Emerging Trends – The Adviser of the Future.

Emerging Trends – The Adviser of the Future.

Two common models in business, which can be seen across the Financial Advice market are the volume-based business and the value-based business.

The volume business focuses on getting lots of clients through the door who have fairly simple requirements, it’s a low-touch model but relies on efficiency of processes and fairly straightforward clients who don’t have complicated needs.

The value business model is one where much fewer clients are served more holistically and the Adviser provides much more nuanced and bespoke service. They may specialize in a particular area of advice (or occupations) and they will generally stay with the client for life. Serving their needs as they change over time.

 

Can these models survive?

With changes to commissions and much higher compliance requirements, both models are under threat. The volume model isn’t satisfying customer needs and the value model isn’t bringing in a sustainable amount of business. So, what should an Adviser do?

The key to the future is developing a hybrid that adapts to rapid change.

Characteristics of this business model include;

  • Taking advantage of operational efficiency without diminishing your offering
  • Leveraging technology to deliver personalized and bespoke customer service that is indistinguishable from the high-touch model
  • Identifying opportunities to carve out market-share and seek out customers with modern marketing approaches
  • Building reputation and profile online via search, social media and web-presence
  • Investing in on-going training and education for all staff

Like a phoenix from the ashes.

Last year when our industry faced hit after hit, some among us wondered what the future, if anything, would look like. The new hybrid model is already bringing huge success to the Advisers who are embracing it and we’re delighted to be supporting them in this transformational change. The truth is, at the heart of this strategy is a focus on customers, and when you do that – you can’t go wrong. 

Suzie Brown

Suzie Brown

General Manager Distribution

Ever wish that life insurance products worked better in practice? Us too!

April 1 changes to Integrity’s retail products summarised.

April 1 changes to Integrity’s retail products summarised.

In line with the removal of Agreed Value from our Income Insurance product, we also wanted to take the opportunity to make some other changes based on your feedback. Please find below a summary of these changes.

Income Insurance.

  • Removal of Agreed Value – this change aligns Income Insurance to the sustainability measures announced by APRA in early December 2019. Although no longer on sale, any Agreed Value cover will be guaranteed renewable and can be updated at any time in the future (subject to a few conditions).
  • Addition of a new Waiting Period: 1 Year – This change aligns the Waiting Period on Retail with the Five+ Benefit Period providing advisers and their clients complimentary product offerings. We now have 30, 60 90 days, 1 and 2 year waiting periods across all Income Insurance.

TPD.

  • Increase to maximum Cover Amount to $5m – this is in response to direct adviser feedback. You asked for it, we delivered! TPD cover amounts are min $50k – max $5m
  • Aligning definitions to make things easier to understand – the definition of ‘Activities of Daily Living’ now includes the addition of a 6th limb ‘using the shower or bath to bathe’. Now our ADL definition is the same across Retail and Group.

Care Support Package.

  • We have increased the timeframe for submission of reimbursements – where previously this was 30 days we are now allowing claimants more time to lodge their claim and have extended this to 90 days.

Policies owned by Diversa via Integrity’s Here for You Super Plan.

  • Introduction of ability to pay premiums on a monthly basis in the form of direct debit – we have introduced the ability to pay premiums on a monthly basis in the form of direct debit. This change is in response to adviser feedback and will allow members of the Super Plan to make monthly contributions to pay their premiums. 

The final note.

Pssst…and just so you know… we have also extended our 8% Lifetime Discount offer to 30 April 2020 to give you a bit more time to take up this great offer.

 

William Rogers

William Rogers

Head of Retail Product

Operational readiness. Ready or not?

Operational readiness. Ready or not?

When we published our research paper two months ago on the “future” of the industry, we pointed to the need for Advisers to be thinking about the cloud from an operational readiness perspective. Little did we know that the future was coming a lot sooner than anyone predicted, although for other reasons.

Now that business everywhere are grappling with how to run ‘business as usual’ when it’s anything but usual, we’ve got some lessons from having ‘been there done that’ that may prioritise your efforts.

Working from anywhere, on any device.

From the beginning, our guiding principle was to ensure that all of our people, from claims assessors to underwriters, to customer care, to our finance and back-office teams were able to access anything (and everything) from the cloud. This means all of our files, templates, business applications are accessible from any secure location. We use a tool called Okta which means that employees don’t have to sign into multiple accounts with multiple usernames and passwords which can be a drawback with a cloud-based approach. So whether our people are in the office or working from home – our service and delivery is unchanged.

The customer interface.  

It’s not just our back-end technology that supports remote working. Our award-winning Adviser portal is available 24/7 and works on just about any device. Originally, this was built to provide Advisers with the convenience to be able to do pre-assessments and applications with a client in their own home, or out and about on the road, but now it’s obviously incredible useful for Advisers who find themselves working from home.

