Experienced and reliable insurance administrator available, North Shore and city

Financial advisers that may be looking for a full-time insurance administrator should give me a call. A friend of mine is looking for work in this line, has 30 years experience in a variety of insurance related roles, most recently with busy advice offices. She also has a wider range of small business management skills so brings a range of skills for assisting in the general management of the business as well. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Drop me an email or call for details. 


COVID-19 Crisis will have diverse impacts on health and insurers

Members of parliament listened to the stories New Zealanders shared about their struggles and hardship during an Epidemic Response Committee meeting recently. No accounting of costs and benefits can be done in full for some years. The purpose of this post is not to attempt that. I acknowledge that a trade-off was made between the numbers that would become sick and die directly from COVID-19, indirectly from a poorly-managed response to the epidemic, against those that may suffer a similar fate because of restrictions due to the control measures. On balance, I prefer the control measures taken - as severely negative effects (more sickness and more death) are associated with a range of alternatives. However, the purpose of this post is rather to explore the impact on customers of insurance companies, and therefore the likely claim impact on insurers.

 

Death claims are much higher in markets where there has been a delayed or poorly managed response to the epidemic. Take the example of Lombardy, detailed in this news. Deaths from out of hospital cardiac arrests rose sharply, as people deferred or tried to avoid treatment, and possibly, some were simply unable to receive emergency treatment in time. Cancer treatment would likely have been affected similarly - as it has been in the UK, with some patients missing chemotherapy appointments, probably, in part, due to fear of visiting hospitals where there are a lot of COVID-19 patients. These all have an impact on insurers - as shown in these reported results from Europe: pandemic takes its toll on insurers’ first quarter results.

 

But that doesn't mean we have avoided all the negative effects of the pandemic. Various tests and treatment were deferred to ensure sufficient capacity in hospitals for the epidemic and they will take time to restart, let alone catch up. See: some DHBs weeks away from restarting breast cancer screening. Take cancer care: delays in diagnosis and treatment, for example, are likely to have some effects. In this news piece one patient explains the treatment delay and how they are now seeking treatment privately so that they will not have to wait. Inevitably in a large pool of people where diagnosis and treatment are delayed there will be some increase in cancers at a later stage and some increase in deaths. The difference between the effect of death claims from COVID-19 and those that may arise due to treatment delays is probably in three dimensions, time, scale, and age of the person affected. A COVID-19 death would tend to happen quickly, soon after the time of infection, compared to the cancer death that will emerge over a period of up to two years. The age of the person affected is likely to be younger, but the scale of people affected should be much smaller than the numbers that could have been affected by an un-managed outbreak. 

 

Three scenarios can be constructed. One was the expected claims budget for 2020 before the pandemic. It is the budget baseline. Then there is the possible scenario without effective management. Then there is the likely current scenario compared to the baseline. It seems clear that the 'saving' due to lower death claims from COVID-19 is probably large. But it not clear that the small reduction in deaths and injury due to fewer road accidents and workplace deaths may not be sufficient to off-set the other indirect affects of the COVID-19 crisis. At present, as explored in this blog post, the death rate is running slightly above last year. I think I would still expect higher claims for 2020 for life, trauma, and IP products as per this post. 

 

In other news:

Pandemic will reset all markets, economist says

Pricing strategy – choices and their meanings

Australia: Financial planners have proven incapable of self-regulation, but can FASEA stop the client rorts?

 

 


Advice Logic

It was great fun to be a guest of Partners Life at their online mini-conference. Kris Ballantyne, GM Marketing and Product, and Tim von Dadelszen, GM Digital and Innovation to talk about advice logic: the science behind giving advice, why process is important, and evidence-based concepts for setting sums insured. Partners Life has published the session, which you can view here: 

https://player.vimeo.com/video/415385322 

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Working on the content for this session included talking with advisers who are passionate about giving good advice in a way that has rigour and a basis that can stand scrutiny. I particularly appreciate the input and challenges from Royden Shotter, Anand Srinivasan, and Jeremy Bernstein, although there are many more that routinely contribute to the subject. 


FSCL reports a breach in privacy

The Financial Services Complaints Ltd has reported a breach of privacy. Susan Taylor has stated that email correspondence between a case manager and clients had been accessed by a third party. FSCL has apologised and acknowledged the need for unique passwords.

That information had then been used to send phishing emails to those people, intended to look like official FSCL emails.

They directed people to click on a link that asked for a username and password.

 

Taylor said it was believed only a very small number of consumers would be affected.

 

“However, it is possible that the third party accessed other data, including your emails to and from FSCL,” she said.” Click here to read more

In other news:

Financial advisers should get Budget boost: Shanks

Robo-adviser waives fees to prevent market 'gambling'

AMP: AMP puts stop to wealth management sale plans

What types of claims are costing insurers during lockdown?

FMA and XRB identify key audit matters in insurance sector


Make better videos

Although business adaptability is a key component of success, adviser businesses were reminded how crucial digital communication is when they could no longer physically meet with clients during Level 4. Building long-lasting relationships is key in any adviser business. Building relationships and trust can be done through storytelling. You now have the opportunity to learn how to craft entertaining, inspiring and engaging story videos using their mobile phones. Even if you can’t talk to clients and prospects face to face, you’ll have these useful resources to share with them.

