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FMA: Insurance, advisers have stepped up

New Zealand’s insurance industry has responded well to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the impact of that on its clients, the Financial Markets Authority’s director of banking and insurance, Clare Bolingford, says.

Wednesday, May 20th 2020, 10:35PM

Nadine Tereora, Fidelity Life

She said the industry had worked hard to communicate to clients what the different relief options available to them were, although there were a wide range on offer.

Some clients might need more advice and assistance to help them understand what they were agreeing to when they took a policy suspension or holiday, she said.

It was unlikely that someone’s need for insurance had changed because of Covid-19, she said. “Financial advice is more important than ever during this period.”

She said New Zealand seemed to be an underinsured marketplace and there was an opportunity to expand the insurance coverage in place. “We certainly feel there is a lot of value in these products for people.”

She said advisers seemed to have “stepped up” even under their own financial pressure, providing communication to clients about what was happening and what was available to them – when they were not in a position to think about renewals or new business because of that work.

Many were not used to working in the way they had had to through the lockdown, she said, having been a traditionally face-to-face industry. The adoption of new ways of working could stand them in good stead into the future.

Nadine Tereora, chief executive of Fidelity Life, said customer inquiries to the insurer had lifted 44% as the Covid crunch hit.

“Normally in a crisis situation it highlights the importance of having cover and having a plan.”

This time, there was demand and inquiry, she said, but whether it translated into extra cover would depend on affordability constraints.

She said it was encouraging to see advisers’ ways of working start to normalise, and for them to be again reaching out to new customers.

Tereora said she expected Fidelity's new Sharecare app to help target information and assistance to consumers that was relevant to their lives.

Tags: Covid-19 Fidelity Life FMA insurance Insurance Advisers

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