Risk Product, Company and Regulatory Updates as at 8 November 2017

Product Updates

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MLC expands policy discount
MLC Life Insurance has extended the eligibility to include clients that hold multiple policies with the insurer, with some enhanced benefits relating to certain trauma definitions. Amendments include lowering the minimum sum insured amounts under MLC Insurance (Super) when income protection insurance is bundled with TPD insurance and life cover, and extending the offer of a platform discount to all E-rollover accounts.

These enhancements include making terminal illness benefits payable within 24 months (instead of 12 months) when the terminal illness will lead to death. Signs and symptoms of a heart attack are now accepted as proof that a heart attack has occurred, and no set time limits for benefits to be paid for subsequent angioplasty procedures.

GPS robo-adviser launched
Co-founders Josh Golombick and Greg Einfeld have launched Plenty Wealth, an online adviser that combines human advice and automated advice. Golombick and Einfeld said Plenty Wealth provides a service that acts like a GPS service that tracks financial goals, covering automated advice from insurance to budgeting, cash flow, property, and investments.

OneCare offering mental health support
ANZ will begin offering mental health support to OneCare customers who lodge income protection claims that relate to anxiety or depression. Support will be offered by Remedy Healthcare under a pilot scheme that will provide tailored, complementary, phone-based support and access to registered nurses to visit policy holders at home, and guide them through their claims process.

LIF resource launched by ANZ
ANZ Wealth has launched an online resource that will help advisers prepare for the Life Insurance Framework (LIF) reforms. The online hub will provide guidance on how the OneCare commissions are to be paid, how transition will work, detail key deadlines, and highlight ongoing service enhancements and technology. The reforms are due to come into effect on 1 January 2018.

Company Updates

OneVue sells RE business
OneVue signed an agreement to sell its responsible entity business, which will be acquired by Equity Trustees for $3.5 million.

AMP rolls out enhanced advice business
AMP is to roll out the next incarnation of its goals-based financial advice business that will use real-time modelling to demonstrate the consequences of client’s choices. The modelling engine was built by actuarial firm Milliman.

Victorian presence boosted by Elders
Elders Financial Planning has added Directional Financial Planning from Trafalgar, Victoria, to its business. This follows the news that IOOF will acquire ANZ Wealth’s aligned dealer groups, which includes Elders.

Regulatory Updates

ASIC suspends AFS licence
ASIC has suspended the Australian financial services (AFS) licence of M.J. Wren and Co until 16 October 2018. MJ Wren ceased providing financial services in May 2017 after ASIC identified they had failed to comply with the requirements set out in the market integrity rules.

Financial advice firm to pay penalty
Financial advice firm NSG Services has had a civil penalty imposed upon them by the federal court for breaches of the best interests duty that was introduced under the Future of Financial Advice reforms. This is a first. 

ACCC insurance inquiry forms
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will be hosting a series of public forums to allow consumers to directly share their concerns. This is part of the ACCC inquiry into the supply of contents, residential building, and strata insurance in northern Australia.

Wellness message taken to Canberra
The life insurance sector is taking its message of the importance of improving health and wellbeing in Australia to Canberra, with the formation of the Parliamentary Friends of Insurance Group. The group is being created by the Financial Service Council with its launch event promoting awareness and understanding of how insurers can improve the health of their policy holders.