There is a new home for the Chatswood blog - read this to find out more

We have moved our blog, and the domain now points to a shiny new blog, complete with our new branding. We moved platform to enable better service, presentation, and crucially better uptime reliability. if the link you have for us is bringing you back here, then please check to ensure you have cleared your cached pages and history for the site in your browser and that your link is:

This site continues to hold a lot of our historical posts and will continue to be available so we can refer back to them until mid-2024 when we shall archive it.

Important Notice: scheduled system upgrade - exciting improvements coming soon!

A friendly reminder that Quotemonster will be offline tonight (Friday, 15 September 2023) between 10 PM to 11 PM for a major upgrade. This means that when you login on Monday, you’ll see some powerful new features which include:

  • Standalone Head-to-Head available to Researchmonster and Advicemonster users.
  • Fact Find Option available to Advicemonster users.
  • The use of AI for SOA Customisation available to Advicemonster users.
  • Updates to Quote and Research reports and minor issues based on adviser feedback.

We would like to emphasize that the data is still being pulled through from the same Research and quoting engine, and all your settings will remain the same.

Please note these features are still in the Beta (advanced testing) stage, so if you have any comments or feedback that we can use for our next round of enhancements, please feel free to send them through to [email protected].

More training on the new Advicemonster features is available from our awesome Advicetech lead, Aneel, who you can email at [email protected]

Happy Crunching! 🙂

You’ve raised $5,180!

Thank you to everyone who attended our Quotemonster roadshow this year! 

You’ve raised a whopping $5,180 that we have now donated to three amazing charities via The Good Registry. 

⭐Starship Foundation 

Starship is New Zealand’s national children’s hospital, firmly focused on accelerating world class healthcare for all New Zealand children. There are more than 140,000 patient visits to Starship Child Health each year including around 1000 outreach clinics where Starship clinicians offer specialist consultation and support to their peers all around New Zealand. 

⭐Mental Health Foundation

The Mental Health Foundation works towards creating a society free from discrimination, where all people enjoy positive mental health and wellbeing, regardless of whether or not they have a mental illness or experience of mental distress. The Mental Health Foundation runs nationwide mental health campaigns, provides free information and resources and advocates for policies and services that support people with experience of mental illness, and their whānau and friends. 


SPCA helps protect animals that are sick, injured, abused or abandoned. Every year, 39 SPCA centres across the country receive 40,000 animals through their doors and 15,000 animal welfare complaints. SPCA relies almost entirely on the generosity of New Zealanders to carry out its life-saving work, as it receives only a small amount of government funding.

Blue Yellow Bold Donate Your Money Instagram Story (1)

Demystifying Advicemonster [online session]

Over 2,000 Statement Of Advice (SOA) reports have been generated on Quotemonster in the last six months and we invite you to see why! 

We welcome you to join our upcoming online Advicemonster training session scheduled on Thursday, 14 September 2023 9:30 am-10:30 am. 

In this session, we have an in-depth walk-through of our Statement of Advice service and how you can create a professional and comprehensive SOA. Be the first to learn about our recent enhancements and ongoing developments from our new AdviceTech Lead, Aneel Ravji. Our Needs analysis and SOA tools are exclusive to the Advicemonster subscription and due to the advanced nature of the product, training can take between 60-90 minutes. This session is great to attend for those considering upgrading their subscription, or if you have already upgraded but would like to learn how to get the most out of it.

If you would like to register, please send us an email on [email protected]

We look forward to seeing you there! 


Q&A with the Financial Advice NZ Risk Board Member Director (Risk) nominees

Voting for Financial Advice New Zealand’s Board Member Director (Risk) is open, with votes closing at 1pm on 27 September. Find out a bit more about the nominees below and here. You can vote here.

Sonja Barrett

Sonja Barrett

Sonja is self-employed, working under the SHARE FAP, advising clients on Risk and KiwiSaver investment. Sonja has over 20 years’ experience in the Financial Services industry and is also a Director at Habitat for Humanity, a Chairperson for Migrant Connections Taranaki Charitable Trust and a Justice of the Peace.


