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Partners: No threat to advisers

Direct insurance sales are no threat to the adviser force, Partners Life’s Naomi Ballantyne says.

Thursday, July 31st 2014, 6:00AM 5 Comments

Partners Life has reported a significantly oversubscribed capital raising and the accumulation of $100 million in in-force annual premiums.

“It is just over three years since we opened for business and, in a market dominated by well-resourced and long-established foreign-owned life companies, we have created a very substantial and competitive New Zealand company,” Ballantyne said.

The company generated $31.6 million in its capital raising, above a target of $20 million.

Partners Life deals only with advisers.

Ballantyne said the direct part of the market was tiny and advisers were needed to help New Zealanders get adequate levels of insurance.

“We have massive underinsurance. If we leave it to people to decide for themselves whether they need it and how much, it’s not going to be a good outcome for the consumer. “

She said the vast majority of people needed an adviser to explain to them what they needed and how to go about getting the products they needed.

It was a fallacy that people wanted to do things directly, she said. “It doesn’t take them long to realise that it’s more complex than they think. There’s hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even $1 million at stake. Trying to go that quickly without much thought, it doesn’t mix. It doesn’t take most people very long into the process to realise that they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

She said Partners was growing because it was focused on making its products the best answer for most clients. The company’s goal now was to drive efficiency as it continued to grow, she said. “To offer great products at a competitive price, efficiency is a huge part of that mix.”

Partners would also work on building the retention component of the business.  Ballantyne said the infrastructure had been built to deal with new business and the focus was now switching to how those clients were looked after when their circumstances changed.

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Comments from our readers

On 1 August 2014 at 5:48 pm James said:
Hopefully they will start with the claims department, not very efficient at the moment..
On 2 August 2014 at 2:02 pm Simon said:
Well James I've always found Partners Life to be extremely efficient when it comes to assessing and paying claims for my clients. Delays are usually experienced when claims forms aren't completed correctly or the adviser fails to supply the supporting documentation needed by the insurer to assess a claim quickly. This rings true of all the insurers and their claims departments.

We can do a great job as advisers recommending and securing cover for our clients but if we don't follow through at claim time then we are only doing half our job.
On 3 August 2014 at 9:36 am James said:
Thanks for that Simon, but I am sure most of us know how to complete claim forms..I was thinking more along the lines that they change their claims philosophy, and start assessing claims properly the first time it is submitted, it will save everyone time and effort. "If it's grey we pay"? - Yet to see that...
On 4 August 2014 at 1:13 pm Kevin said:
If Partners Life were not dealing with claims in a prudent and fair way I think it would be a talking point among respected advisers. As it's not a talking point I don't there's an issue there James...
On 5 August 2014 at 8:29 pm Jonathan said:
I am not too sure about the commentary that on-line / direct insurance has no or limited place in NZ. With so much under insurance surely this is another access point for the younger generation (remember when travel agents reigned supreme), no one is disagreeing that advisers have a place - but don't rule out the opportunities for direct and on-line. Trade Me and KiwiCover are great sites for insurance, provide plenty of information and are being used by my younger clients.

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