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Cigna unveils significant changes

Monday, April 12 is set to be a big day for Cigna in New Zealand when the company rolls out a range of new technology solutions, a new commission structure, new underwriting rules and a new specific injury cover product to the local market.

Thursday, April 8th 2021, 1:11PM 1 Comment

by Matthew Martin

Cigna's head of product, Alison Manning.

Cigna's top brass made the announcements during a live webcast to more than 1200 advisers and industry commentators this morning.

General manager of distribution, David Haak gave some information about Cigna's new commission structure but did not cover specific rates as that information would be sent to advisers at a later date.

However, Haak did say the new commission structure would be simplified and tailored to individual advisers.

He says renewal commissions will be paid from month two, instead of month 13 and 100% of documented commissions would be paid out.

"There will also be an 'as earned' payment option where you can spread out commissions over a longer period, instead of a lump sum."

Cigna head of product, Alison Manning also announced a new specific injury product that would provide more financial support for injuries like fractures or burns.

Manning says cover is not determined by age or smoker status and would provide up to $5000 of cover and a higher payment for multiple limb fractures.

It will also cover second and third-degree burn cover and can be used as an add-on to any other policy.

She says the new product was called for by advisers and "Cigna had listened and tailored the product on feedback from the industry".

Cigna's specific injury cover will not take into account any offsets due to ACC payments, will be paid out as a lump sum and will also provide cover for surgery after an accident.

Cigna's North Island regional manager Chris Hand gave a brief overview of the company's brand new eApp and online Adviser Hub that has been developed over the past 12 months.

He says the new hub will provide more data security for advisers and their clients as well as streamlining the quoting and application process allowing advisers to send questions to clients directly before any face to face meetings.

"In many cases, this will lead to instant cover and allow advisers to amend quotes on the fly."

Cigna's chief operating officer Debbie Eyre commented on the company's new underwriting approach that she says will make the disclosure process easier and clearer for its customers.

This will involve a new, shorter set of questions designed to increase disclosure rates and "maximise completions at point of sale".

"Regardless of the level of cover...there will be just one ruleset and one questions set...and will apply to almost all of our products - income protection, mortgage cover, trauma, life cover and waiver of premiums.

"This will mean our underwriting team are freed up to talk to you about more complex cases."

Head of client engagement for Insurance People and industry commentator, Katrina Church says any new product coming onto the market is a good thing, but Cigna was catching up with the rest of the industry when it came to providing specific injury cover.

"They all have their own specific take on it and it looks like they have taken aspects from other companies products and given it a unique spin.

"This is something clients do claim a lot on and is often a nice surprise for some of them who don't realise they are covered for a specific injury.

"I've paid out about a half dozen claims for this in the last 12 months or so that were a nice surprise for the customer.

"But it is great to see specific injury cover coming into the market.

However, she says, as with any change to commission structures, "the devil is in the detail".

"This always has to be in the clients' best interests.

"We are in a period of evolution with the new regulations and there's been a lot of doom and gloom out there when it comes to commissions.

"But in the end, it has to be sustainable and we hope the regulator looks upon this as a positive.

"We are driven by the end product for the clients so commissions should never be the driver for advisers," Church says.

"Simplifying underwriting is always good as this is always a challenge with clients so it's positive they are trying to keep disclosure as simple as possible."

Tags: Cigna Insurance Advisers Underwriting

« Cigna retains strong AM Best financial ratingFrom army life to life insurance - a big gun leaves the industry »

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Comments from our readers

On 14 April 2021 at 3:41 pm RS said:
It's always great to see life insurers advertising with mass media campaigns, thanks Cigna, it creates talking points that do help us.

I don't think you should have listened to the ad agency quite so closely though, and picked a "lead character" that appears to have OCD, and is most certainly describable as nerdish. I get the obsession currently with multi-racial couples, and lots of middle-class optics with TV advertising, but people tend to buy brands they relate to, because they see people like them in ads.

Why do agencies think insurance is boring, and only bought by boring people, and use that tone in ads?

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