What attracted you to the insurance industry?

I love the flexibility and lifestyle that the industry offers, especially when you are self-employed, as well as the social aspect, meeting new people/clients, some of whom become lifelong friends.


If you were elected Member Director (Risk), what would your key priorities be?

Key priorities for me would be looking at a pathway for young people to join the industry, continuing to educate and assisting advisers navigating the new regulatory environment as well as looking at new strategies to maintain and enhance the wellbeing of advisers.


What is one thing you wish someone had told you when you were younger?

The one thing I wished someone had told me: don't sweat the small stuff… we worry about too many things sometimes, instead of looking at the big picture.


What’s the last book you read?

I read a lot of books, but the last book I read is 'Sand talk" by Tyson Yunkaporta, the author asks what happens if we bring an indigenous perspective to the big picture - to history, education, money, power? Can we, in fact, have proper concepts of sustainable life without Indigenous knowledge? He challenges us to think differently - a great read I picked up on my last visit to Sydney.


Zebunisso Alimova

Zebunisso 2

Zebunisso has a variety of experience in the financial services sector, starting off in banking and now owning a Mike Pero Franchise. Zebunisso was recognised as one of MPA’s top advisers in New Zealand 2022 and 2023.


What attracted you to the insurance industry?

The insurance industry, in my view, represents a unique intersection of financial services, risk management, and the profound impact it can have on individuals and businesses. What truly attracted me to this industry is the opportunity it provides to make a real difference in people's lives. Insurance is about offering peace of mind, security, and a safety net when the unexpected occurs.

My journey into insurance began during my tenure at ASB Bank, where I witnessed firsthand how crucial insurance products were to our clients' financial well-being. I was drawn to the industry's ability to provide tangible protection against life's uncertainties, whether it's safeguarding a family's future, ensuring the survival of a business during challenging times, or offering stability in retirement.

Moreover, insurance isn't just about selling policies; it's about building trust, understanding clients' unique needs, and tailoring solutions to fit those needs perfectly. This client-centric approach resonated deeply with me, aligning with my core values of empathy and service.

The insurance industry is dynamic, constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of our society. This dynamic nature challenges me to continually learn, adapt, and innovate, making each day in the industry an exciting and fulfilling experience.


If you were elected Member Director (Risk), what would your key priorities be?

If I have the privilege of being elected as Member Director (Risk), my key priorities would revolve around enhancing the overall risk management framework within Financial Advice New Zealand. I believe that a proactive and comprehensive approach to risk management is essential for the sustainable growth and success of any organization. Here are some key priorities I would focus on:

1. Fresh Perspectives and Strategic Thinking: As mentioned in my video statement, I aim to bring fresh perspectives and strategic thinking to the role of Member Director (Risk). This approach involves looking at risk management from new angles, exploring innovative solutions, and ensuring that our risk management strategies align with our strategic objectives.

2. Diplomatic Voice for Collaboration: In the video, I emphasized the importance of maintaining a diplomatic voice that fosters collaboration and consensus-building within the organization. Effective risk management often requires input and cooperation from various stakeholders. I would work diligently to ensure that all voices are heard and that decisions are made with the best interests of the organization in mind.

3. Addressing Industry Challenges: I am acutely aware of the challenges the industry is currently facing, such as the struggle to attract young talent due to evolving regulations. These challenges were discussed in my video statement, and I am committed to addressing them both as a business owner and as an advocate for our industry's growth. This includes exploring ways to make our industry more appealing to emerging professionals.

4. Client-Centric Approach: Just as I emphasized the importance of a client-centric approach in my video statement, I believe that risk management should ultimately serve the best interests of our clients. This means ensuring that our risk management practices protect our clients while also allowing them to access the products and services they need.


What is one thing you wish someone had told you when you were younger?

