us that search functionality for the FSPR is substantially more limited than the old register. https://investmentnews.co.nz/investment-news/fslaa-by-the-numbers-3000-entities-23000-individuals-1-register/
5 Apr 2021 – InvestmentNews NZ reported on Retirement Commissioner (RC), Jane Wrightson’s, presentation to a parliamentary committee last month, in which the Commissioner stated that the CFFC would unveil a new approach on April 16, targeting financial resilience, better stakeholder co-operation and access to ‘independent’ guidance. https://investmentnews.co.nz/investment-news/covid-prompts-retirement-commission-to-sort-strategy/
1 Apr 2021 – MBIE published a discussion document seeking public input into problems and proposed options to address jurisdictional inconsistencies between approved dispute resolution scheme rules, with submissions closing on 6 May 2021. https://www.mbie.govt.nz/have-your-say/review-of-approved-financial-dispute-resolution-scheme-rules/ This review process does not include the option of merging the scheme (along the lines of the Australian approach). The review looks at limits, consistency, and jurisdictional issues that may affect claimants. It is well worth taking a look at the document - advisers that have had claims would be advised to take a look too, your feedback may be especially valuable.
AIA has announced AIA Vitality enhancements. Len Elikhis, AIA NZ Chief Product and Vitality Officer, has said that changes have been made to ensure AIA continues motivating and rewarding members. The enhancements means that members have the option of getting a 25% discount on Samsung fitness devices as well as up to 50% off Event Cinemas tickets. Another added feature that members can utilise for free is the Allen Carr Easyway Quit Alcohol programme. More enhancements are expected in June 2021.
“Following the news late last year that AIA Vitality members could earn an Apple Watch for reaching weekly physical activity targets, the life, health, and wellbeing insurer today announced further AIA Vitality partnerships.
New partner brands, such as Samsung and Event Cinemas, along with the addition of the Allen Carr Easyway Quit Alcohol programme, will see AIA Vitality continue to support and reward members to improve their health.
“We’re regularly evolving our program to motivate and reward our members to live healthier, longer, better lives,” says Len Elikhis, AIA NZ Chief Product and Vitality Officer. “Utilising a global, science-backed program, AIA Vitality has given us the unique ability to engage with our customers on an ongoing basis, provide greater value and support healthier outcomes”.
From today, AIA Vitality members can enjoy a 25% discount on Samsung fitness devices, alongside existing program partners Garmin (25% discount) and Fitbit (30% discount). Len says tracking fitness can be a great motivator. “Whatever you do to keep active, activity tracking can help you stay committed and working towards your personal physical activity goals.”
Event Cinemas has joined Hoyts as an AIA Vitality rewards partner offering members up to 50% discount on movie tickets. “Having both Hoyts and Events Cinemas on the program gives our members more choice across the country.”
Another enhancement Len is pleased to share is the new free Allen Carr Easyway Quit Alcohol programme. “Following the success of the Allen Carr Quit Smoking programme, we are pleased to now support members looking to reduce their alcohol consumption.”
Since launching in August 2019, AIA Vitality has continued to grow. “Feedback from the adviser community and our members continues to be very positive,” says Len. “They have told us that they love the way AIA Vitality motivates and rewards behaviour change. We continue to receive feedback from members about tangible improvements in their health outcomes, which energises us to continue evolving the program.
“AIA Vitality is all about helping Kiwis learn more about their health, offering ways to improve it, and providing motivation and rewards along the way.
More exciting AIA Vitality partnerships and program enhancements are set to be announced in June 2021, continuing AIA NZ’s long-term commitment to helping New Zealanders get more out of life.”
In other news
nib: pre-existing conditions offer available through nibAPPLY between 1 April and 30 June 2021
nib: Maurice's nib story
Inflation is often overlooked when customers are looking to purchase Life Cover. Although it may not be necessary for short term policies, it is however, a valued feature for long term policies (i.e., those that are in place for 20 years or more).
