How to be more productive in a new hybrid work environment.

How to be more productive in a new hybrid work environment.

How to be more productive in a new hybrid work environment.

After more than a year of working from home, Australian businesses and workers are now considering what the workplace will look like in 2022. Some are debating whether employees will be compelled to return to the workplace, given a choice to work from home permanently, or allowed to adopt a hybrid method that incorporates both.

Several businesses have chosen to invite workers back into the office, allowing them to establish hybrid work arrangements that enable people to work remotely (at least part-time).

But while having two separate workspaces one in the office and another at home – has its advantages, it also has its drawbacks. So, how can you maintain the same level of enthusiasm and productivity when working in two spaces? And how can you keep organised and guarantee that you always have access to everything you need to ensure you’re working both comfortably and productively, whilst having a work-life balance?

Creating a productive hybrid work environment

Here are some tips for navigating the hybrid work-from-home landscape as seamlessly as possible in 2022.

1. Set up your home office in the same way you do at work. 

Your workstation should feel comfortable, relaxed, and natural no matter where you are. Making the different work areas as similar as possible—especially in terms of organisation and ergonomics—is just one way of reducing the friction of managing multiple workplaces. Our brains benefit from consistency and familiarity because they help us focus on the essentials.

Our top things that everyone should have on their desk:

    • Headphones (ideally noise-cancelling ones);
    • A universal charging station for all your devices;
    • Backup storage (flash drives);
    • An organiser for your office supplies (paper, pens, etc);
    • A task lamp (for the night owls); and
    • Framed photos of your kids, pets, or friends.

2. Make yourself accountable. 

While working from home has it’s benefits, frequent Zoom meetings can be very overwhelming and even stressful at times. To avoid burnout and missing any valuable information from your client meetings, consider recording your calls – it also helps for compliance purposes. It can save you time and adds an extra benefit for your client – their own personal recording to listen to your advice at any time. Just remember to ask permission before you press the Record button!


3. Make technology work for you. 

Integrity Life’s award-winning Adviser Portal allows Advisers to quote and apply for insurance with ease. Client authorities and declarations are done online, as are the offer and acceptance of Revised Terms.

This means no wet signatures are required during the application process, with the exception of Binding Beneficiary Nominations when taking out insurance within Integrity’s Here for You Super Plan.

You also have the option to send the Personal Statement to your clients via the Adviser Portal so they can complete it in their own time. We’ll let you know when the information has been completed so you can check it and submit the application. While we know this isn’t a solution for everyone, it can work for some clients. We’ve found that around 50% of our Advisers use this feature in 40% of cases and experience a 100% completion rate. This is (in part) because we do all the follow-up to ensure the forms are completed and because extensive user-testing means the forms are simple and easy for clients to complete.


4. Go for a hybrid approach to engage and secure new clients. 

While some clients still prefer in-person meetings, others may be unwilling to attend due to physical distance constraints and potential health hazards. Set goals in deciding on the right meeting format according to your client’s preference and plan a hybrid approach to meet your client’s expectations.

Lastly, engage your potential clients by employing low-cost digital marketing strategies to direct these opportunities to you. A simple email marketing funnel or a sequence of emails sent on a predefined schedule to your potential client leads might help keep them engaged. Use this opportunity to give your clients an update on what’s happening in the industry and how it can impact them, including the changes made to  Income Insurance products.

Because the pandemic has changed many customers’ perspectives on where they’ll live and work in the next five years and how near they feel they need to be to their Advisers, Advisers should consider digital solutions to attract and maintain clients.

Most individuals are unfamiliar with hybrid work, so keep experimenting with your ways of working.

So, why not give some of these strategies a try?

Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom

It’s time to cut through the noise on Income Insurance.

It’s time to cut through the noise on Income Insurance.

It’s time to cut through the noise on Income Insurance.