If I could impart one piece of wisdom to my younger self, it would undoubtedly be the importance of securing a fixed-rate loan when interest rates were historically low, such as the opportunity to fix the loan for five years when rates were at 2%. This financial decision can have a significant impact on one's long-term financial stability and mortgage affordability.

Understanding the intricacies of interest rates and financial planning early in life can empower individuals to make informed decisions that set them on a path to financial security. It's a reminder that even seemingly small financial choices can have a substantial cumulative effect on one's financial well-being over time. Planning for the future, whether through smart borrowing or prudent saving and investing, is a key lesson I've learned and would encourage others to embrace.


What’s the last book you read?

The last book I read was "French Village Book Lovers." This delightful book by Martin Walker takes readers on a journey through the charming villages of rural France. It's a captivating exploration of the intersection between French culture, history, and the love of literature. As someone who values cultural diversity and the enrichment that comes from literature, this book was a delightful and enlightening read. It reinforces the idea that books have the power to connect us with different worlds and broaden our perspectives, much like the diverse and dynamic field of finance, which I'm passionate about.


More daily news:

Good returns article lists some pros and cons to AI use in the financial services industry

The primary test for cervical screening has changed to a HPV test, with the option of self-testing

AIA has released 2022 Claims Data

AIA has released their annual claims data for 2022.

  • 93% of all claims received were accepted.
  • Paid $646.4 million in claims.
  • Broken down this comes to $121.5 million in Health claims, $233.8 million in Life claims, $111 million in Trauma claims, $74.4 million in Income Protection claims and $15.3 million in Total Permanent Disablement claims paid.
  • Over 30,000 health claims were submitted online via the myAIA customer self-service portal.
  • Life insurance accounted for 42% of all claims.
  • For those aged 20 - 29 accidents are the main claim for life cover while the main claim for life cover in those aged 30 - 59 is cancer.
  • Over 815,000 New Zealanders are covered by AIA.

More daily news:

AIA announces major expansion of its gym network

Jon-Paul Hale questions fairness of AIA moving policies after a couple separates

Study finds good financial advice could add almost 6 per cent to New Zealanders’ wealth in 2023

Simon Hofmann, General Manager of Marketing and Brand at Kiwibank recognised as NZ Marketer of the Year

Calls for Pharmac to fund wider range of cancer treatments

Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

8 Sep 2023 - The FMA has agreed in principle to grant an exemption (with conditions) for climate reporting entities who are listed issuers or registered banks from the requirement to include a copy of, or link to, their climate statements in their annual report for a period of two years.

11 Sep 2023 - Parliament’s finance and expenditure committee has called for public submissions on the Employment Relations (Protection for Kiwisaver Members) Amendment Bill.

How intermediaries can prepare for CoFI

MinterEllisonRuddWatts has published an article on how intermediaries can prepare for CoFI.

They define who qualifies as an intermediary and a consumer; outline insurers’ obligations in setting up and maintaining a fair conduct programme; outline what intermediaries can expect financial institutions to ask them for when assessing distribution methods; give examples of what contractual agreements should contain in terms of expectations, commissions, assurances and how to remedy deficiencies; highlight the need to review internal policies.

They make the point that intermediaries which are FAPs warrant a lower level of controls in relation to their distribution arrangements, as they are already regulated and pose a lower level of risk.

If you’re still getting your head around CoFI obligations, we recommend you check it out.

More daily news:

Grant Robertson reconfirms that the NZIIS is still on hold

Registrations open for Financial Advice NZ’s Thrive 2024 Annual Conference 5 – 6 March

Voting for Financial Advice NZ Board Member Director (Risk) is open

Katrina Shanks writes about teaching children financial literacy

Partners Life ‘new adviser’ online training course starts 16 October

MinterEllisonRuddWatts write about opportunities and risks of using generative AI in the insurance industry

Oncologists write an open letter to Pharmac, advocating for newer and better-funded medication

Good Returns looks deeper at insurers following news of withdrawn benefit

Last week we wrote about Southern Cross refuting claims advisers weren’t informed about dropping a $60,000 a year benefit for non-surgical hospitalisations. Good Returns has followed up their earlier enquiries by approaching other insurers to find out their cover levels to see if Southern Cross’ citation of low rate of use was similar across other insurers.