Sub-items rating review
Please note we currently only show the pricing difference between indexed vs non-indexed (as shown below) and the rating for optional items are excluded from the total rating you will see on your research report.
The Inflation Adjustment benefit does not significantly vary among providers. Companies differ in expiry age, with Pinnacle being the only that expires at age 60. ANZ bank seems to be the only provider with a deduction for the sub-item “Excludes when premiums are waived”. A significant difference is whether the benefit is optional or included.
Why is this important?
The benefit would be of high value for those looking to purchase long term policies. To not have this option would have a great impact in the future as you would understand that the cost of living will only increase as time goes on (and so should our Life cover).
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 Analyst, Quality Product Research Limited, firstname.lastname@example.org
Max Roser at Our World in Data has this excellent chart which highlights how recent and how stunning, improvements in child mortality have been: https://ourworldindata.org/child-mortality-in-the-past
We have updated the quotemonster site, on Thursday, and made the following items live, for more detail see below:
- New SOA report content setting options allow you to create more customisations for your SOAs if you are an Advicemonster subscriber. To access these click settings, then SOA Setting, then Report Content Setting
- New SOA template for Need analysis recommendation note pad - bring through all your calculations from the recommendation notepad in Advicemonster to quote and to the SOA.
- New nib rates applied to the site
- FSP input validation for user setting and register form - so it is important that your FSP number matches your name and the entry on the FSPR. A reminder that sharing your login is a breach of our terms and conditions and unusual account activity (like switching user names) will be picked up and we will be contacting account-holders that actively share their logins.
- Improved the health product breakdown table in the research report.
- Applied Fidelity level standalone trauma maximum level term rule
- Changed Partners Life IP and MP max-age to 57 - as we do not quote reduced commission versions of income protection
- Update Web version number to v 3.8.7
Congratulations to Albert, Doreen, and the whole team on a big package of updates. Our special thanks to the advisers sending us issues and suggestions for improvement of the Advicemonster process and the SOAs.
31 Mar 2021 – RBNZ advised via -email that it had published updated versions of the ‘working copies’ of the bank disclosure Orders in Council (OICs) that it maintains on its website.
31 Mar 2021 - Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Hon David Clark, February 2021 diary released with the following potential financial services sector related meetings noted:
- 10 Feb 2021 – Speaking at the Financial Services Council (FSC) Get In Shape Summit
- 12 Feb 2021 – Meeting with Forsyth Barr (Ken Lister and Trish Oakley)
- 18 Feb 2021 – Insurance Council of NZ (Craig Olsen, President, Chris Curtin, Vice President, Tim Grafton, CE, and Board Members)
- 24 Feb 2021 - Meeting with Asia Pacific MasterCard (Ruth Riviere, Country Manager, Peter Chisnell, Senior Vice President Market Development for Asia Pacific MasterCard)
- 24 Feb 2021 – Meeting with Visa International (David O’Brien, Head of Merchant Sales and Solutions NZ & South Pacific, Marty Kerr, Country Manager, NZ & South Pacific for Visa International)
- 25 Feb 2021 – KiwiSaver Announcement (Various attendees not listed)
- 25 Feb 2021 – Meeting with Financial Services Council (Rob Flanagan, Chair, Richard Klipin, CEO, Thomas Pryor)
- 25 Feb 2021 – Meeting with Financial dispute resolution schemes (CEO - Financial Services Complaints Ltd, General Manager - Fairway Resolution, Banking Ombudsman, Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman, Board member of IFSO)
This is your Quotemonster and Chatswood work team: I am so proud to work with such a great group of people. They have worked incredibly hard over the last few weeks as we had to make a lot of changes to meet new requirements for customers by 15 March. Since then we’ve trained hundreds of clients in updated processes. It has been so very busy and the team has stepped up.
From left to right, back row first: Melissa Waddel, our super new administrator; Treena Jordan, new Quotemonster GM, who starts with us on the 12th - we’re really looking forward to Treena joining us; Jerusalem Hibru who has been doing some great marketing work making us busier than ever. Doreen Dutt, researcher, who has also been so supportive of all the extra client calls for help. Kelly Pulham, who has been crucial to all the extra training and changes we’ve been doing. Fran, of course, who as well as business analyst and data work has taken on more leadership responsibility.
