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Cover Notes

Cover Notes provides you with an update on stories of interest to risk advisers. In this issue Brian Klee of Special Risks provides more information on the Revised Insurance Guidelines from the Human Rights Commission and what it means to advisers.

Friday, February 22nd 2008, 2:12PM
Also, Southern Cross has a new initiative to help people save on health insurance and Pinnacle Life trumpets a new award.

New guidelines from the Human Rights Commission are designed to help insurers and consumers understand their rights and meet their responsibilities under the Human Rights Act. Brian Klee of Wellington firm Special Risks says under the new guidelines:

  • Some policy upgrades will be classified as new policies.
  • Insurers cannot discriminate and cannot refuse to insure but are able to offer policies on different terms and conditions.
  • Deferral is not unlawful but cannot be a substitute for a refusal.
  • A deferral is required to be for a reasonable period, "ideally within six months".
  • When deferring, for whatever reason, the process and criteria for resolution must be explained to the applicant.
  • High risk applicants should expect to personally pay for researching and assessing their applications. If the final offer is not taken up, the rest of your clients should not have to bear this expense.
  • This underwriting assessment fee should be reasonable and not used as a deterrent or perceived as a refusal to insure.
  • Exclusions must be reasonable and as specific as possible to the condition(s).
  • Insurers are expected to explain why they are excluding a condition and acknowledge any limitations in the data on which the decision is based.
  • Underwriters are required to assess mental illness in the same way as physical disability, using reputable medical, psychiatric and actuarial advice.
  • At times insurers will have to offer cover even though they are unable to obtain reinsurance.
For a more detailed report email insurance@goodreturns.co.nz

SX offers deal to members
Research shows on average New Zealanders spend around $1,500 each, or $2,200 per family of four on out-of-pocket health and wellness costs such as purchases from pharmacies or fitness shops.

Health insurance Southern Cross has launched a card, Southern Cross Plus, providing discounts and exclusive offers to its 830,000 members.

"This significant step ensures that we focus more on proactive and preventative health care," group chief executive Ian McPherson says.

"Traditionally health insurance has been about sickness and covering the costs of a medical event once it happens.

Insurance site gets a gong
Pinnacle Life has won an international IMA Award for the design and implementation of its online life insurance website.

Pinnacle Life's site was launched in May and offers qualified consumers the ability to get a life insurance policy entirely online – using electronic underwriting with no human involvement in the process.

« Who do risk advisers work for?Sovereign keeps its number one spot »

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