While they were able to find out AIA has an equivalent $500,000 a year cover, nib maximum coverage up to $300,000 a year on Ultimate Health Max, Accuro Smartcare/Smartcare+ has cover up to $300,000 per year and Unimed Hospital Select Plus up to $65,000 per year they weren’t able to get specific claims amounts from any of the insurers aside from Partners Life.

Partners Life’s three largest categories of claim against this benefit last year were cancer, costing $12.4 million in payouts, digestive tract conditions, costing $9.1 million, and investigations and tests, costing $8 million, a stark contrast to Southern Cross’ 2019 review which found the now withdrawn benefit had paid an average of $414 per claim for 801 members and that most of the claims were for IV infusions or overnight accommodation associated with sleep studies.

Southern Cross’ head of customer strategy and experience, Nic Johnson, has previously said

“The majority of medical (or hospitalisation) claims at the time were already covered under existing benefits, such as the surgical procedures, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and diagnostic tests/imaging benefits”.

These benefits “more precisely defined coverage, and, to align with this approach, the non-surgical benefit was repositioned so that it more accurately reflected what members received.”

More daily news:

Southern Cross Health Society and ANZ awarded at the 2023 Red Hat innovation awards

AIA and Fidelity Life awarded Top Insurance Employers 2023

Partners Life has launched medical claims on the Fineos Platform

Chubb appoints Monique Ravening as new Head of Underwriting and Erica Hamer as Business Partnership Manager

Fettle offering members access to private healthcare funded through contributions to a personalised fund

The ICNZ Scholarship is now open for submissions

AIA held its third annual NZ Peak Performance Summit

The New Zealand Underwriting Agencies Council’s (NZUAC) Expo is in October in Auckland

Dunedin Hospital will have to stop training junior cancer doctors because it doesn’t have enough senior staff

Data is plural - international cancer data

The excellent blog, data is plural, publish links to open-source data which may be of interest. One that caught our eye is a link to International cancer statistics.

The World Health Organization’s Global Cancer Observatory provides interfaces to a range of studies and statistics. Its Cancer Today portal features tables, charts, and maps of “incidence, mortality and prevalence for year 2020 in 185 countries or territories for 36 cancer types by sex and age group.” Those figures come from the latest GLOBOCAN estimates, calculated by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer based on data from national and regional registries. Note: “Caution must be exercised when interpreting these estimates, given the limited quality and coverage of cancer data worldwide at present, particularly in low- and middle-income countries,” the researchers warn. Previously: Statistics from the American Cancer Society (DIP 2016.01.27).

This may be especially useful if you want to make comparisons between markets, especially those that you may consider peers, or markets to which we might aspire to be peers with, in terms of cancer treatment and survival rates.

Fidelity have extended their policy fee waiver

Fidelity Life will waive the policy fee of any new eligible policy that is taken out before 31 March 2024.

On Quotemonster all quotes for Fidelity will have no policy fee. To match this to Fidelity’s quoting software, Apollo, simply select “Existing Risk Policy”.

For full terms and conditions, please visit: 



Happy Crunching!

Please feel free to reach out to us on [email protected] if you have any questions. 


Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

6 Sep 2023 - NZ Banking Association publish their regulatory radar for August 2023

6 Sep 2023 - Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Hon Dr Duncan Webb, July 2023 diary released with the following potential financial services sector related meeting noted:

  • 26 July 2023 – Meeting with Insurance Council (CE, President)

7 Sep 2023 - RBNZ publish a speech by Deputy Governor Christian Hawkesby "Towards good governance in the financial system"

7 Sep 2023 - The Privacy Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament this week. The amendment will increase transparency about the collection and use of personal information.

7 Sep 2023 - The Council of Financial Regulators (CoFR) has outlined how they are other members of CoFR's climate change community coordinate on climate-related initiatives within the regulators’ legislative and regulatory mandates. They have produced a diagram depicting the climate change-related work programmes of the respective CoFR agencies and their partners.

