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

How to make working from home, work for you.

How to make working from home, work for you.

Whether or not you’re working from home as a result of restrictions, we know that the ever-evolving COVID situation means that being flexible is key. Here are some neat ways that Advisers can continue to service their clients in a COVID safe way.

Record your client meetings with Zoom.

By now, most working Australians will have better video conferencing skills and be more comfortable conducting meetings this way. By recording your calls (with permission of course) you have a record for compliance purposes, it can also be a value add to clients to give them a copy so they’re not having to take notes and can refer to your awesome advice at any time!

Signature free (almost).

No signatures are required from you or your client when submitting applications. All client authority and declarations are done online, with one exception. For legal reasons we require a client signature for Binding Beneficiary Nominations insurance taken out within Integrity’s ‘Here for You’ Super Plan. Completed forms can be accepted via email to hello@integritylife.com.auOur revised terms are also offered online and are available for you to accept in our portal electronically, without the need to provide your client’s signature.

Send app to client.

Completing face-to-face applications can be challenging in the time of COVID, but we have a solution that not only gets around this, but it also saves you a heap of time with data entry. We built a feature in our portal that allows you to send part of the Insurance Application directly to your client for them to complete some of their personal information.

You stay fully in control though and are alerted when the information has been completed. We don’t do anything with this info until you have checked it and submitted the application.  

While we know this isn’t a solution for everyone, it can work for some clients. Around 50% of our Advisers use this feature in 40% of cases, the best number though is that we have a 100% completion rate. This is (in part) because we do all the follow-up to ensure the forms are complete, and because extensive user-testing means the forms are simple and easy for clients to complete.

Why not give some of these ideas a try?

Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom

Hidden elements of income insurance that undermine sustainability.

Hidden elements of income insurance that undermine sustainability.

APRA’s edict to life insurers to focus on sustainable practices in respect to the design, features, pricing and management of individual disability income insurance, places responsibility on product managers and actuaries to rebuild the product.

Not only do the products have to be sustainable, but they also need to be attractive to consumer and, of course, do the job. It must protect the insured’s income by providing a benefit in the event of illness or injury.

To achieve this, APRA have stepped in and told insurers to remove elements and add restrictions on others in order to ensure the future of the products. Outside excessive discounting for new clients paid for by existing ones, there are some other less obvious discounting practices – that may erode profitability over time.

My examples both relate to the underwriting process; a process of negotiation sometimes- but it seems often the wrong aspects are being bargained.

 

Manipulation of occupational rating factors.

One of the easiest ways to obtain a discount for disability income is to try and move a client’s occupation rating to a higher category (eg white collar to professional) the idea being that more ‘select’ occupations get higher discounts. 

But – select occupations tend to be less common and it is tempting for advisers to negotiate with underwriters on the basis that their client deserves to be in a more “favourable” category – and hence get a discount, even if the client doesn’t strictly meet the criteria to be included in that category.

The problem is that the life insurers’ book is then skewed toward discounted lives when the expectation is that the book will be balanced – yes, some occupations will be discounted, but most pay a standard rate and some a loaded rate – to account for the differences in claims experience across different occupations.

So, if a life insurers’ premiums are expected to be balanced – but too many are discounted by creep into a discounted occupational category – the effect is that profit is reduced as there is not enough premium to cover expected claims, expenses and commission collected.

 

Loading Waivers.

This works by providing selected advisers the ability to ‘waive’ medical loadings up to a limit – that is, a loading is imposed by the underwriter after the medical assessment and recorded on the policy system – but not charged to or paid by the client. 

The effect is that all the insured lives who are not clients of an adviser in the loading waiver program subsidise all those clients whose loadings are waived. This is not equitable, or in line with the principles of risk sharing and insurance generally.

This practice also erodes profitability by attracting a higher number of substandard lives – as an adviser will always place business where most favourable (and cost effective) for clients. So, if one company offers loading waivers and one does not – then the loaded lives will all be placed as ‘standard’ with the company offering waivers.

 

The final thought.

The challenges facing our industry have not been cause by one single event, but rather a series of choices that erode over time. Part of our commitment to the industry, clients and Advisers is to acknowledge these practices and present a better way forward.

Scott Hodgson

Scott Hodgson

Chief Underwriter

How efficiency drives efficacy in Underwriting.

How efficiency drives efficacy in Underwriting.