To say there has been a lot of ‘noise’ across the industry since the launch of the new IDII products in October 2021 would be an understatement. With the conversations focused heavily on product features and definitions and how they compare against previous iterations. While important especially when considering existing clients and their circumstances, the more critical conversation is about how advisers will adjust their ‘house view’ on Income Insurance as a result of these changes and have the changes gone far enough to ensure the future of Income Insurance as a sustainable product option.

The sustained financial losses experienced across the industry have been widely document and speak for themselves. APRA is a prudential regulator not a product regulator, however they were compelled to step in and take action as a result of their assessment about the overall strength and sustainability of the industry from an Income Insurance perspective. APRA’s intervention was unprecedented and far reaching. No one in the life insurance ecosystem (clients, advisers and insurers) have been immune from the impact associated with the poor experience seen across the industry over the past number of years. No single insurer was going to be able to facilitate the necessary change, hence the reason for APRA’s intervention.

APRA’s intervention was based on one key principle – sustainability. It’s important to note this isn’t just a product and pricing change – it’s a holistic change including philosophy, approach & strategy, operational practices, risk and governance, along with data management. There has been a lot of debate in the market about why and how we got to this point, and while this is interesting the reality is that if these changes didn’t occur, it’s unlikely we would have Income Insurance products in the future.

APRA’s expectations combined with the Actuaries Institute’s IDII Reference Product and Sustainability Guide laid out some clearly defined “guardrails” for insurers in respect to product design and pricing that were about re-setting the product back to its fundamental purpose. Providing financial support by replacing part of a client’s regular income if they are unable to work due to accident, illness or injury.

Interpretation of these ‘guardrails’ has been mixed and varied across insurers but ultimately APRA will be considering whether the industry has delivered on what it was asked to do and assess accordingly in early 2022.

The days of the industry seeing most applications being submitted on maximum Monthly Benefit amounts, 30 Day Waiting Periods, to Age 65 Benefit Periods at the cheapest price may well be changing. IDII products in the market now are all quite different and determining which product is most appropriate becomes more subjective than ever. Therefore, considering how Income Insurance will be used in the advice process is something that needs a conscious rethink by advisers moving forward. Matching shorter term Income Insurance benefit periods such as 2 & 5 years with complementary lump sum covers is expected to be part of the considerations that advisers will make as a result of the changing landscape.

As an industry, we all have a collective responsibility to ensure Income Insurance products exist to support people when they need it most. However, we need to step up our game and not go back to the ‘old ways’ and more traditional mindsets. What was done in the past won’t work in the future. The longer the benefit period, the greater the uncertainty and the higher the risk of future premium increases.

Now is the time for advisers to contemplate what these changes mean for their insurance ‘house view’ moving forward and challenge the conventional thinking about Income Insurance as the world as we knew it has now changed forever. While this may be our collective reality, the one thing that remains consistent is the need for and the value of professional insurance advice.

Russell Hannah

Russell Hannah

General Manager Sales, Marketing & CX.

Your questions answered on Income Insurance.

Your questions answered on Income Insurance.

Your questions answered on Income Insurance.

1. Why has Income Insurance changed?
APRA requires all Individual Disability Income Insurance policies be reviewed with product design features implemented where there is:

  • Requirement to significantly improve sustainability
  • An increased focus on return to work. This is being addressed through reduced income replacement ratios combined with greater emphasis on rehabilitation and retraining initiatives
  • Enhanced product controls for long term benefit periods; and
  • Mechanism to update product terms.

Integrity has always acted in a way that ensures the long-term sustainability of our products, our business and our industry.

2. What are the key differences between the October 1 Income Insurance product, and your previous one?
We have designed our product to have as much flexibility as possible so that Advisers can tailor it to suit the specific needs of their clients.