Looking to buy a client base?

We are often approached by advisers that are looking to acquire a client base whether we know of any available. Right now we have two. A large book in the central region, under contract, and another book which is available in the Auckland region. The Auckland book includes mainly life and health insurance, but also has some KiwiSaver and general insurance renewals as part of the client base. Please contact us if you would like to register on our buyer's list to hear more about new opportunities as they emerge, please email [email protected].

Report that gives an overview of the New Zealand insurance market published

Duncan Cotterill’s ‘Covering the New Zealand Insurance market 2023’ report has been published, giving an overview of the current market and covering key issues facing insurers. Some key items of interest in the report include:

  • An article on ESG trends and mandatory climate reporting – who it applies to, what do CRE’s have to do, what reporting is required, phased implementation and penalties. They also discuss greenwashing and the recent amendment to The Companies Act 1993 that clarifies that directors can consider matters other than the maximisation of profit when considering the best interests of a company.
  • A discussion on the types of costs or losses usually covered by cyber insurance.
  • A discussion on the approach the Supreme Court has confirmed when interpreting exclusion clauses in insurance policies.

More daily news:

Jon-Paul Hale feels let down by insurers' service delivery

Fidelity Life extend their no policy fees offer to 31 March 2024

Financial Advice NZ webinar 'Proving product suitability - strategies, evidence & client engagement' 20 September

FinTechNZ Innovation Roundtable: Shaping Future Retail Payments 19 September

mySolutions webinar 'Manage your entire AML compliance from one platform' 9am 13 September

Southern Cross Healthcare announce a new partnership - the Southern Cross Healthcare Northland Surgical Centre

Australian advisers and stakeholders outline alternative solutions for life insurance remuneration

Southern Cross responds to accusations it dropped a $60k benefit without informing customers or advisers

Southern Cross has refuted a Good Returns article where advisers complained about not being informed about Southern Cross dropping a $60,000 a year benefit for non-surgical hospitalisations.

Southern Cross removed the non-surgical hospitalisation benefit as part of the Society’s benefit review in 2020, and Southern Cross’ head of customer strategy and experience, Nic Johnson has said that “Members were communicated with at the time of the benefit change.”

Johnson said that Southern Cross advisers were informed of the changes at the time via a virtual meeting, and that the company’s adviser gateway portal to manage their customers’ policies had information on the changes also.
Johnson said

“The original intention of the non-surgical hospitalisation benefit was as a 'catch-all' for eligible healthcare services that required in-hospital medical treatment. Based on a 2019 review of our claims data, which showed that the benefit was not widely utilised, it was assessed that this benefit was no longer fit-for-purpose.”

“The majority of medical (or hospitalisation) claims at the time were already covered under existing benefits, such as the surgical procedures, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and diagnostic tests/imaging benefits.”

We have commented on the change here

Quality Product Research are in the process of conducting a review of the score for the feature, giving Southern Cross time to respond with more details of equivalent benefits being present in other parts of the medical insurance. We will raise the results of the review with our Southern Research Advisory Board next month – and update research subscribers immediately.

More daily news:

Katrina Shanks writes about whether cryptocurrencies are a safe investment

Rob Hennin talks about why he loves working in the insurance sector

Southern Cross funds the ‘Under One Umbrella’ report on mental health and addictions

nib publishes their top five medical claims for July

KiwiSaver topped the $100 billion mark in the June quarter

ASB publish their 2023 Climate Report

Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

31 Aug 2023 - Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) (Improving Mental Health Outcomes) Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament. This bill amends the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act 2022 to better enable the long-term planning and delivery that is required to improve mental health and addiction outcomes.

4 Sep 2023 - RBNZ publish Kerry Beaumont's speech '(Another) Seismic Shift in New Zealand: Banking regulatory reform - the Deposit Takers Act 2023"

4 Sep 2023 - The Department of Internal Affairs has released a statement "If you have not filed your annual AML/CFT report by 31 August 2023, you are in breach of with your legal obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009."

