Risk Product, Company and Regulatory Updates as at 7 March 2017

Product Updates
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Zurich extends discount bundle
The number of policies and occupations eligible for Zurich's improved bundled premium discount means many more customers are now able to take advantage of the offering. The Zurich SmartValue discount came into effect in 2016 as customers bundled their Wealth Protection Death cover and Income Protection cover. Eligibility requirements state that a customer must combine death cover under a Series 2 Zurich Protection Plus or Superannuation Term Life Plus policy with a new Income Protector or Superannuation Income Protector policy. This then provides a discount of up to 12.5 per cent for the Income Protector policy and up to 15 per cent for the lump sum policy. 

BT Protection Plan platform and suite enhancements
BT Financial Group has made improvements to its life insurance product suite and incorporated life insurance and superannuation into BT Panorama. Advisers can now integrate client life insurance details with BT Panorama Investments, SMSF and Superannuation accounts, track insurance applications and underwriting notes without switching platforms, and view policy information. Accessibility has been improved to LifeCENTRAL, and a simple overview page now available for viewing BT Protection Plans policies funded using a BT Panorama account. 

A new statement has been added to the new product disclosure statement to allow for medical advancements. 

Product changes include:

  • Enhanced medical definitions are now available
    - Deafness (both ears) - permanent and irreparable
    - Deafness (one ear) – permanent and irreparable
    - Aortic surgery – intra-arterial procedure
    - Rheumatoid arthritis (severe) – of specified severity
    - Lung disease – requiring permanent oxygen therapy
    - Brain damage – resulting in permanent impairment (Children’s Benefit)
  • Many specified medical events have been renamed so they are more in line with the definition being offered, offering greater clarity about coverage
  • The terminal illness benefit definition has been upgraded, with the benefit now allowing a payment to be made if death is likely to occur within 24 months, even with reasonable medical treatment

Company Updates
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Clime IM partner with Futuro
Clime Investment Management and Futuro Financial Services have made an agreement whereby Clime uses the licence, operating and compliance services of Futuro to expand its investment, product development and investor education services. A new Clime-flavoured advisory network - Clime Private Wealth - has been created, with the first office opening in Brisbane, and expanding to other cities over 2017. 

Regulatory Updates
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Deloitte: CommInsure claims in the clear
Deloitte's independent review into CommInsure's denied claims has been finalised, stating that there were no systemic issues relating to denied claims, and that there was no evidence that the current or planned improvements to the claims handling processes were set up to deliver poor consumer outcomes.

Out of 797 denied claims, 41 were sent for reassessment. Eight were found to have had a financial impact on the customer, 12 showed that the denial was appropriate but the claim was mismanaged, 10 were appropriately denied without impact to the customer, and 11 are still waiting to be reassessed. Those eight customers who were financially impacted have been compensated. One claim was found to have been unjustly denied, resulting in a payment of $400,000 plus interest. The extensive review was conducted over 10 months.