Asteron accepts award, predicts change ahead

Rising reinsurance costs may lead to more life insurance product simplification, Asteron Life's chief executive says.

Friday, October 30th 2015, 10:10AM

by Susan Edmunds

The company has been named Best Life Insurance Company, New Zealand, at this year's World Finance Global insurance Awards.

This is the eighth year the awards have been run but the first time a New Zealand company has been recognised.

Chief executive Nadine Tereora said she was delighted with the win. "We pride ourselves on being the standout market leader on customer service and helping our customers protect their futures."

She said the company would continue to make product enhancements and improve its service offering.

"We know that the service escalator is always moving down - what’s fantastic service today is going to be average tomorrow. It’s meant actively taking on board feedback from advisers and customers."

Tereora said the company had invested significantly in its digital capabilities and that would remain a key focus. "We’re making sure that we have the digital platforms to help create amazing customer experiences and so that we can effectively support advisers in their sales process. It’s about ensuring we’re continuing to build scale into our business and that we’ll remain relevant for years to come."

She said there was a lot of growth potential for New Zealand's life insurance sector, particularly due to high levels of underinsurance in income protection for women and young people. That would need to be tackled by increasing trust in the industry.

"Remaining transparent in our dealings with advisers and customers, keeping our communications simple and providing more affordable options are some of the ways we’re responding to this issue," she said.

"We know a lot of Kiwis are currently priced out of the market. This was something we responded to earlier in the year by launching our new Workability Cover, an alternative income protection option. It means we’re now able to provide a suite of income protection options to advisers, to help introduce their clients to income protection."

But she said there was a lot of change ahead, including the Financial Advisers Act review.

“Change feels a lot broader to me than that and I’m sure others will share this view as well. For example, my sense is that at some point, the cost of reinsurance will accelerate the product simplification conversation.  We have a fantastic opportunity to continue to partner with advisers to promote the importance of good advice and how to access it.  Our industry is all about relationship-centricity."

Tags: Asteron

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