4 Sep 2023 - The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) are running free goAML training sessions in Hamilton and Tauranga on Tuesday 19 September

5 Sep 2023 - A cross-sector thematic review of regulated entities’ governance practices by RBNZ and the FMA has highlighted the need for boards to be focused on continuous improvement to ensure future success.

Pricing updates live on Quotemonster

We can confirm that the rate changes for Accuro and AIA effective 1 September 2023 are now live on Quotemonster.

This includes premium changes to: 

  • Accuro SmartCare and SmartCare+ 
  • AIA Disability Income and Waiver of Premium (DI), Mortgage and Income Protection (MIP), and Waiver on Private Health (PHLTHWA).

Happy Crunching!


Q&A with Akira Yamashita and Satoshi Shimasaki from Partners Life

We’ve had the pleasure of talking to Akira Yamashita, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Satoshi Shimasaki, Deputy Chief of Finance who were both integral to the sale of Partners Life to Dai-ichi Life Holdings, Inc.

Q&A with Akira Yamashita Partners Life Deputy Chief Executive Officer


Could you outline the path your career has taken?

I joined Dai-ichi Life over 25 years ago. I have worked in various companies and countries but I have always worked for the Dai-ichi Life group. My career started in the sales branch office where I was part of the sales promotion team for 3 years. This is where I learned the basics of insurance sales activity. For the next 5 years, I worked as an economist. I forecasted the upcoming economic conditions and researched and analysed certain economic topics. This gave me good experience and the skill set to understand macro-economic insights which is still useful for me when considering various strategies.

In the last 20 years, I’ve been engaged in overseas (from Japan) business. This started from New York for 3 years as corporate administrator, Mumbai (India) for 4 years as the head of financial planning & budget control, Sydney (Australia) for 4 years as manager of the Finance team to support the implementation of strategic initiatives and development of a sound business plan. I also spent time in the head office in Tokyo working on the preparation and implementation of further global governance structure development. In addition, I established an intermediate holding company to create strategic proposals for both the business and talent strategies.

Now I am here in Auckland as Deputy CEO of Partners Life, to bridge the various interactions/relationships between shareholder “Dai-ichi Life Holdings” and Partners Life.


What attracted you to the insurance industry?

I want to spend my working days feeling fulfilled from being engaged with helping people. There are many jobs that can provide this, but I believe more in the business that can provide support in a timely manner when people are struggling or need help. What I like about the Life Insurance industry is that people’s lives might move along with nothing to worry about, but life insurance comes into play when they suffer financially if the person responsible for the household income and expenses has fallen ill or died. Also, these days I’ve found that “health and wellbeing” initiatives are an attractive addition by industry players.


Tell us about your time at Partners Life so far.

It has been almost half a year since I joined Partners Life. I still feel fresh to this organisation and excited to catch up and try new things. The operating and management style of the company is very efficient and effective overall, and this could be worth sharing with our Dai-ichi group companies.


How would you describe the culture at Partners Life?

The decisions we make are always based on “Do the right thing”, which is one of our corporate values. People in Partners Life use their energy to help provide the appropriate outcome to our client, rather than just aiming for our company growth. There is no strong hierarchy but a flat open forum to discuss and decide things, and I see this as a strength of this organisation.


What is one thing you wish someone had told you when you were younger?

No one had told me how much our daily lives would be driven by technology, such as online transactions, and AI coming in to play. I would have been grateful if someone had told me to study science when I was considering my major in university.


Q&A with Satoshi Shimasaki Partners Life Deputy Chief of Finance


Could give us an overview of your career to date?

I’m currently working for the Post Merger Integration at Partners Life, as a liaison officer. Before joining Partners Life, I was the head of M&A at Dai-ichi Life Holdings, responsible for strategic planning and executing M&A in overseas business.

