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LifeDirect: Advisers should take over

Direct-to-market offers such as LifeDirect can help to improve the number of New Zealanders with insurance, but ongoing servicing should be done by advisers, Trade Me’s head of insurance says.

Tuesday, September 18th 2018, 9:06AM

by Susan Edmunds

Jamie Monaghan, Head of Insurance - Trade Me

The comparison website has been running a campaign featuring the death of its cartoon mascot Simon, the sloth, to raise awareness of insurance cover and to convey the message that accidents can happen to anyone.

Trade Me head of insurance Jaime Monaghan said the campaign had elicited the “optimal level of outrage”.

“If we hadn’t got that, we would have missed the mark. No one likes to think about this stuff but we’re trying to raise awareness that unexpected things do happen.”

Monaghan said there were too few New Zealanders with insurance and those who had it did not have enough. "Across New Zealand in general there's a 'she'll be right' attitude. Kiwis are underinsured."

LifeDirect was well-placed to deal with the first problem, she said, giving people the message that it was not something that should be skimped on.

If it could get more people into the market, insurance adviser could then step in to solve the problem of the level of cover they needed - and to fill some of the gaps in understanding.

“Advisers are better placed to get cover to a suitable level.”

She said, as part of planning around the business, it had become evident that it was not the best vehicle to look after customers' ongoing insurance needs. “How the interface works down the track is up for grabs. We’ve had some discussions and I expect we’ll see an interplay going forward.”

LifeDirect had no plans to apply for a roboadvice license, Monaghan said. “We don’t see ourselves as advisers, that’s not our area of expertise. We’re not looking to go into that space at this stage anyway.”

Tags: Life insurance LifeDirect

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