Operational efficiency has always been the key focus for any professional services business, but where you also operate in a tough regulatory environment, it’s even more critical. However, not only do Risk Advisers face an increased cost of compliance (and seemingly endless change), they’re also seeing reduced income from commissions. And while compliance and commissions take up a lot of focus and airtime these two factors are somewhat immovable – as they are legislated.

So where can you get some of that margin back? Your major supplier is the first place to look.

I spoke at a professional development day recently and was asked to go back in time a bit and look at recent history in life insurance. For the ‘this is my first job’ demographic within the audience, I passed around a ‘memo’ from 1989 – a quaint, hand typed missive that would wander around inboxes back then… which were actually boxes that sat on your desk. Then came the fax machine. Then came email. Now we have portals and applications – that process work in real-time.

What is important to highlight here is not the history lesson itself, but to understand that with changes in technology there are changes in expectations, and life insurance has always been a people business, and an emotional one. What we do and what we say has implications for people’s lives and livelihood, so the time taken becomes a reflection of that importance. It was ok to call someone back a few days later, now a same day response is appropriate (ideally within a few hours).

At Integrity, we have embraced technology to the extent that is can speed up processes that don’t need my attention so that ultimately, I have more time to do the human stuff. Like speak to Advisers, provide considered decisions, facilitate their advice, understand their business, and clients.  

Underwriters, policy administrators, and even more importantly, claims managers – need to be efficient with the routine stuff – get it right every time – so they can concentrate on the less routine. But those less routine issues are the ones that really count in life insurance. The ability to consider and write a contract so a customer can take a risk and start or expand their business. The customer on claim, who could use a slightly longer chat with their claims manager, or adviser. To help them through that time.

And, you know what? More time spent talking about the needs of our customers, supported by great digital tools – might go some way to making this business fun again. Fun because we can engage more, riskies are fun people! And having done our job from sale to claim, we can also be satisfied we’ve met our noble purpose.

Scott Hodgson

Scott Hodgson

Chief Underwriter

Ideas to attract new buyers to advice and insurance.

Ideas to attract new buyers to advice and insurance.

This is excerpt from “The Fight for Future Markets Report. Attracting Millennials to advice and insurance”

In our report we suggest some ideas to help attract new business. For the full content and report you can download it here.

 

  1. Broaden the relevance of life insurance for those without kids by highlighting the benefits and need for TPD and Income Protection.

One of the biggest barriers to getting millennials on board with life insurance is their belief that it isn’t relevant to them. While many are interested in learning more about life policies and even open to purchasing them, there is a common perception that if you don’t have children, large debts or a spouse, then life insurance isn’t for you. Millennials without children need support in understanding that the range of life insurance on offer includes policies appropriate for their individual circumstances, and that there is a cost benefit in taking these out early. Make sure your value proposition stresses that life insurance can be and is relevant to young, single and childless Australians too.

  1. Consider experiments in low-cost advice as referrers (e.g. help them validate their research).

Millennials want premium advice, but the challenge is they’re not willing to pay for it. One way to bring forward the benefit and help them see how financial advice could assist them, is to help them dip their toe in the water through low-touch, low-cost interactions. Offering robo-advice, supplemented by a short in-person discussion to walk through the recommendations and make adjustments where necessary, could be a good way to start building a relationship and help embed yourself as a trusted partner who’s there for them – on their terms. Alternatively, you might consider the possibility of offering ‘validation consultations’, whereby young Australians with a desire to be independent and self-sufficient can independently compare policies and then come to you for questions or support before making the final decision themselves. Focus on the experience and encouraging reviews, not trying to lock them in for the long-term. They may be saying ‘no’ to the model, not the value.

  1. Project-based selling and financial coaching. 

While traditional full-service financial or risk advice may not be right for millennials right now, this doesn’t mean the door is closed altogether. You might choose to provide low-cost financial or risk ‘coaching’ to young clients who are simply interested in improving their financial literacy, and progress to fully-fledged advice and product recommendations as the client progresses through life stages. What if the initial focus was solely on coaching them to achieve their goals?

Fixed-cost packages with premiums and payouts tailored to life stage are an opportunity to offer transparent, simplified options for younger customers who are looking to get started with life insurance but aren’t ready to commit to a more complex decision-making processes.

 

Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom

HIV and blood borne disease, what you need to know.