Income Insurance
Total Disability and Partial Disability Definitions
Multi-tier definition.
One definition.
Income Replacement Ratio (IRR)
A choice of IRRs being 70% IRR, 60% IRR and 50% IRR + an option to ‘Top Up’ the Total Disability where the 50% IRR or 60% IRR are chosen.
Choice of Features
Built-in features such as CPI Rate Increase and Claims Indexation.
Ability to customise cover to the needs of clients with three costed options, being the Claim Benefit Indexation option, Super Contribution Cover option and Total Disability Top Up option.

3. What are your Total Disability and Partial Disability Definitions? Why have the Totally Disability and Partial Disability definitions changed?
Integrity Life has always been committed to supporting rehabilitation and retraining. Our new definitions support claimants on their return-to-work journey and offer greater certainty on how they may meet the definition of Total Disability or Partial Disability.

For the first 24 months of a claim, we will assess Total Disability as inability of the Life Insured to perform their Occupation. Beyond the first 24 months of a claim, Total Disability is assessed as the Life Insured’s inability to undertake Suitable Work which they are reasonably suited by way of education, training or experience.

Total Disability within the initial 24 months of Total Disability, solely as result of a sickness or injury, the Life Insured is:

  • not working in their Occupation and does not have Work Capacity to undertake Suitable Work; and
  • under the regular care and following the advice of a Medical Practitioner in relation to the sickness or injury causing Total Disability; and
  • meeting the requirements of their Recovery Management Plan.

Total Disability where the Life Insured has been Totally disabled for 24 months or more, Total Disability solely as result of a sickness or injury, the Life Insured is:

  • not working in their Occupation or in any other occupation for which they are reasonably suited by way of education, training or experience, and they do not have the Work Capacity to undertake Suitable Work; and
  • under the regular care and following the advice of a Medical Practitioner in relation to the sickness or injury causing Total Disability; and
  • meeting the requirements of their Recovery Management Plan.

Partial Disability Solely due to sickness or injury the Life Insured is:

  • not working to their full work capacity in Suitable Work; and
  • working to full Work Capacity for less than 32 hours per week in Suitable Work; and
  • earning Monthly Earnings of less than 80% of their Pre-Disability Income; and
  • under the regular care and following the advice of a Medical Practitioner in relation to the sickness or injury which caused Partial Disability;
  • is no longer able to earn their Pre-Disability Income solely as a result of a sickness or injury; and
  • meeting the requirements of their Recovery Management Plan.

Suitable Work at claim inception relates to the claimant’s regular occupation prior to disablement.

If you are not working to your full Work Capacity, partial disablement is determined based on your Work Capacity assessed by us.

4. How will income be assessed?
Income will be assessed based on three components: Earned Income, Passive Income and Unaffected Business Income. For the definition of each of these components, refer to Integrity’s Here for You PDS.

In the event of a claim, we’ll take the average Monthly Earnings for the 12 months immediately prior to the date the insured became ill or injured. However, if the insured’s income is subject to material monthly or seasonal variation and has varied by 20% or more in the 36 months prior to becoming ill or injured, we’ll take the average Monthly Earnings for the 36 months.

5. What are the key benefits of the Integrity product?
In designing our 1 October Income Insurance product, we consulted with Advisers and Licensees as part of our ‘Listen, Learn, Act’ framework and the key element they asked for was flexibility in the product design. As such, our 1 October Income Insurance product offers choice across Income Replacement Ratio, Waiting Period, and Payment Period. This allows Advisers to customise the product so that provides for their client’s best interests.

The product also provides the option of a Total Disability Top Up option which is available with selected Income Replacement Ratios (50% and 60% IRRs). When selected, we will increase the Total Disability monthly benefit for a maximum of six months for any one claim.

In addition to this, from 6 September 2021, we have removed premium loadings for policies paid monthly. These range from around 7-8% in additional premium loading across the industry.

6. Where a 1 year or 2 year Waiting Period is chosen, why does Integrity Life require cover to be in place with an equivalent benefit period?
Where a client chooses a 1- or 2-year Waiting Period, we now require them to have an income protection policy in place with Integrity or another insurer with a benefit period equivalent to the chosen Waiting Period. This requirement ensures that should they lodge a claim, the client has been undergoing rehabilitation, retraining and other return-to-work initiatives during the timeframe.

