Risk Product, Company and Regulatory Updates as at 16 May 2017

Product Updates

CommInsure enhances underwriting
CommInsure has enhanced underwriting services with the introduction of a new phone interview service and underwriting rule updates. A team now exists to collect all underwriting information required in one phone call, and advisers can request and collect information from customers directly when completing their personal statement for life insurance. Underwriting rules have been updated to increase auto-acceptance to include loadings and exclusions, and reduce unnecessary referrals inside WriteAway. 

AIA Australia - new term level premiums
AIA Australia is to offer level premiums with five, 10 and 15-year terms over Priority Protection lump sum policies. Level premiums are classified into a new feature, Term Level, available across life and linked TPD and/or crisis recovery benefits. This may offer a cost benefit to customers. Discounts apply for bundling and for AIA Vitality enrolment. 

Zurich risk product updates
Zurich Australia is implementing changes across Zurich Wealth Protection, Active and Sumo product lines from mid-May. Changes include:

Zurich Wealth Protection - Lump Sum

  • TPD cover options altered to fit into Essential TPD and Platinum TPD with definitions taken from the former Zurich/Macquarie FutureWise product. Option of Own, Any, Domestic Duties or Modified TPD definitions. Access to partial impairment benefits for Platinum options.
  • Basic trauma option removed, two new cover levels offered - Extended Trauma and Platinum Trauma. Platinum Trauma offers a 25 per cent partial benefit (previously available as a top-up option). Extended Trauma option remains with 10 per cent partial benefit payment. 
  • Updated trauma definitions applied, including trauma definition updates, also including the definition of terminal illness to include 'death within 24 months' (was 12 months), with updated SIS regulations. 
  • Protection Plus buy-back options are now offered as extra cost options. 
  • Business future insurability event added for increases in business loans. 
  • Premium holiday option broadens to become more flexible. 

Zurich Wealth Protection - Income Protection

  • Total and partial disability definition for the Income Protector product (not Plus) no longer requires total disability for the waiting period, but five consecutive days of total disability. 
  • Total and partial disability definitions clarified. 
  • New trauma advancement option within income protection introduced.
  • Agreed value policies now pay at least what would be paid under indemnity cover. 

Zurich Wealth Protection - General Updates

  • Superannuation optimiser introduced.
  • Child cover benefits packaged into separate stand-alone policies (replaces extra-cost cover options).
  • Zurich Wealth Protection now taking on FutureWise Business Expenses product as a stand-alone product option with a maximum insured benefit of $60,000 per month. 

Zurich Active, Zurich Sumo - General Updates

  • Zurich FutureWise no longer on sale from August 2017, with some upgrades applying to existing policyholders from 15 May. 
  • Commissions of former Macquarie products have been adjusted to be in line with Zurich Wealth Protection range. 
  • Introduction of new income protection and child cover options inside Zurich Active. 
  • Terminal illness definitions updated in line with SIS regulations. 
  • Trauma definitions updated. 
  • Passbacks apply to existing policyholders for new events. 

Company Updates

AZ Next Gen acquires accounting firm
Advice network AZ Next Generation Advisory has purchased full-service accountancy firm Peters and Partners. Peters and Partners has been providing AZNGA accountancy services for some time, which then morphed into the current opportunity. 

Regulatory Updates

Government creates one finance industry dispute resolution body
The government has rolled up the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman, and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal, into one body - the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). The changes are a result of the Ramsey Review recommendations, of which 11 have been accepted. There will be a monetary limit of $1 million and a compensation cap of $500,000. All decisions are binding to all Australian Financial Services licensees. 

Insurance claim data collection begins
ASIC and APRA have started the process of collecting life insurance claim data under a pilot scheme that runs through to 2018, with three sets of data to be collected during that time. The pilot is the result of a previous review that found the industry needed more consistent and transparent data when it came to insurance claims.