HIV and blood borne disease, what you need to know.

Advances in medicine have meant that people living with HIV (PLHIV) have a life expectancy that is approaching the same as the general population1. In fact, PLHIV who are taking and adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART) cannot sexually transmit the virus to others2.

Furthermore, with increased education and the introduction of the drug Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), HIV in Australia continues to decline3. Despite the facts, there is still a lot of disproportionate fear in the community which often creates stigma against those with HIV. This can lead to further health issues for PLHIV as well as a reluctance to seek treatment, which further complicates eradicating the transmission of the disease4. Similarly, Hep C also elicits a response that hasn’t kept pace with medical treatments and advancements5.

Below are some common questions we get from Advisers and their clients with Integrity’s position based on the most current research and thinking.

Q: If a medical practitioner needs to be tested for HIV or Hep C, would they be eligible for Income Insurance benefits, as they would be unable to work for up to 6 months, right?

A: The window period for HIV is now 18-45 days with some very, very rare cases taking up to 6 months to show up, so it’s very unlikely they would need to be away from work for an extended period of time. Additionally, the current guidelines6 don’t require a medical practitioner to cease practicing while they are waiting on test results unless there is a very large chance that they know they were exposed to someone who is a carrier for an infectious virus.

For Hep C, a special kind of blood test called a nucleic acid test (NAT) that detects HCV RNA (also called a PCR test) can tell if a person is infected within 1–2 weeks of exposure7.  

 

Q: What if the medical practitioner was advised in an official capacity (by their employer or official Association) that they’re not permitted to work, would we pay a monthly benefit then?

A: Generally, yes. If a medical practitioner is compelled not to work in an official capacity, then we would consider paying a monthly Income Insurance benefit.

Q: If they do end up having HIV or HEP C, doesn’t this mean they won’t be able to work? And therefore, would we pay Income Insurance benefits?

A: Contracting HIV or Hep C in Australia in 2021 is not a death sentence. Medical practitioners living with HIV or Hep C are permitted to continue performing the duties of their usual occupation as long as they are under the care of another doctor and following the prescribed treatment and guidelines. Additionally, due to privacy legislation associations such as Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) are not even allowed to ask if a person is HIV/Hep positive as all. Medical practitioners are required to follow universal precautions to prevent the transmission of HIV (regardless of their status).

HIV or AIDS?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infection, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. It is spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, most commonly during unprotected sex (sex without a condom or HIV medicine to prevent or treat HIV), or through sharing injection drug equipment. If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). The human body can’t get rid of HIV and no effective HIV cure exists. So, once you have HIV, you have it for life. However, by taking HIV medicine (called antiretroviral therapy or ART), people with HIV can live long and healthy lives and prevent transmitting HIV to their sexual partners. In addition, there are effective methods to prevent getting HIV through sex or drug use, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). First identified in 1981, HIV is the cause of one of humanity’s deadliest and most persistent epidemics.

AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection that occurs when the body’s immune system is badly damaged because of the virus. In [Australia], most people with HIV do not develop AIDS because taking HIV medicine every day as prescribed stops the progression of the disease. A person with HIV is considered to have progressed to AIDS when: the number of their CD4 cells falls below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood (200 cells/mm3). (In someone with a healthy immune system, CD4 counts are between 500 and 1,600 cells/mm3.) OR they develop one or more opportunistic infections regardless of their CD4 count. Without HIV medicine, people with AIDS typically survive about 3 years. Once someone has a dangerous opportunistic illness, life expectancy without treatment falls to about 1 year. HIV medicine can still help people at this stage of HIV infection, and it can even be lifesaving. But people who start ART soon after they get HIV experience more benefits—that’s why HIV testing is so important.” 8

References.

  1. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/science-clear-hiv-undetectable-equals-untransmittable
  2. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-11-hiv-australia-declined-years.html
  3. https://napwha.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/HIV-and-Ageing-in-Australia-New-Frontier-April19.pdf
  4. https://www.acon.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/HIV-Stigma-Paper_v8.pdf
  5. https://www.healthline.com/health/hepatitis-c/can-it-be-cured
  6. https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-cdna-bloodborne.htm
  7. https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/cfaq.htm

https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/about-hiv-and-aids/what-are-hiv-and-aids

    Integrity Life

    Integrity Life

    From the newsroom