I started my career in international legal practice. After experiencing an internship program at Prudential Financial (US), where I learned the US life and annuity operation, I joined the Planning and M&A team at Dai-ichi HQ. As a core member of the transaction team, I helped achieve multiple deals. My role in the early days was legal/documentation and negotiation, then I gradually expanded my playing field to accounting, finance, and finally, entire project management. I was one of the three negotiation members of Dai-ichi’s iconic M&A in the US back in 2014, and after completing that I spent three years with the M&A team of the US subsidiary. I have a strong connection with the Australian subsidiary’s transaction team, with whom I accomplished two joint M&As in Australia recently. I graduated magna cum laude from Columbia Business School in 2017.


What attracted you to the insurance industry?

While I was at university, the insurance industry seemed to be complicated and this stimulated my passion.


Tell us about your time at Partners Life so far.

Since day one, I’ve been enjoying working with my amazing colleagues. Personally, I love being in Takapuna, which is far different from where I came from (Tokyo & New York).


How would you describe the culture at Partners Life?

Always restless and generous by nature, as shown in the company values. It is like a Cessna plane with a jumbo jet engine.


What is one thing you wish someone had told you when you were younger?

Make a side trip on the way. Don’t rush. Detours sometimes make your life better.


More daily news:

Southern Cross Healthcare has appointed Dr Erica Whineray Kelly as Transformation Lead for Women’s Health

Financial Services Council Board Chair Rob Flannagan will step away from the organisation in December

Complaints to FSCL rose by 25% to 1,349 in the year to 30 June 2023

Government announces commitment to roll out a national multi-agency approach 111 calls for people experiencing mental distress

Voice deepfakes are the latest scammers trick

Beyond Blue have produced a guide to helping people with financial and mental wellbeing challenges get back on track

FSC Young people and the cost of living crisis research launch 28 September

Microinsurance continues to grow globally

Centrix finds Buy now, pay later is the most common first debt product among people under 25

Quality Product Research - Medical: review process commenced for non-surgical hospitalisation

Recently, while traveling, Jon-Paul Hale called our team to discuss the removal of the non-surgical hospitalisation feature in  various health products by Southern Cross, one being Wellbeing, which we currently rate on Quotemonster.

I am deeply grateful to JP for his tireless efforts in identifying issues like this. If you want to explore in more detail what that change is I recommend you look at JP’s article at this link: Southern Cross drops $60k benefit by stealth: agents - Good Returns After that you may also want to take in the response by Southern Cross published at this link: Southern Cross says it told advisers, policyholders of withdrawn benefit - Good Returns

We know that when an insurer makes changes like this one, they may not want to shout it from the rooftops. Our process of research review is all about building regular communication and high levels of engagement to try and make the process of rating a product predictable, trusted, and clear. That means engaging with advisers, insurers, reinsurers, and other industry experts frequently. In fact, we have recently been in touch with all our medical insurers regarding feature weighting and values as part of the medical claims review. We would rather that we picked this up ourselves in 2020, but in the midst of a pandemic and regular lockdowns, this update was missed, however a major review of the benefit has now commenced. Since then, we have welcomed two people into our research team, to bring it to a total of four, and have invested considerably in improving how we approach insurer product changes. We now do a full document comparison, identify, and review any changes, including upgrades or downgrades. Ensuring that these processes will identify material changes in policy terms was one of the main items when we gathered the research team together on Thursday last week. In our review, we will consider comments made by Southern Cross in the media that claims payable in this feature are now covered in other benefits, we also note the dollar limits attached to some of those features. Furthermore, as part of that research meeting, we reviewed recent Statistics New Zealand data which show many tens of thousands of non-surgical private hospital visits, many of which lasted many days.

Our guide to research details the process of investigation, review, and external consultation in full. We will also discuss our review and findings in our next research advisory board meeting, which is coming up in Christchurch.

We highly value getting your feedback on any non-surgical hospitalisation claims you have experienced with any medical insurers, as advisers get to see firsthand how these wordings are being applied to claims.  Any information you can provide will be valuable input to determine the scope of the change required. We look forward to hearing from you.