Risk Product, Company and Regulatory Updates as at 29 May 2018

Product Updates

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MLC Life launches new mental health service
MLC Life has extended its Best Doctors offering, providing customers with a mental health service that offers second medical opinion for diagnosis and treatment plans. The new service is called Mental Health Navigator, and connects policyholders with a mental health nurse at MLC Life who is their point of contact. Medical records are collected, after which a video consultation can be arranged with a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist where required. A report and treatment plan is then generated, with the customer working with the mental health nurse to roll out the treatment. 

TAL providing mental health coaching for claims staff
TAL is to provide mental health coaching for senior staff and claims managers as it makes improvements to mental illness claims. There are two programs being implemented to better understand claimant goals. 

Company Updates

CBA divests Chinese life insurer BoComm
The Commonwealth Bank has announced the sale of its 37.5 per cent stake in Chinese life insurer, BoComm Life Insurance Company, with regulatory approvals. Japanese insurer Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co is buying the stake for $688 million. 

Regulatory Updates

AMP: record class actions filed
Five possible lawsuits are in process against AMP, with Maurice Blackburn and Shine Lawyers now announcing plans for a class action over alleged financial misconduct, and the impact on shareholders. The five law firms also include Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Phi Finney McDonald, and Slater & Gordon. The most class actions against one company was three, so AMP may take out a new record. AMP's market value has been shredded and the company is preparing for possibly very large compensation payouts after customers were charged for decades for services they did not receive. Executives have been found to have lied to and misled the financial regulator for years. 

Westpac found engaging in unconscionable conduct
A Federal Court judge found that Westpac engaged in unconscionable conduct after its involvement in setting the bank bill swap reference rate (BBSW) on four occasions. Westpac traded with the main purpose being to influence yields of traded Prime Bank Bills, with the BBSW set in a way that was favourable to its rate set exposure. Westpac was found lacking with regard to procedures and training, contravening its obligations under the Act. A further hearing on the penalty and relief will be held in the future. 

Both ANZ and NAB have recently been under ASIC's glare with regards to manipulating the BBSW, paying tens of millions of dollars each for breaches, with UBS-AG, BNP Paribas and the Royal Bank of Scotland also previously found with BBSW-related breaches. In May 2018, a new BBSW calculation methodology was implemented, anchoring the benchmark in real transactions at traded prices.