7. Why is the Superannuation Contribution Cover now capped at 10%?
Our Income Insurance design seeks to ensure the claim benefit paid does not exceed the financial loss suffered. In the case of superannuation, this meant aligning the maximum insurable amount with the government-mandated amount of superannuation contribution. The superannuation guarantee is currently 10%.

8. Why does the Top Up apply to Total Disability and not Partial Disability?
The Top-Up option is designed to top up the Total Disability benefit in the initial 6 months where a claim is being paid for Total Disability, as there is an increased level of costs associated with the Total Disability. The Total Disability Top Up option will not be payable where a claimant is Partially Disabled as they will continue to receive an income.

9. How does the Total Disability monthly Top Up option work?
If a customer selects the Total Disability monthly Top Up option and becomes Totally Disabled, during the first 6 months of claim, the monthly benefit will be “topped up” in accordance with their selected IRR as follows:

IRR Top-up amount
70% Not available.
  • The monthly benefit will increase by 16.67% subject to a maximum Income Replacement Ratio of 70%.
  • Where the IRR 60% has been chosen and the Total Disability monthly benefit payable in a month is $6,000 (from Pre-Disability Income of $10,000 per month), the Total Disability Top Up benefit would be $1,000 – so it tops up the total benefit payable in that month to $7,000.
  • The monthly benefit will increase by 20% subject to a maximum Income Replacement Ratio of 60%.
  • For example, where the IRR 50% has been chosen and the Total Disability monthly benefit payable in a month is $5,000 (from Pre-Disability Income of $10,000 per month), the Total Disability Top Up benefit would be $1,000 – so it tops up the total benefit payable in that month to $6,000.

10. After October 1, 2021, can someone with an existing Income Insurance product change to the new Income Insurance product without the need for underwriting?
Yes, providing there is no increase in risk – meaning the Payment Period, Waiting Period or Cover Amount do not increase at the time the change occurs. We will require confirmation of income at the time of the change is requested.

11. Are there any new considerations to the role of Total and Permanent Disability Cover and Critical Illness Cover in light of the new Income Insurance product?
The changes to Income Insurance cover in many ways help clarify the role of the various cover types. For example, Income Insurance is a temporary measure to help clients keep their households ‘running’ while ill or injured and unable to work (eg: ensuring bills are paid and day to day expenses are taken care of). On the other hand, the lump sum covers are designed to support clients adjusting to a new normal and cover material, and unexpected medical costs.

To support Advisers in meeting the needs of their clients, we have created this short article on “Income Insurance product structuring with lump sum cover post October 1.”

12. How does Integrity support clients in returning to work?
Our Claims teamwork with claimants and their Medical Practitioners to create personalised Recovery Management Plans, drawing from the expertise and skills of third-party rehabilitation providers. We help get someone on claim back to work through connecting them with the right rehabilitation and recovery support. You can read more about our Claims Philosophy here “Return to work, return to wellness”.

13. If a client needs to make a claim, what do I need to know about the new product to assist them?
Our Claims Philosophy and approach has not changed with the introduction of the new Income Insurance product. Our Claims team continue to approach claims with a customer-centric mindset, working with claimants and rehabilitation and retraining providers to reach the best outcome, appropriate to their conditions and needs. You can read more about our approach to claims here or for information on how to submit a claim you can check out our Adviser Guide.

14. Will Integrity Life’s approach to rehabilitation and retraining change?
No. Integrity has always been committed to supporting rehabilitation and retraining and we continue to help claimants on their return-to-work journey. We will work with the life insured, their medical practitioner and rehabilitation providers to jointly agree on a Recovery Management Plan to assist the life insured in returning to work.

15. What are the transition rules and dates?
For current Income Insurance products (pre-1 October):

  • Apps must be submitted by 30 September 2021.
  • Submitted apps have until 28 February 2022 to be placed In Force.

