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[UPDATED] Feedback prompts changes to Asteron's trauma cover

Asteron Life’s upcoming changes to its trauma policy have been led by customer and adviser feedback with the company saying it's responding to feedback wherever possible.

Tuesday, September 28th 2021, 1:00PM

by Matthew Martin

Robyn Bartlett.

The insurer has also announced changes to expiry ages for Trauma Recovery Cover, as part of a suite of product enhancements released this week.

For its standalone and accelerated benefits, the expiry age is lifting from 70 to 85 and some other benefits, including its Continuous Trauma and Trauma Reinstatement benefit, will lift to age 75.

Asteron Life product manager Robyn Bartlett says one example is an upcoming change to its cover for cerebral aneurysms, which was based on feedback from a customer. 

“We recently received feedback from a customer who had made a claim for a cerebral aneurysm that had a significant impact on their life and was only entitled to a partial trauma payment rather than their full trauma benefit,” she says.

“Their experience was a really compelling basis for us to review how we approached aneurysm, and make changes to the product.”

Asteron has announced upcoming changes to its trauma definitions for seven conditions, with several being driven by the claims experiences of customers.

“Trauma products can’t cover every possible condition, or they become too expensive and out of reach for too many New Zealanders,” Bartlett says.

“But in this instance, we could see that our customer’s experience was very similar to other conditions that we do cover and we could envisage that this might affect other customers in future as well.”

Bartlett says by increasing the expiry ages of its trauma recovery packages gives advisers and customers increased flexibility to put together insurance that will give them peace of mind in their unique circumstances.

The maximum entry age for Asteron Life Trauma cover will also be extended to age 70.

In 2018, Asteron Life released its continuous trauma benefit, which remains the only benefit of its kind in the market in New Zealand.

Continuous trauma is an optional benefit that gives customers trauma cover they can claim on up to three times for unrelated events, even immediately after they have made a claim. 

Bartlett says the key to creating trauma cover that provides value to customers is to ensure the product is based on genuine, widespread needs while ensuring that cover remains as affordable and accessible as possible.

The changes to definitions will be passed back to applicable in-force policies sold since 2004 and are part of a suite of product enhancements that will be shared in Asteron Life’s upcoming adviser webinar series.

As well as changes to its trauma product, Asteron Life has released a number of other product enhancements including:

- Adding premium holiday benefit and premium and cover suspension to business insurance policies
- Adding a new lump sum specific injury benefit
- Making changes to its Major Trauma ratios
- Changing the definitions for seven conditions in its Trauma policies for new and existing customers back to 2004
- Updating policy wordings for various benefits including grief support and financial planning

The enhancements take effect at the end of this month.

Tags: Asteron health insurance Trauma

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