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AMP offers direct life cover online

AMP is venturing into the online direct sales space with a new product called Quick Start Life.

Tuesday, April 1st 2014, 4:42PM 6 Comments

Customers can buy up to a $100,000 of life cover online with the product after answering three questions about age, gender and whether or not they have smoked in the past 12 months.

AMP Chief Customer Officer Jeff Ruscoe says it is a guaranteed acceptance product with some exclusions.

He says this foray into online sales is not about AMP competing with advisers, rather it is complimentary as the sort of people who will use Quick Start Life are not the clients of advisers.

"The people who are buying this product are not going to advisers at the moment," he says.

Part of the rationale behind the product is to learn more about online sales of life insurance and also to introduce people to buying life insurance. Ruscoe says once they have done this they may buy more insurance and they could be through and adviser.

“Quick Start Life is entry level life insurance and is designed to get people thinking about the reality and importance of how life insurance can help in the event of a tragedy.  Once people are comfortable with how life insurance works, we imagine that down the track they will seek further advice around protecting their most important asset – their life,” concludes Ruscoe.

Advisers can use the product either by linking back to the main AMP site or doing it the old-fashioned way with paperwork. Advisers who sell Quick Start Life will be paid commission however the rates are "definitly at the low end", he says.

"It's really about creating opportunities for the future rahter than making a lot of money out of it now."

Ruscoe says the premiums on this product are similar to the products advisers sell.

While there are a growing amount of direct online life insurance websites this one is different to others, Ruscoe says. Most of the existing ones are about trying to sell product which is already in the market, here AMP had tried to develop a new product which is easy to buy and introduces people to life insurance.

“People always say they’re too busy to think about life insurance or it’s too hard to understand, however, Quick Start Life is about making it quick and easy for people to get life insurance – in less than the time it would take you to do daily activities such as updating your Facebook status or watching, for example, ‘Grumpy Cat’ on YouTube,” Ruscoe says.

Pre-Existing Exclusions
(Source: AMP)

If you have any existing medical conditions when you sign up for Quick Start Life, it may affect your entitlement to a lump sum payment in the event of a claim. Some examples include:

    Any disease, disorder or injury that you are aware of or ought to be aware of
    A high Body Mass Index (BMI)
    A high cholesterol/HDL ratio

General Policy Exclusions

If you do certain things once you’ve signed up to Quick Start Life, it may affect your entitlement to a lump sum payment in the event of a claim. Some examples include:

    Engaging in criminal activity
    Some forms of aviation activity (excluding being a fare paying passenger on a commercial airline on a recognised air route)
    Travelling in High Risk or Extreme Risk countries
    Intentional self-inflicted injury

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Comments from our readers

On 4 April 2014 at 8:14 am Vinny said:
AMP has never been a big supporter of IFAs, so this is not much of a surprise. Any comments from them about this not competing with advisers and it being about lead generation is just nonsense. Managing channel conflicts as more insurers go direct is going to be a real problem for them I think.
On 4 April 2014 at 10:42 am Tony said:
My research indicate that there are two types of people out there in 'customerland'. Those who want advice with a robust plan being the prize, and those who want to point and click online. Largely the younger generation fall into the latter group.

Advisers and IFA's all have the same opportunities in business to offer simple solutions to potential customers within these demographics.

I am not convinced that this creates channel conflict. As an AMP channel adviser the jury is out on whether there is a take up for this product and if so whether leads are generated so the customers can be offered something more robust and appropriate.

Our focus as advisers must surely be to continue to ensure that we protect as many people as possible and however how we get to them is less relevant than the outcome.

I don't see this as a challenge or conflict - I see it as an opportunity.

cheers
On 4 April 2014 at 2:04 pm Simon said:
If AMP wants to increase its life insurance sales their immediate focus instead should be on updating their Lifetrack products. AMP’s competitors are now head and shoulders above it in terms of policy wordings across all life products hence why non-aligned advisers are taking their clients elsewhere for cover. Perhaps this is the real reason why AMP are going down the online direct sales channel. No adviser to get in the way?
On 5 April 2014 at 1:09 pm Mark Ogden said:
Being non-underwritten with exclusions for pre-existing conditions (and a raft of other exclusions), the cost of the product should be a lot cheaper than underwritten products, the only risk is litigation at claim time. However unlike most guaranteed acceptance products competing in this space, it never covers pre-existing conditions, which is the real risk for consumers that aren't getting advice and purchase it thinking it’s the same as the likes of Golden Life (2 years), Dorchester Quick Cover (3 years), BNZ Easy Cover (3 years) etc.

AMP's product is really only suitable for healthy people too lazy fill out an application, however it is a real risk for substandard lives wanting guaranteed "cover" and believe they've tick the box. Regardless of it being clear enough to the informed on the website that there are exclusions, how many have we seen where they believed that had full life cover but only have accidental death?

Forget about whether it's a conflict for advisers or not, worry about the uninformed individual who buy this thinking they are getting full cover in a few years’ time and is similar to other products in this space.

This type of product probably has its place, but I know looking at the website, people are going to glance over the small printed in white "Pre Existing Conditions are excluded under this policy." tick the boxes and have a horrendous experience at claim time.

It will be one of those stories on Fair Go that tarnish the tarnishes the whole industry.

Premiums for 45 male non-smoker
$30.73/month BNZ EasyCover
$26.80/month Dorchester Quick Cover
$17.33/month Pinnacle Life (underwritten)
$22.44/month AMP Quick Start Life

I just don't see where AMP's product fits, if I'm online and want certainly, it's the only product I wouldn't feel comfortable with. I know why I am taking the others.

I'm just saying instead of worrying about channel conflict, someone needs to point out there a safer options for clients.

AMP might have the better financial strength rating, but if the product's not going to pay in like for like circumstances does it matter?
On 7 April 2014 at 8:57 am Pragmatic said:
Let's be clear: large financial institutions have one primary obligation - to look after their shareholders. Intermediaries & customers will always be further in their pecking order.
On 8 April 2014 at 2:26 pm Tony said:
@ Mark Ogden - all you say makes perfect sense and I think we are effectively saying the same thing although the emphasis of my message was directed at the 'channel conflict' issue. There is no doubt that as advisers (and companies should feel the same)our area of responsibility is to ensure more New Zealanders are properly protected. This product doesn't do that in itself and leave far to much room for doubt in the event of a claim.

I believe that there may well be people out there who will apply for this, who otherwise would not have sought advice or been approached by an adviser and thus been without any form of cover.

As long as someone in an advisory capacity contacts the client and seeks to enhance their cover with a decent package to suit their needs then we may have succeeded in protecting someone else.

I believe therefore that it is incumbent on AMP to refer ALL purchasers of this product to an adviser in their network so they can rest easy that they have done the best by their client and of course complied with code standard one.

cheers

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