Beyond this though, every employee has a Zoom account and access to Microsoft teams. This means that all employees are able to use video conferencing to connect to clients, customer, partners, suppliers, Advisers and each other. It’s made our operations during COVID-19 all the more seamless.

People, get ready.

All the technology in the world doesn’t come to much if people aren’t comfortable, capable, and confident to use it. Ahead of the pandemic, we supported a wide range of flexible work arrangements so when we were asked to socially isolate, employees could literally pick up their laptops within minutes and be out the door, knowing everything was going to work.

As life continues like this, we’re continuing to educate our people with tips to make life a little easier. For example how to scan documents on your iPhone or iPad using the Notes app, or how to use your TV as a computer monitor screen. The importance of on-going training and education to embed new ways of working is critical.

The other benefit of getting your team to flourish in a cloud-based environment is that it just gives you more options to connect.

We’ve set up a virtual lunchroom where daily from 12-1 you can logon and enjoy a break with your colleagues to keep connections going and instill a sense of routine.

Whether it’s COVID-19, or the (no doubt) increase in remote working we will see in the coming year, or just customer expectations that they should be able to connect to your business and your services from anywhere on any device – it’s high time to examine your operations and maybe get your head in the clouds.

As always, if you have any questions on any of this, we’re here to help.

Andy Todd

Andy Todd

General Manager, Information & Technology

Your questions answered on COVID-19.

Your questions answered on COVID-19.

As we navigate unprecedented events, we want you to know we’ve got your back. We have a number of ways we’re ensuring there is no interruption to our normal operations and no reduction in service. We’ve had a few questions about COVID-19 with regards to your clients’ Policies and our operational capability, so we wanted to provide you with the details.

Is Integrity open for business?

Yes! And we will remain so. As a cloud-based Insurer, the tools we need to serve you and operate our business are accessible to us from any secure location. Our Claims Assessors, Underwriters and Customer Care teams also operate using cloud-based technology, so whether they’re in the office or working from home – our service and delivery to you and your clients will be unchanged.

What about new business? Can people still apply for insurance during the pandemic?

Yes, Integrity’s underwriting and new business processes are operating as normal.

Are there any restrictions on cover due to Coronavirus?

Integrity does not have any exclusions specific to pandemics or the current Coronavirus.  Clients may be asked our standard travel questions and will need to comply with their normal duty to disclose any existing illness when they apply.

What about medical screening for underwriting?

At present our screening providers are operating normally with enhanced infection prevention measures. While we do expect there to be some delays in receiving medical information from medical centres due to their increased workload, we are communicating frequently with all our partners to ensure any delays are known and accounted for so you can communicate this to your clients.

What about financial hardship?

We have a Financial Hardship policy that we are invoking for any client who has reduced capacity to pay based on the current situation. All you need to do is get in contact with us and we can support financial hardship in a number of ways including waiving premium or suspending cover.

Does Integrity have the funds to pay a large number of claims?

As a APRA regulated Life Insurer we have met all of APRA’s current and previous capital requirements. Additionally, we are reinsured which means that we spread all our risk with another insurer.

How will COVID-19 affect my client’s ability to claim on their policy?

Integrity Cover does not have any blanket exclusions for any issues or health concerns related to COVID-19 or any other pandemic. Any Claim we receive, including one where the cause of death is Coronavirus (COVID-19) – will be assessed under our Claims guidelines.

What happens if an insured client with Income Protection cover gets sick from COVID-19 and is unable to work?

Where an insured person is disabled and unable to perform their usual occupation due to a sickness, injury or illness for a period longer than the waiting period set out on their Integrity policy schedule, it is likely they will qualify for an income protection benefit. All income protection claims will be assessed under our claims guidelines. 

Can an insured person claim if they are prevented from attending work due to company or government restrictions.

In order to receive an income protection benefit an insured must meet the definition of disability as defined in their Integrity policy. This requires that a person be suffering from an injury or illness. Restrictions on attending a workplace based on company or government advice would not satisfy the definition of disability and would not lead to a benefit payment.

What about an insured person who is already on claim who may have trouble accessing their normal treating doctor?

We recognise that there is likely to be additional strain on medical services over the coming time.  For any insured people who are already on claim, we will consider alternate methods of information collection and may continue to pay income protection benefits for a period even if medical evidence is delayed.

We would encourage anyone suffering from a health condition that could be made worse by exposure to COVID-19 to contact us to discuss our ongoing information requirements as we do not want to expose anyone to increased risk by attending hospitals or medical centres.

What about needing to lodge a new claim?

Please contact us if you need to lodge a claim.  We will conduct an assessment over the phone and consider how best to gather the required medical information without exposing the insured to unnecessary risk or placing additional burden on medical service providers.

I still have more questions, what do I do? 

If you have any further questions on this, please get in contact with us any way you choose, or contact your BDM. 