Front row, Rob Dowler compliance support and advice extraordinaire; yours truly; Ed Foster, does great data science work, and Albert Liu who is also an accomplished data scientist and IT leader. It has been so busy but working with this crew is a real privilege. We have big plans and lots of exciting stuff coming up.
31 Mar 2021 – RBNZ announced that it is easing the dividend restrictions placed on retail banks at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing banks to pay up to a maximum of 50% of their earnings as dividends to their shareholders. The 50% dividend restriction will remain in place until 1 July 2022, at which point the Reserve Bank intends to normalise the dividend settings by removing the restrictions entirely (subject to no significant worsening in economic conditions). https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2021/03/reserve-bank-retains-some-dividend-restrictions-and-expects-banks-to-be-prudent
A north-shore-based insurance advice business is seeking an experienced administrator - a brief description of the role is below. If you are interested to learn more please email Melissa.Waddel@Chatswood.co.nz
We are looking for a part-time Administration Assistant to join our team and assist our Administration Manager & Advisers in their day-to-day administration work.
The role will consist of 20 hours per week from 9.30am-1.30pm Monday-Friday, although we can be flexible with start and finish times for the right person.
Daily tasks will include, but are not limited to:
Preparing meeting notes & client recommendation/discussion documents.
Regular contact with insurance companies, following up applications and client requests
Updating/maintaining client and internal information within our CRM system
General ad-hoc administration tasks as and when required by our Administration Manager & Advisers.
nib has prepared a list on why customers should consider comprehensive health insurance. nib lists five reasons why members are better off with comprehensive health insurance. These reasons are:
Your clients choose who they receive treatment from, and alongside their GP or specialist, they decide where and when. Having access to more options helps reduce uncertainty and enables them to make plans to minimise related disruptions caused in their lives.
Less waiting, less worry
It is not uncommon to spend months waiting in the public health system before receiving treatment. While your client is waiting, their health may deteriorate further, and secondary issues could develop. Access to private healthcare, afforded through health insurance, can significantly reduce waiting times, creating greater peace of mind.
Less time off work, less lost income
Poor health could require needing to take time off work to recover. This could result in lost income for your client, as well as any of their family members who may need to support them. Furthermore, without private health insurance, they may have to cover the cost of private treatment themselves, creating additional financial burden.
Access to leading edge treatments
Health practices and treatments are advancing rapidly. Private health insurance can give your clients access to treatments that they may not have otherwise been able to afford.
Prevention is better than dealing with illness and discomfort. With the nib Proactive Health Option, it’s easier for your clients to stay healthy, and to enjoy life and all the things they have worked hard for. They’ll be covered for screening, such as breast screening, prostate screening, heart screening and mole mapping, allergy testing and vaccinations, gym memberships, weight loss management programmes, quit smoking programmes and routine health checks.” Click here to read more
In other news
Partners Life: Partners Life is asking FAPs to login to the FSPR for the FAP and engage financial advisers by March 31 to ensure Partners Life has the latest list from the FSPR
nib: nib’s Head of Adviser Distribution, Chris Carnall, provided a brief overview of the Intermediary Agreement
29 Mar 2021 – IRD released via an e-mail an AEOI update to the CRS Reportable and Participating Jurisdictions showing additions, with New Caledonia added to Reportable Jurisdictions and Albania, New Caledonia, Nigeria, Peru and Turkey added to Participating Jurisdictions.
