Risk Product, Company and Regulatory Updates as at 18 April 2018

Product Updates

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TAL offers life coaching for those with mental illness
As part of a new partnership with Remedy Healthcare, TAL will offer free life coaching to policyholders with income protection claims associated with anxiety or depression. Remedy Healthcare’s MindStep program will be added to TAL’s current suite of health support services with claimants who use the service having access to trained mental health coaches.

CommInsure enhances digital underwriting
CommInsure has partnered with underwriting rules engine UnderwriteMe to launch a new digital quote and application process for advisers and their clients. MyApply and MyQuote will replace the existing tools, CALQ and WriteAway.

Adviser education course launched by Asteron
Asteron Life has released a new training program designed to prepare advisers for the introduction of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority’s (FASEA) education standards. The Sophisticated Adviser Program was developed by Asteron Life in conjunction with the Beddoes Institution, the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA), and Kaplan, and was based on the Financial Advice Competency Framework. 

AIA Australia pushes for insurers to fund mental health treatment
AIA Australia has called for a change to legislation to allow life insurers to fund treatment and early intervention for mental health conditions. The insurer openly supports the overhaul of legislation preventing funding for any Medicare-offered treatment, or where a general or hospital treatment is involved. 

MLC launches new underwriting engine
MLC Life Insurance is launching its new digital underwriting platform that will provide clients with a quicker underwriting decision. The new platform will be used to advise retail clients and will be launched into the group life insurance space later in the year.

Predictive underwriting offered to tradies by ANZ
ANZ has introduced a predictive underwriting capability to make applying easier and faster for tradespeople seeking life insurance. ANZ worked with the University of Technology and Sydney Advanced Analytics Institute to analyse 10 years of claims, policy and underwriting data, and looked for any overlapping areas. The program was tested in Victoria and has now been extended across Australia.

Company Updates

CSC partners with Bravura
The Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) has signed a long-term contract with Bravura to implement its Sonata platform as a managed cloud service. The partnership will allow greater efficiency in the administration of disability benefits and claims for death.

Trustee Partners acquires advice group
Trustee Partner has acquired Madison Financial Group from PHAROS Financial Group. The deal includes Madison’s OneVue platform private label WealthPortal, separately managed account provider Proactive Portfolios, and compliance subsidiary AdviceNet.

Regulatory Updates

AMP admits serious misconduct, misleading ASIC
AMP has acknowledged hundreds of misconduct instances in relation to the provision of financial advice between 1 January 2008 and 30 June 2015. AMP has acknowledged 194 events across 14 of its advice licensees where advisers failed to provide the services customers paid for, which resulted in $193,519 being paid in compensation.

AMP has provided evidence suggesting the business deliberately misled ASIC about ongoing fees-for-no-service policies on multiple occasions. There were occasions where AMP had communicated an administrative measure rather than a deliberate business policy.

CBA and subsidiaries enter into EU with ASIC
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has entered into an enforceable undertaking with ASIC in relation to an Advice Fee Refund program. CBA will undertake the following measures:

  • Provide a public update on work completed to address identified issues, following a review
  • Make a community benefit payment of $3 million

CBA has engaged Ernst & Young to independently verify its current service delivery processes met the community and regulatory standards. 

ASIC has also accepted an enforceable undertaking from BW Financial Advice (BWFA) and Commonwealth Financial Planning (CFPL), both subsidiaries of the Commonwealth Bank (CBA). BWFA and CFPL were found to have failed to provide or locate evidence regarding the provision of approximately 31,500 ongoing service annual reviews between the period of July 2007 to June 2017 (CFPL) and November 2010 to June 2015 (BWFA).