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[GRTV] We have to prove we are not the bad guys: Ballantyne

Partners Life managing director Naomi Ballantyne says the various regulatory reviews are putting huge pressure on life insurance companies and distracting them from their core business of paying claims.

Thursday, May 23rd 2019, 12:25PM 2 Comments

This episode is also available as an audio podcast. Listen now or download using the controls below:

Ballantyne says one thing the government could do would be to make it mandatory for employers to tell employees what insurance products are designed to do.

She says there is a role for government to play in financial literacy and help people understand various products.

In the life insurance space this is something advisers do and they don 't get paid for it and it costs them in terms of time.

"The government should be talking to people and raising their financial literacy."

She says this has been done previously with KiwiSaver.


Ballantyne says the work going into responding to documents like the Reserve Bank and Financial Markets Authority review into life insurance companies has been "hugely costly".

"We are doing this work to effectively prove we are not the bad guys. To prove that we are not Australia."

Ballantyne says there are very short time frames to do this work and they are responding to an audience which doesn't necessarily fully understand life insurance companies.

She is not sure they even know what good conduct should look like, rather the companies are required to tell them.

There is a fear each company is going to come back with different ideas and then the regulators will pick and choose pieces and ask for more submissions.

All this there is less time and resources available to run life companies and focus on the core requirement of paying claims.


In this interview with GRTV Ballantyne also discusses commissions and says "there is no right answer".

Indeed changing to d different model such as more trials or a capped commission model may well have "unintended consequences". 

To download as an audio podcast, click here.

Also available on SoundCloud.

Full transcript available here

Tags: GRTV Naomi Ballantyne

« [GRTV] Code gets eight out of 10 from long-time critic[GRTV] Good conduct and culture drives out the snake oil »

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Comments from our readers

On 24 May 2019 at 7:53 pm JPHale said:
Well articulated Naomi!

One of the only that is not an adviser that is speaking out with an understanding of the pressures in advice and insurance businesses.

It continues to be asymmetrical with those in power too.

Once people gain an understanding of the industry they are now sufficiently distanced from the ignorant that they either sound brainwashed, or the more common brought off perspective.

Because the good things said don't align with the perceptions of the industry and advisers as a whole.

The issues of the industry with the complaints and findings still do not demonstrate fundamental harm issues against the volume of great outcomes for clients.

Yes, we have issues that are not addressed well in the current environment, however, with the changes coming I expect we will have clarity around this stuff very quickly and without the drum beating on change in addition to what is coming under the present requirements.

But politicians need to be seen to be doing something, even when what they have done is still coming into effect...
On 24 June 2019 at 1:07 pm Chatterbox said:
Ballantyne comments whine about RBNZ review yet out of the book 'Reality is Crazy' she joked about how she could operate predatory and flawed systems and practices at Sovereign.

If she thinks this is all. Then she has seen nothing yet. Projects are presently covertly investigating her and other's misconduct. Why? Because the regulators are limited to prudential supervision and not market conduct. While otherwise weasel words and admin. tricks operate to release liability reserves to create 'free reserves' from policy and product generations, with dodgy policy wording and definition changes while increasing premiums to become so high so as to ensure cancellations. All contrary to public interest. While insurers are public interest entities and their advisers associated complicit parties who turn a blind eye to their fiduciary duties. There will be major problems coming down the track soon. Simply because insurers abused their self-regulation and operated predatory practices against groups of policyholders who asked for rectification and instead the insurers pooled together and told them to go to court so as to burn them off with economic attrition. Its termed abuse of self-regulation and oppression of policyholder bases with predatory practices. The truth will come out when light is shone on the dirty practices that to date have been hidden in the dark corners of insurance offices. Nice window-dressing to date that will soon be taken down.

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