29 Mar 2021 – Police Financial Intelligence Unit released the February 2021 Suspicious Activity Report. https://www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/fiu-monthly-report-feb2021.pdf
29 Mar 2021 - Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Bill reported back from Select Committee. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_99238/protected-disclosures-protection-of-whistleblowers-bill
Financial Markets Conduct (US Futures Commission Merchants) Exemption Notice 2021. The exemption notice temporarily extends exemptions currently in place for US registered futures commission merchants that are accredited NZX derivatives participants with the notice expiring on 3 December 2021. https://www.fma.govt.nz/compliance/exemptions/current-exemption-notices/financial-markets-conduct-act-exemptions/financial-markets-conduct-us-futures-commission-merchants-exemption-notice-2021/
24 Mar 2021 – RBNZ announced that it had made a number of amendment orders to revise the requirements for banks’ published disclosure statements. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/regulation-and-supervision/banks/consultations-and-policy-initiatives/completed-policy-development/public-disclosure-of-bank-breaches
25 Mar 2021 – FMA updated and closed the consultation on the content of regulatory returns for licensed DI, MIS managers and DIMS providers, including a “response to submissions” document and release of regulatory returns data templates. https://www.fma.govt.nz/compliance/consultation/consultation-paper-content-of-regulatory-returns-for-licensed-di-mis-managers-and-dims-providers/
29 Mar 2021 - NZX gave notice of amendments to the NZX Derivatives Market Rules (Rules) pursuant to Rule 1.6. The amendments to the Rules were approved by the Financial Markets Authority on 15 February 2021, following consultation with the market in April 2020. These amendments involve updates to bring the Rules in conformance with the 2019 amendments to the NZX Participant Rules. https://www.nzx.com/announcements/369841
29 Mar 2021 – RBNZ advised that it had submitted a response to the Climate Change Commission’s Climate Action for Aotearoa consultation. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2021/03/reserve-bank-responds-to-call-for-climate-change-consultation
Wealthpoint has introduced the launch of the standalone General Insurance brokerage. Wealthpoint CEO Simon Manning has said that Wealthpoint General Insurance was formed to support advisers expand general insurance services as well as expanding supplier members with a focus on growing commercial, property and liability business lines. Wealthpoint General Insurance is based on the longstanding relationship with Vero and AMP General as well as new arrangements with Delta and Star Insurance. Manning has said that the dealer group has been considering this for a while as general insurance has always been a significant part of business for members. Creating a standalone brokerage means that Wealthpoint can form a working relationship with larger insurers under the IAG brand. Wealthpoint has partnered with Steadfast to form the new brokerage.
“The dealer group, formed from the former AMP advisers association, launched Wealthpoint General Insurance, a standalone brokerage for its 50 member businesses to transact through.
Wealthpoint chief executive, Simon Manning, said Wealthpoint General Insurance had been formed primarily to support member businesses to expand their general insurance offering to clients.
He said Wealthpoint was keen to expand the range of suppliers members could deal with, particularly for commercial, property and liability business lines.
Successful long-term relationships with AMP General and Vero Insurance were still in place and new supplier arrangements with specialist insurers such as Delta and Star Insurance were introduced for Wealthpoint members in the past year.
But, Manning said Wealthpoint was conscious that access to some of the larger insurers, including those operating under IAG brands, was only possible if structured through a standalone brokerage.
"General insurance has always been a pretty big part of our members' businesses and it's been something we have been thinking about for a long time," Manning said.
"There are a few unknowns about how much it will be used as it is only an option for our businesses who want to expand their GI operations or look to bring in more expertise."
Manning said uptake had been encouraging since they began offering its expanded services at the start of this month and "if we overshoot on our expectations then we will have to look for some more people pretty quickly".
"At the moment we are a small staff and are monitoring things closely but the phones have been ringing, so it's pretty encouraging."
He said while some Wealthpoint member businesses had explored the option of setting up their own brokerages, there were significant barriers such as high setup costs, lack of scale at member level and potential regulatory risks.
He said with that in mind Wealthpoint had joined forces with Auckland-based brokers Steadfast.
"They have been extremely helpful, they are very professional and have arrangements with virtually all of the market so that's helped us form alliances with all of the providers we want to.
"They have given us a really good tech platform as well.
"Now it's up to us working through the list of insurers and working with them to bring them onstream. Getting agreements in place will take time and we are being quite methodical working through that." Click here to read more
In other news