Post 1 October 2021: All inflight quotes and apps (not submitted) will be subject to the Income Insurance product available from 1 October 2021.

16. What will happen to my existing Income Insurance policy and what changes can I make?
In permitting changes to be made to Income Insurance Cover which was applied for prior to 1 October 2021, Integrity will follow guidance provided to insurers by APRA.
For policies applied for prior to 1 October 2021 which include Agreed Value or Indemnity Income Insurance Cover, the following changes are permitted from 1 October 2021:

  • Decreases to Cover.
  • Increases where underwriting is required;
  • CPI Rate increases;
  • Easy Increases for Life Events where Underwriting is required;
  • Changes to Premium, such as moving from Level Premium to Stepped and Stepped Premium to Level;
  • Change of ownership; and
  • Splitting Income Insurance.

Integrity may also reissue an Agreed Value, Indemnity 12 months and Indemnity 3 years contract which was issued prior to 1 October 2021 for administrative reasons.

The changes listed are permitted as at 28 September 2021, per guidance from APRA.

17. Have there been any other changes to Integrity’s Here for You?
Yes! From 1 October 2021, clients will be able to purchase stand-alone TPD Cover inside superannuation, meaning the superannuation Trustee is the owner of the TPD Cover policy, and the TPD Cover does not need to be purchased with any other Cover type.

Also, where a policy is held within super through Integrity’s Here for You Super Plan, your clients will have the option to pay their premium through annual contributions, complementing the existing payment methods of monthly contributions and annual rollovers.

18. Have there been any changes to Medical Definitions?
No. Our medical definitions were reviewed and updated in April 2021.

19. Why has Duty of Disclosure changed to ‘Duty to take reasonable care’?
For all consumer insurance contracts, the ‘Duty of Disclosure” has been replaced by the ‘Duty to take reasonable care not to make a misrepresentation’. This effectively shifts the onus onto the insurer to ask for all the information required to assess whether they will insure a risk and if so, at what price.

20. How does the exclusion relating to a client being disqualified or deregistered from their usual Occupation operate?
We won’t pay a benefit where a person has been disqualified or restricted from performing the duties of their usual Occupation by their relevant professional association or a government body due to their conduct.

If the disqualification or deregistration is because of illness or injury, then a benefit may be payable.

21. How do you assess passive income?
All income earned is assessed in determining the monthly benefit, with total annual income used to determine the appropriate income bracket for the relevant IRR.

Where Passive Income exists, the net amount is added to earned income to derive total annual income, then subtracted to obtain Pre-Disability Income and the monthly benefit.

Example 1 – 60% IRR
Example 2 – 60% IRR
Annual income
Passive Income (PI)
Total annual income
Annual benefit as per relevant bracket
Less Passive Income
Total PDI
Monthly benefit
Effective IRR


Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom

Returning to work, returning to wellness.

Returning to work, returning to wellness.

Returning to work, returning to wellness.

The new Income Insurance products launching industry wide, as a result of APRA’s sustainability measures, have a big focus on clients being supported to return to work.

But where does this leave Advisers and clients? With the pending launch of our product information we wanted to outline how we support clients returning to work in a way that puts their needs and recovery – front and centre.

We’re in the business of paying claims.

No one wants to have to claim on their life insurance, but if you do, you want to know that your insurer is going to make the situation better and not worse. When we pay claims –we pay them as quickly as possible. Claims are our chance to demonstrate what we do best and leverage our expertise to support clients if the worst should happen.

A personalised, straightforward claims philosophy.

What clients need is a program that works for them, not a template. It’s why we pay Income Insurance benefits on any day of the month that suits clients, we can even pay fortnightly. It’s completely flexible.

We can also engage rehab providers even before an official claim is lodged so we can get the wheels in motion as quickly as possible – bureaucracy should never get in the way of positive health outcomes.

