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nib: Policies offer value

Health insurer nib has responded to criticism over the policies it is offering in tandem with Fidelity Life.

Friday, February 28th 2014, 6:00AM 1 Comment

by Susan Edmunds

Fidelity and nib announced earlier this week that they were set to offer advisers the option of bundling health and life insurance policies together.

Fidelity chief executive Milton Jennings said advisers could submit a life and health insurance application as one application for two policies. “From an adviser’s point of view, the more products you have with a client, they more loyal they’ll be,” Jennings said.
But some advisers questioned how useful the policies were.

One said: “No guaranteed wordings means no certainty at claim time! Nothing new here. I will be sticking with other providers.”

A nib spokeswoman said guaranteed wordings could provide certainty of cover but could also have the opposite effect when treatment costs started to increase, affecting premiums. “The customer ultimately pays the price unless we can alter terms and conditions. This we would do only in extreme circumstances.”

Jennings said guaranteed wording was not always possible with health products. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense because medical science keeps improving so quickly, you have to keep the policy wording up to date.”

Another asked about the benefits of the proactive add-on option, which is available in addition to the nib’s Ultimate adviser products, and covers the cost of routine screening.

“It refunds 80% of screening costs to a max of $750 per year. But the option costs $515 per year in premiums. This means clients must spend around $725 to get a $750 benefit… pity a colonoscopy costs more than $1500.”

The spokeswoman said screening was generally excluded from most health insurance policies, so this was another option to provide extra cover.

She said: “The customer pays $515 per year and can receive a maximum of $1250 per year, and every second year if you include the loyalty check, an additional $150 per year, so there is value in taking this option. We accept that there is not a high level of refund for higher costing screening procedures however many of these are covered under a hospital cover when signs or symptoms are present.”

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Comments from our readers

On 28 February 2014 at 3:38 pm Wiseradviser said:
Milton says "It doesn’t make a lot of sense because medical science keeps improving so quickly, you have to keep the policy wording up to date.” So what he means is the new treatments will be excluded and the client left in the lurch!

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