In what has been identified by many in the life insurance and advice sectors as a very tough year, Riskinfo has identified its three best initiatives for 2019.
The year was dominated in many respects by the fallout associated with the Banking Royal Commission recommendations released at the beginning of February and the various issues arising throughout they year surrounding the rollout of FASEA’s adviser exams, its minimum education standards and its adviser code of ethics.
While these often-controversial issues rightly took centre stage in our reporting for a lot of this year, we were still challenged to identify the three ‘stand-outs’ in a range of great initiatives that unfolded in 2019.
In no particular order, these are what we’ve deemed to be the three best in initiatives for 2019 (noting the only criteria are that their initiatives have advanced the best interests of the life insurance industry in Australia for the ultimate benefit of consumers; and that Riskinfo has reported these initiatives during the course of the year):
- TAL Risk Academy to Include FASEA Master Class
- World-First Claims Data Release
- Life Company Community Support for Flood, Fire Victims
Congrats to TAL for structuring a national series of master classes this year, as part of its TAL Risk Academy offer, to help many hundreds of advisers prepare to take the FASEA Adviser exam.
The insurer originally announced this initiative in January, and released details of additional FASEA Exam master classes in July, in order to cope with the demand from advisers around the country in response to this service. It increased its offering from 16 classes to 60, where the courses were booked out. TAL advises almost 2,500 advisers subscribed and over 12,000 CPD hours of education provided towards advisers’ FASEA accreditation.
The Risk Academy Masterclasses attracted a $55 fee, which TAL donated to charity. In 2019 these donations, totalling $209,900, went to the Australian Business and Community Network Scholarship Foundation, which is a not-for-profit organisation that connects business with disadvantaged children to improve their education.
Informal feedback to Riskinfo from a number of advisers also painted a picture of excellent value-add for them in taking time out to attend these master classes.
Nice work, TAL.
Yes, that’s right. We’re recognising the regulators! At the end of March, in what was claimed as a world-first, regulators APRA and ASIC combined to deliver an immensely comprehensive analysis of life insurance claims and disputes statistics.
Available to advisers, other industry stakeholders and – importantly – to consumers, these statistics deliver an affirmation of the value of life insurance and the value of life insurance advice.
Taken from our first report on the initial release at the end of March, the data includes an online tool available on ASIC’s MoneySmart website (click here), where the package offers advisers and consumers the opportunity – for the first time – to compare and contrast each life insurer across a range of claims metrics for four distribution channels.
Life Company Community Support for Flood, Fire Victims
We congratulate virtually all retail life companies for stepping up to the plate during the course of this year to engage with victims of natural disasters and to help ease the pain, if possible. These companies include: Zurich, AIA Australia, TAL, CommInsure, OnePath, ClearView and MLC Life Insurance.
This assistance was manifested mostly by life companies offering premium waivers for those affected by floods earlier in the year and by fires in September and more recently:
2019 isn’t the first year that insurers have offered premium waivers for disaster victims, but the engagement from the product manufacturers in response has definitely ramped-up throughout 2019, where we’ve reported more such initiatives this year than in the past.
We see this overall level of response as evidence that insurers are moving with the times – away from a more distant/traditional relationship with their policy holders – towards a more engaged and ongoing relationship that augurs well for the gradual renewal of trust in the sector from the perspective of the consumer.
There were other great initiatives launched throughout the course of the year, and we’ll welcome your own thoughts if you’d like to post your view in the comments section below. In the meantime, though, congrats again to the three best initiatives in 2019 as selected by Riskinfo…