“This course has been designed to fit the ever increasing demands and pressures that you're now facing. In other words, you can do this whole course, in your own home, in your own time, in bite size chunks wherever and whenever you manage to get a minute to yourself. Be that in the laundry, the bathroom or tucked up in bed wearing your PJs.

 

Wherever you are, in this course, you'll get to watch presentations from award-winning TV Directors, Producers and Editors, so that you can

refine your storytelling skills.

Benefits of the taking this course:

  • Market your business or idea
  • Build connections within your organisation
  • Make educational videos for your classes or teams
  • Sell a product or even a house
  • Inspire others with your personal stories
  • Create mementos of your time in lock down for years to come
  • Or simply create special messages for Granny and Grandpa to let
  • them know that you love and care for them?"

Click here to enrol in the course

Click here to find out more

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Fidelity Life on track to resume normal activity

“Labtests, Med Lab and many other labs are now back up and running for insurance-related blood work. 

 

Some GPs who were unavailable during the level 4 lockdown are also now resuming limited services, including for insurance medicals. 

 

Please note there may be limited availability for insurance-related blood work and medical exams. We recommend your customers phone ahead to ensure their chosen lab is open and they’re able to make an appointment.”

As a result, Fidelity Life are able to begin getting back to normalcy. 

“Now that lab services have resumed, we can start requesting the blood tests needed to progress pending cases. Our Underwriting team will go back over your pending cases and request these tests, however you’re also welcome to get in touch so we can action these promptly.”  

 

In other news:

SiFA: CoFI needs complete rewrite

Southern Cross: Health insurer Southern Cross charts course for clearing surgery backlog

AMP: AMP reports severe coronavirus hit

Partners Life: Lessons Of Resilience And How Saying “No” Is Part Of The Journey

AIA: Dealer groups should strengthen: AIA

Advisers say client engagement is "significantly up"

RBNZ: Advisers back removal of LVR restrictions


Southern Cross report on the effect COVID-19 has had on members

Southern Cross has reported that more than 1,000 of their policyholders have applied for the premium relief for redundancy and loss of income policies that the insurer has introduced. To better accommodate customer needs Southern Cross has been working alongside members to understand their needs during this time.

“Nick Astwick, Southern Cross Health Society CEO, says the company has redoubled its relief benefit offerings to all its customers, and “softened” the initial eligibility requirements to reflect customers’ growing need for financial relief. He also noted that while Southern Cross does not cover for acute care, it would still cover for any potential aftereffects experienced by affected customers.

“We’re here to compliment the services provided by New Zealand’s public health system, so there’s no cover in our policies for acute care,” Astwick explained.” Click here to read more

In other news:

Tower: Tower follows AA Insurance's coronavirus lockdown profit pledge

nib: nib Joins Forces With Top Footy Talent To Ignite Wellbeing Conversation

How insurers are supporting their advisers during lockdown

Insurers weigh up pandemic impact

Fidelity Life: Millennials Most Anxious About Post-Covid-19 Future As App Launched To Support NZers’ Wellbeing


Westpac's strategic refocus and environmental commitment

At times like this, it is not uncommon for businesses to consider strategic restructuring. This has been the case for Westpac, who are considering redirecting their attention and resources to their core products. Group CEO Peter King has stated that Westpac is also committed to the Paris Agreement and is looking to reduce carbon emissions.

"Westpac is open to selling its general and life insurance businesses as the lender looks to put in more resources to rebuild its core banking operations.

 

The banking group revealed the possible divestment plan today in its half-year financial results, which show cash earnings tanking by 70% from a year earlier to $993 million and statutory net profit slumping 62% to $1.19 billion.

 

Westpac blames the poor results on the fallout from the virus pandemic disruption and impairment charges for a money laundering scandal.

 

Group CEO Peter King says the insurance units and other non-core operations such as superannuation will be moved to a new Specialist Businesses division with a strategic review of their future to follow in coming months." Click here to read more

In other news:

Instant Finance: Former AIA head of sales and distribution joins Instant Finance

Tower: Familiar face moves into general insurance

Asteron Life: Tech adoption a pandemic positive: Hill

NZ Funds: NZ Funds picks up Partners software


Partners Life determined to closely monitor adviser performance

Partners Life is now working to better understand the performance of advisers. The insurer is evaluating the performance of advisers at this time by surveying clients and marking the reported performance of advisers against a set matrix.

“Partners Life has begun collecting data from clients about how advisers are performing against its Customer Outcomes Matrix.

This forms part of its new commission structure. Advisers who are shown to be delivering superior service for their clients will receive more remuneration.

The matrix covers six indicators of adviser performance: Customer advice complaints; the initial advice process; replacement advice process; cancellation advice; non-disclosure and misstatements at claim time; and service activity.

Under new rules, insurers will have to be able to show that they have clear monitoring of the conduct of all those involved in the product distribution process, from manufacture to after-sale follow-up.” Click here to read more

In other news:

Former Newpark boss 'working to support advisers'

Financial advice regime delay: what happens next?

How advisers are engaging with their clients in today's "new normal"

FMA: FMA Warns Adviser About Misleading Claims

Insurers pay out close to $20 million after Southland flooding