 

Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom

Integrity operations and COVID-19.

Integrity operations and COVID-19.

As we navigate unprecedented events, we want you to know we’ve got your back. We have a number of ways we’re ensuring there is no interruption to our normal operations and no reduction in service. We’ve had a few questions about COVID-19 with regards to your clients’ Policies and our operational capability, so we wanted to provide you with the details.

Are my clients covered in relation to COVID-19?

Integrity Policies do not exclude issues or health concerns related to COVID-19 or any other pandemic. Any Claim we receive, including one where the cause of death is Coronavirus (COVID-19) – will be assessed under our Claims guidelines.

Existing and new Policies will be treated equally – there will be no difference in service or offering.

Claims for an Income Insurance benefit will be paid if the insured is unable to work due to sickness for a period longer than the waiting period.

 

Will customer service, claims, or processes be impacted by COVID-19?

The short answer is no. As a cloud-based Insurer, the tools we need to serve you and operate our business are accessible to us from any secure location. Our Claims Assessors, Underwriters and Customer Care teams also operate using cloud-based technology, so whether they’re in the office or working from home – our service and delivery to you and your clients will be unchanged.

You can also continue to work with us whether you’re in the office or another location. Our Adviser Portal is available 24/7 so you can continue to create quotes and submit applications – anytime on any device, or contact our teams any way you choose.

 

We’re here to help now, and into the future.

Rest assured we’ll remain vigilant to protect the wellbeing of our team so we will be here to support you now, and into the future.

If you have any further questions on this, please get in contact with us any way you choose, or contact your BDM. 

 

Suzie Brown

Suzie Brown

General Manager Distribution

Ever wish that life insurance products worked better in practice? Us too!

Human centered product design. A new approach.

Human centered product design. A new approach.

It’s not every day you get the chance to rethink an entire suite of Life Insurance products from the ground up. When Will Rogers (our Head of Retail Products) got the chance, he jumped at it. The guiding principles were to create a ‘best-of-breed’ product but with some tweaks that elevate cover with integrity beyond just ‘cutting a cheque’ at claims time.

We sat down with Will to chat about how our Retail products support people financially, physically and mentally – when they need help most.

Thanks for your time Will, first we would like to know a bit about where you focused on improving the customer experience through product design?

My main driver was striving for simplification. For a long time, life insurance products have been extremely complex and hard to understand and in doing this we have created distrust in how we operate and what you may or may not be covered for. Simplification means an easier job for Advisers in explaining products and more comfort for clients in knowing what they’ve got and how they’re protected. Simplification doesn’t mean we took everything out, but we did rationalise everything in our policies to ensure they stood up to clients’ need’s, but we also just made our products easier to digest and used more accessible language throughout our documentation.

Another key focus for us was  our benefits and not overloading products with too many options and features (and thus complexity). The great thing about creating modern products was access to data and the wealth of experience of our team which allowed us to stick with benefits we know provide value to clients and avoid features that might sound great but never get claimed.

One of the most thoughtful features (we’re proud of) is the Terminal Illness Care Benefit, can you talk a bit about that and how it works?

The Terminal Illness Care benefit sits within our market-leading Care Support Package. Our Care Support Package contains a bundle of ancillary benefits which are traditionally found within core life insurance covers. Part of our initial simplification was to pull these ancillary benefits out of the core covers and bring prominence to them for customers.

We also saw the need to build a new type of ancillary benefit, which caters for those customers who are terminally ill and want to die with dignity at home. That’s where our Terminal Illness care benefit comes in. It allows the customer, who’s in their last 30 days, to obtain a benefit where they can choose how to spend it. They may put the benefit to accommodation, medical or other expenses that they are likely to incur during this time.

When designing this feature, we didn’t just pull from our underwriting and industry experience, this was one where personal experience of many of the people who work here was able to inform our approach.

What are some other examples of product features and how they work in real-life?

We know that sometimes when you’re recovering or getting back on your feet, there may be times that there’s a relapse of the condition that you initially suffered. Within our Income Insurance cover, we have an inbuilt feature which restarts an Income Insurance claim if there’s a relapse of the same condition up to 12 months after we stop paying a claim.

When people suffer a critical illness, such as a heart attack or are diagnosed with cancer, unfortunately there’s a strong likelihood that there’ll be a re-occurrence or relapse of the same or a related condition. To ensure our customers are protected when this occurs, we offer the ‘Critical Illness Relapse option’, which is a costed option within our Critical Illness cover. If someone’s cancer spreads to another organ or they suffer another heart attack or even need bypass surgery, the Critical Illness Relapse option will support them at this time.

In everything we do, we start with the principle we were founded on, how can we be there for people when they need it most. 

William Rogers

William Rogers

Head of Retail Product

Learn more about our innovative products designed for today’s customer needs.