Risk Product, Company and Regulatory Updates as at 6 November 2018

Product Updates

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ClearView upgrades LifeSolutions
The ClearView LifeSolutions product suite has seen upgrades, with a focus on returning to work and health. Some barriers to getting well and back to work that have been removed include adjustments to the returning to work rules during the waiting period, and getting claimants into rehabilitation benefits from the first day of disability for income. Trauma medical definitions have been renamed for simpler reading, with some definitions updated. The ‘terminal illness’ definition is now a 24-month definition.

Asteron Life product update
An update to Asteron Life Complete product suite has been implemented, with changes including:

  • Stand alone total and permanent disability cover is now available under the Suncorp Master Trust Ownership

  • When the proposed TPD sum insured is more than life cover required, and Asteron Life issues a stand alone policy, the policy fee will be waived

  • The severe rheumatoid arthritis definition has been updated

  • Some terms and conditions have been updated for clarity, applying only to new customers

MLC offering 10 per cent premium discounts via digital underwriting platform
MLC Life is offering a 10 per cent discount on premiums for the first year and five per cent for the second year for clients purchasing life insurance via its digital underwriting platform. Applications must be lodged via an adviser through the platform between 5 November 2018 and 5 May 2019.

Company Updates

Tasplan appoints MetLife as group insurer
MetLife is now to deliver group insurance to Tasplan’s 145,000 industry superannuation fund members.

AMP risk business closed after sale
AMP’s life insurance business is to be sold to UK-based Resolution Life, and as a result, will soon be closed to new business. Branding was likely to be changed after 2020. The transaction included $3.3 billion, and is to take until mid-2019. The New Zealand side of the business is to be reinsured by Swiss Re.

Regulatory Updates

New life insurance reporting standards launched
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has added a new reporting standard to the life insurance industry to allow high-quality, comparable data on claims and disputes. The Life Insurance Reporting Standard Claims and Disputes, set up originally by ASIC and APRA, will make mandatory reporting data available regarding outcomes of insurance claims.

ASIC inviting consultation on proposed licensee competence requirements
ASIC has released a consultation paper on organisational competence requirements for advice licensees as part of the professional standard reform. This paper comes after the FASEA draft guidance published recently. ASIC wants advice licensees to have at least one responsible manager who has passed the financial adviser exam, satisfy the degree requirement that applies to existing financial advisers, and meet CPD requirements. Submissions close 6 December 2018.

TAL Accelerated Protection upgrades
TAL has made some changes to its Accelerated Protection product suite, including:

  • Reduced life and TPD premiums

  • Increased critical illness and income protection premiums

  • Reinstatement of policy fees

  • New TPD cover continuation option for white collar occupations to allow up to $1 million of any occupation cover up to age 70

  • Twenty-two critical illness definitions updated

  • Child critical illness product introduced

  • Business expense with income protection cover updated to cover sole traders and fixed/variable business expenses, and removed the requirement for profit and loss statements in most cases

AFA and FPA apply for Code Monitoring job
The Financial Planning Association and the Association of Financial Advisers have both lodged expressions of interest with ASIC to be Code Monitoring Bodies. All advisers must be part of such a body by 2020.

Life insurers stop using genetic testing in applications
A five-year moratorium on genetic test result use in life insurance applications is to be introduced. Limits on cover may still apply. The Financial Services Council (FSC) announced that the moratorium will start on 1 July 2019 and run for five years until 30 June 2014.

This gives insurers time to update application forms, algorithms, systems, manuals and train staff. Limits to cover where policyholders do not have to disclose adverse test results are $500,000 for lump sum payouts for death and total and permanent disability, while limits are set at $200,000 for trauma and $4,000 a month for income protection.

Favourable genetic tests can be allowed to show the absence of a gene pattern of an inheritable illness. Preventative treatment must be considered by the insurer.