Making the connection – recovery and work.

If returning to work will be an option, then it’s important to have a strategy in place to keep clients connected to their workplace. With clients always in control, we work with Advisers, Brokers, employers, medical professionals, allied health providers and community groups to develop a mutually agreed plan. This will include elements such as:

  • Identifying modified duties with a focus on what clients can do.
  • Looking at ways for clients to stay in touch with their employer and people they work with – this might be by ensuring they continue to receive company communications to stay connected.
  • Exploring training opportunities that are delivered in a flexible way.
  • Creating a plan and program to help manage pain
  • Using emerging and existing technology to support remote working, telepresence or modified access to workplace tools and applications.

The truth is, work fulfils an important aspect of our social and psychological needs and the longer you’re away from work, the harder it can be to get back. Additionally:

  • Work helps you stay active and is an important part of your recovery.
  • Staying active helps to reduce pain.
  • Being at work is an opportunity to connect with people and be part of a community.
  • Taking a long-time off work is worse for you socially, emotionally and physically.
  • Research shows* that work promotes recovery and reduces the risk of long-term disability.

At Integrity, our focus is on enabling recovery that considers each client’s unique situation in a way that holistically considers their physical, mental, social and financial needs. And if recovery connected to work is suitable, then we have a unique way of delivering this, if not, then our focus is helping clients adjust to their new normal.


*Australian and New Zealand Consensus Statement on the health benefits of work – The Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM), a Faculty of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP)

Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom

Income Insurance product solutions. Structuring with lump sum cover.

Income Insurance product solutions. Structuring with lump sum cover.

Income Insurance product solutions. Structuring with lump sum cover.

The new Income Insurance products launching industry wide, as a result of APRA’s sustainability measures, are going to reduce the income replacement ratio along with some of the additional benefits that have been added to these products over time. This creates a new challenge for Advisers as they consider how they utilise a range of product solutions for clients to provide the benefits and protection they need, at a price point that is affordable.

To support these conversations, we have pulled together some considerations for the role lump sum covers may play when the new Income Insurance products go live on 1 October 2021.

The role lump sum covers (TPD & CI) may play post 1 October 2021.

With the changes to the design of Income Insurance products, there could be an increased need and consideration of complementary lump sum covers such as TPD & CI.

Changes to income replacement ratios for Income Insurance and growing pricing pressure on longer term benefit periods will mean that advisers need to deeply consider the combination of covers that best meet a client’s needs, objectives and overall budget.

Matching shorter term Income Insurance benefit periods such as 2 & 5 years with complementary lump sum covers is expected to be part of the considerations that advisers will make as a result of the changing industry landscape.

Lump sum covers, such as Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) and / or Critical Illness (CI), provide long term protection and cover for significant costs like mortgage repayments or extra-ordinary medical expenses.

Other unexpected expenses could include things like accommodation, grief support, child support, overseas assistance, bed confinement, family support, or home care. All these and more are included in our Care Support Package which is provided at no extra cost on all lump sum covers as part of Integrity’s Here For You product.

The total income replaced will not be 100%. If your client becomes permanently disabled or critically ill, income insurance may not be enough.

And yet many Australians use 100% of their income each month. So how do you cover all the expenses of managing a sickness, accident or illness that potentially impacts a client’s financial situation?

Critical Illness Cover offers a lump sum payment to manage medical expenses if your client is diagnosed with a specified medical condition which may have an impact on their ability to meet their financial commitments. Together, Income Insurance Cover combined with Critical Illness Cover can provide support to clients financially to cover both household costs, as well as medical expenses.

Higher levels of TPD cover may need to be considered, to help financially support clients if they suffer a significant life-changing illness, accident or injury. Put another way, if your client is unlikely to ever work again, TPD is an option to ensure significant and ongoing medical costs are taken care of as well as any home modification adjustments needed to adapt to their ‘new normal’.


Please note: This information has been prepared without considering your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on it, please consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.

Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom