Editor’s Note Autumn 2019

The trees are bare and the smell of hot crossed buns fills the air. Welcome to the Autumn Edition of RiskeBusiness. I hope that 2019 has exceeded your expectations so far. We have a plethora of quality articles in this edition of ReB! There really is something for everyone …..

We interview the winner of the ALUCA Life Insurance Excellence Awards, Stephen Connolly from Zurich. A H-U-G-E congratulations to Stephen!
The return of a financial article…… get your hands dirty as you work through a realistic business expenses case study with Jason Noyahr / CPA Accountant and Insurance Financial Specialist at AIA – as he prosecutes the case for Business Expenses Insurance – What is Actually Covered? Do you assess business expenses differently? If so feel free to open a conversation in the comment box under all articles.

Shane Burdack / Senior Underwriting Consultant at Swiss Re and a member of the FSC Genomics Working Group – provides a timely update on the Genetic Testing Moratorium that is scheduled to be introduced on 1 July this year. A must read for both claims and underwriting professionals.

Sheree Chandra / Group Claims Manager at MetLife – wrote to ReB about a spinal cord injury cure project that she is passionate about and it’s happening right here in Australia! Earlier this year Swiss Re, EML and Lloyds backed a research clinical trial called Project Edge. This Queensland cure may be a game changer globally for individuals suffering from a spinal cord injury – not to mention the millions of dollars in savings for the insurance industry. The research resulted in a man regaining mobility. Well worth a read.

Another popular article making a comeback in this edition is 5 minutes with ……. in this episode we interview Samantha Norton / Executive General Manager of mlcoa and ALUCA Platinum Sponsor. Samantha speaks candidly about her insights of the life industry and her career path to success. What would Samantha do if she was the Chair of ALUCA? Ensure that we don’t lose sight of our purpose, which is to look after people in their time of need. A purpose worth highlighting again here on the front page!

Stuart Crichton of Hannover Re has provided an exciting paper on Cancer Immunotherapy which is in relatively infancy but is it really a “game-changer”?

In the last edition, you may recall that I called for expressions of interest from experienced claims and underwriting professions to join me in a small ReB Working Group. The purpose of this group is to propel ReB to another level in 2019. Well I am delighted to announce that two exceptional people have offered their expertise. Representing underwriting, we have Tracy Peterson who recently returned to Australia after a decade as Chief Underwriter for Hannover Re, in Bermuda (be sure to read Tracy’s article Bermuda to Australia in this edition) and representing claims, Mark Raberger who is the Chief Claims Officer at MetLife Australia. A Physiotherapist by trade, Mark has held senior roles in insurance claims over the last decade. I honestly could not have asked for more and I’m really looking forward to working with Tracy and Mark.

Enough from me, I hope you really enjoy this Autumn Edition of ReB and, have a safe and happy Easter break.

Cheers

Michael Reid
ReB Editor

Michael.Reid@aia.com 
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Editor’s Note – Summer 2018-19

Welcome to the Summer Edition and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2018 has come and gone in record time (again) and what a year we had!  My grandmother used to say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and I could not think of a better way to describe the last 12 months in Australian life insurance.

The Financial Services Council (FSC), the Life Insurance Framework (LIF) and of course the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry have compelled our industry to review every aspect of our respective business operations. While watching one ill-fated event unfold in granular detail after another at the RC hearings, it was hard not to feel somewhat deflated. “How did it come to this?” I asked myself on several occasions. Like many of you who are passionate about the enormous value our purpose-driven industry brings to everyday Australians, I found the imbalance frustrating and yet the cases prosecuted at the RC left no doubt that we can do much better.

There is no doubt that the Australian life insurance industry sustained reputational damage in 2018 and for that reason, I see 2019 as a genuine opportunity to start with a clean slate, embrace the changes to come and demonstrate our true value to the Australian public.

Since RiskeBusiness became an online publication a couple of years ago, analytical data reveals that our readership has grown exponentially. Sure the online presence expands audience reach however the real success of ReB is primarily a result of quality articles and papers by our ALUCA members and sponsors. I believe that we can take ReB to another level in 2019! To achieve this, I am looking to assemble a small working group of claims and/or underwriting professionals who are well connected in the life industry, can spare 15 to 30 minutes twice quarterly but most importantly….. have a genuine passion for ReB’s evolution. If this opportunity appeals to you, please send an expression of interest to the ALUCA Secretariat secretariatofficer@aluca.com

Speaking of getting involved and making a difference, have you completed the ALUCA’s 2018/9 Annual Member Survey yet?This survey is to better help ALUCA understand members’ challenges, needs and thoughts about ALUCA as we plan for 2019.  The ALUCA Board and I would really appreciate a 5-10 minute investment of your time to tell us what you think. Please click here to access the survey

I hope you really enjoy this Summer Edition of RiskeBusiness and may 2019 be your best ever year!

Cheers

Michael Reid
ReB Editor

Michael.Reid@aia.com 
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Editor’s Note – Spring 2018

Welcome to the Post-Conference Edition!

I was one of 500 fellow ALUCA Members who attended the ALUCA Innov18 Life Changing conference in October and must start by congratulating Amanda our CEO, Jim our Chair, the Conference Convenors Mary, Sean and their Conference Committee for putting on a truly sensational event! 17 diverse plenary topics were on offer, underpinned by 36 sponsors/exhibitors/supporters showcasing their wares in the magnificent Hotel Grand Chancellor venue – and all coordinated with seamless efficiency.

A healthy balance was struck between technical presentations and speakers with an eye on the future.  The common theme was how [and when] we will adapt to a rapidly changing client demographic i.e. the rise of the Millennials and distribution trends i.e. predictive modelling.   I beelined to these plenaries and in doing so gained a great deal of thought-provoking ideas that can be explored at my organisation immediately – a key success measure for any conference.  Previous conferences that I have attended (Alice Springs 2008 and Auckland 2012) were invaluable for my development at that time and it was extremely satisfying to witness the evolution of ALUCA at this 2018 conference.

Of course we had plenty of fun too!

More on the conference to come in this edition including a link to the photos.

Also in this Spring edition ….

We hope the delay of this Spring Edition hasn’t caused too much inconvenience. We made a call to publish post conference so that ALUCA Members were not waiting until mid-December to hear about the conference and see the photos.

The Summer Edition will run to our pre-Christmas schedule so if you have a contribution to make, please let me know asap.

I hope you really enjoy this Post Conference Spring Edition of ReB.

Cheers

Michael Reid
ReB Editor

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Editor’s Note – Winter 2018

Welcome to the Winter Edition!

the theme ………     ALUCA Innov18 Life Changing

And just like that…..we are into the business end of 2018!  We are also just three months away from ALUCA’s flagship biennial conference.

Can you believe that the Life Insurance Framework (LIF) has been in operation for over six months? Last week, my team and I considered the changes that LIF has brought to our business operation since the 1st of January implementation and the consensus is that there has been little impact. In saying that, significant changes were integrated into our work processes and operating systems prior to January. How has LIF affected your business? Don’t be shy, write a comment below.

Moving onto the articles ….

As most of you are aware, income protection profitability has been a slow burning concern for decades in the Australian life insurance industry. At a Senior Underwriter Forum night in Melbourne, a retired underwriting manager explained to the members that he addressed this same issue as a matter of urgency from the late 70’s!  More recently, TPD and trauma profitability margins are also being squeezed. In view of all this, I found Shane Burdack’s article: Back to the Future – Financial Underwriting – A step back in history a very topical read. Shane reminisces on an article he published way back in 1999 that focused on the eroding prudent risk controls of Australian Group DI market. I’m sure you will agree that Shane’s recommendations from 19 years ago make a great deal of sense. Is now the time to introduce these controls? And if so, what is stopping us? Share your thoughts below Shane’s article.

In Hank George’s biannual instalment of Update From America, I found it surprising to learn that in this age of automation, only 55% of US life insurers currently have underwriting rules engines that facilitate “straight-through processing” of new applications and in this flexible working era, just two-thirds of US life insurers allow their underwriters to work from home. Hank explains the reasons behind these stats along with other interesting risk topics and study results.

In his article Influenza: The Insurers’ Perspective, Dr Daniel Zimmerman explores the increasing global burden of influenza that WHO estimates kills up to 600,000 people annually! Find out what impact Australia’s 2017 and 2009 flu pandemics have on our industry and the significant challenges ahead.

The 2018 ALUCA TurksLegal Scholarship is open. For those of you who are new to the life industry in Australasia, this is our acclaimed annual essay writing competition, designed to support the professional growth of ALUCA and its members by providing a significant career development opportunity for professionals working in the life insurance industry. See the flyer for more details and an application form. Having entered previously and supporting many staff over the years who also have, I can assure you that the short term investment of your time is well worth it. To drum-up participation in your workplace I’ve had success involving my L&D and HR teams, allowing a couple of study days, an incentive for each paper entered and if you have a few entries, consider an internal winning paper prize.

While on the topic of industry competitions designed to support the professional growth of ALUCA and its members – Swiss Re & ALUCA are excited to open entries for our third Excellence and Innovation Award. Claims and rehabilitation professionals working in-house across life insurers are invited to enter – the prize being a trip to Vancouver for the IFDM Conference; or to Hobart for ALUCA 2018. See the flyer in this edition for more details.

For those of you fortunate enough to attend the 2018 ALUCA Conference, I look forward to seeing you in Hobart and hopefully sharing a drink or two.

That’s enough from me…..as always a huge thank you to our contributors. I hope you really enjoy this Winter Edition of RiskeBusiness and please provide me with your feedback at Michael.Reid@aia.com.

I look forward to bringing you the Spring Edition (also the Conference Edition) scheduled for the end of September.

Take care

Michael Reid
ReB Editor

Michael.Reid@aia.com 
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Editor’s Letter – Autumn 2018

Welcome to the Autumn Edition. Our first edition for this 2018 ALUCA Conference year!

January is supposed to be the month of planning for the year ahead, to catch-up on professional development, nail those annual intranet compliance modules and leave work on time. What on earth happened this year?  It’s the busiest start to a year that I can remember and after speaking to many peers in both underwriting and claims, it appears to have been an industry-wide phenomenon. With so much governance and M&A change upon us, surely a positive prognosis for 2018.

Once again we have a jam-packed line-up of quality articles for you, along with our regular columns and updates….

The unintended theme for this edition is Resilience.

I asked for two medical articles with no specific subject matter and were provided with two outstanding articles that explore Resilience from quite different angles. 1) Medical Consultant (AIA) and prolific ALUCA contributor, Goran Lazic has interviewed Dr Natasha Lazareski for ReB titled, Individual Resilience – what is it and how can it help the Life Insurance Industry? – With Natasha’s extensive clinical experience in building resilience together with her substantial life insurance background, she is well qualified to share how we can all apply resilience within our industry. 2) The topic of mental illness is a constant in life insurance claims and underwriting. As industry professionals we keep abreast of best practices and challenge our thinking to gain a deeper understanding of this insidious illness. On that note read the entertaining article for ReB titled, Curveball from the Couch with Psychiatrist Dr Doron Samuell on “I Found My Cheese.”

In a Postcard from Singapore – High Net Worth (HNW) Senior Underwriting Manager (Munich Re, Singapore), Andrew McPherson discusses his relocation from Melbourne to Singapore and his leap into the GIGANTIC Asian HNW/ultra-HNW life business market. Interestingly, the reasons why the super wealthy take-up sumo-size life insurance in Asia differs greatly to Australasia. Andrew explains why, and illustrates the massive growth projected in this niche market.

On the financial front, Accountant and National Claims Manager (AIA), Ryan Katzen goes back to basics and explores the purpose and intention behind income protection insurance, and how we define income as opposed to personal exertion. A practical case is included.

ALUCA Planning Day and Board Meeting
ALUCA Planning Day and Board Meeting

On the 21st of February, I attended the ALUCA Planning Day and Board Meeting at AMP House in the Melbourne Docklands. It was an enjoyable day with enthusiastic and outcome driven discussions.

For me it was also a time to reflect on the remarkable progress that ALUCA has made in so many areas – not only over the last 12 months but over the last 5 years.

Of course it’s impossible for this to have occurred without high performing, passionate people – and leaders. It was also encouraging to hear that ALUCA membership has climbed to 1615!

In closing, a huge thank you as always to our contributors.  I hope you really enjoy this Autumn Edition of RiskeBusiness and please feel free to provide me with your feedback at Michael.Reid@aia.com.

I look forward to bringing you the Winter Edition scheduled for the end of June.

Take care

 

Michael Reid
ReB Editor

Michael.Reid@aia.com 
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Editor’s Note – Spring 2017

WELCOME to the Spring Edition of ReB

It’s a nice time of the year. The sun is up in the morning but the woollen trench coat will be around for another few weeks here in Melbourne.  Spring is also the business end of the life insurance year or “the premiership quarter” in the words of my CEO.

Here are our feature articles and updates for this edition ….

Technology – “Insurers who have the ability to move quickly and embrace the emerging technologies will be well placed for future growth. Those who do not are likely to find it increasingly challenging to remain competitive.” Scor’s Richard Millington delves into the meteoric rise and disruption of high tech insurance (or insurtech) start-ups.  According to one US research house, at the start of 2015 there were approximately 300 start-ups worldwide engaging in disruptive technology. Now, there are well over 1,000.  Australia is taking a while to catch on and proving to be “a land of opportunity and hurdles” – the reasons behind this may surprise you.

Raising the bar on TPD – in 2016 our own ALUCA Rehabilitation Sub Group Chair, Lena Kesoglou, lead a TPD Working Group to review and recommend best practice guidelines for Employability Assessments (EA) in TPD and other life insurance claims. On the back of this, a series of training sessions were rolled out in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne specifically tailored to external rehabilitation providers. The EA guidelines developed by the TPD Working Group provide a framework for both insurance claims staff and external rehabilitation consultants. The detail of this paper makes top draw reference material and a must read for all ALUCA claims professionals!

Survey Results published – you may recall that Margaret Black of the University of Sydney ran a survey late last year to gather claims feedback on employability assessments of TPD claims. It was your chance to have your say. There was a great response and I am pleased to unveil the overview of the main research findings. As an independent university inquiry into one aspect of TPD, the survey provides baseline data for evidence-based research into TPD – the first of its kind.

Claims on Wheels – as an industry we invest a great deal of our time, energy and capital exploring technology and product design innovation – and rightly so. But what about client service innovation? AIA’s Michelle D’Souza explains how this industry-first, personalised, mobile assistance program came to fruition. Initially targeting crisis claimants, the primary objective of this program is to make the worst time of a client’s life that little bit easier. Claims on Wheels launched in mid-August and has already received amazing feedback. After two years in the making, I have observed my colleagues work so passionately on this project and I’m really proud that the pilot is enjoying early success. From an industry perspective it’s a positive news story and a next level service that I believe will be considered by more insurers in the near future.

North American update – a comprehensive insurance statistical breakdown on tobacco, alcohol, drugs, GGT and more, overlaid by opinion and philosophy from our regular contributor and underwriting guru, Hank George. As always a very insightful read. Interestingly, 70% of insurers in the US use carbohydrate deficient transferrin (CDT) screening for some alcohol history profiles. What is CDT? And how can CDT assist our underwriters in determining excess alcohol risk?

Exciting Medical Advances – Dr Goran Lazic has written ReB another intriguing article on truly amazing medical breakthroughs that are within reach. Just to mention a couple…. our stomach bacteria, otherwise known as Microbiome may play a crucial role in preventing, diagnosing and treating disease. And the HIV virus has been removed from mice. After speaking to Goran about this his view is that removal of the HIV virus in humans could be as little as five years away. That would be massive! There are many more in the article.

Suicide – these statistics are nothing short of chilling. Andres Webersinke of GenRe lays out the context behind the data. Regretfully, it is no surprise that suicide remains the leading cause of death in Australian males between the ages of 15 to 44 – the highest rate among Generation X (born 1976-1985). I was stunned to learn that women have a 5-1 greater suicidal prevalence (not actual) to men. Andres confirms that sadly, suicide continues to rise irrespective of national suicide prevention strategies since 1995.

To finish on a cheerier note, I attended the ALUCA CMG financial workshop “Getting the Maths Right” in mid-Jul ran by Jo Hetherington. More details of the session are covered in the CMG Sub Group report but for my two cents…… this was an extremely well run professional development event, a full house, and Jo/Hashim (as MC) were on point.

We welcome your comments, feedback and ideas for future editions. Leave a reply below the article or join in the discussion in our ALUCA Linked-In group.

Thank you as always to our contributors and I really hope you enjoy this Spring Edition of ReB.

Michael Reid
ReB Editor

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Editor’s Note – Winter 2017

WELCOME to the Winter edition of ReB

We have a very informative edition for you this time around.

Here’s a synopsis of the line up…..

How could I not lead with the implementation of the Financial Services Council (FSC), Life Insurance Code of Practice (The Code or Life Code) on 1 July 2017.  For those of you who are not familiar with the Life Code, it is best described as a commitment by all Life Insurance companies in Australia to principles that are designed to protect the consumer. Compliancy covers all aspects of a consumer’s relationship with their insurer from buying insurance, to making a claim and through to providing options to those experiencing financial hardship or requiring additional support. To read the Life Code in full and to view the FSC members that are bound by it, please click here.

Continuing with the Life Code theme, eReports has written a timely article for ReB: “Technological innovation: Helping Insurers meet the Life Code requirement around IME Choice”.  They have kindly provided a second article covering the delicate topic of mental health claims in the self-described title: “Technological innovation: Helping Insurers meet the demands of mental health claims.”

“Why Evidence-Based Medicine” (EBM) provides an intriguing insight into the widely adopted electronic guideline tool in American workers compensation – and other countries. One of the main objectives of the EBM is to achieve better and more predictable results for the majority of patients. The article concludes with mlcoa’s Executive General Manager, Adam Goldberger who answers two follow-up questions.

Modernising the Insurance Contracts Act of 1984 has been a hot topic in Life Insurance for more years than I care to remember. There has been recent amendments as explained in: “Section 29 of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 – The New Regime”.  Colin Biggers & Paisley Lawyers break down the reasons behind each change.

Moray & Agnew Lawyers have kindly provided a must-read landmark Income Protection judgment “Fenton vs AIA Australia Ltd”:

  • on 26 May 2017, the County Court of Victoria dismissed a plaintiff’s claim for income protection benefits under a ‘one duty’ definition;
  • it is only the second time that a life insurer has successfully defended a disability claim in the County Court for over two decades and;
  • the judgement provides some important take away points in relation to defending claims involving medical conditions which are largely assessed by the plaintiff’s subjective reporting of symptoms.

In addition to above, we have our regular column updates and a wrap-up of the 2017 ALUCA Executive Leaders Forum held at Taronga Zoo.

Thank you as always to our contributors and I really hope you enjoy this Winter edition of ReB

Cheers

Michael Reid
ReB Editor

Michael.Reid@aia.com 
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Editor’s Note – Autumn 2017

Welcome to our first edition of 2017!

We have some genuine variety for you including the winning 2016 ALUCA TurksLegal Scholarship paper, two articles by two eminent life insurance consultants based in the UK and South Africa, a day in a life interview of a major reinsurer MD and, we farewell a Chief Underwriter with a distinguished 49-year life insurance career.

 

Andrew de Kock brilliantly brings the digital disruption conversation back to the customer in his article, Digital Insurance – It’s not about the technology – It has to be all about the customer.

“In the past the industry dictated the pace of change.  As an industry we refused to fundamentally change and the world just had to live with it.  Now, with clients demanding the change and plenty of people outside the industry happy to develop new business models to deliver services clients find attractive, we are no longer in control of what happens next.”

 

Andrew identifies thought-provoking examples from the real world to illustrate where life insurance sits as an industry, and suggests opportunities to better engage a much wider audience.

 

“99 percent of all statistics only tell 49 percent of the story.”
–  Ron DeLegge II

 

Chris Pollard peels back the layers of statistical claims reporting in his insightful article, UK Claims reporting – opaque transparency

 

However unpalatable, it is impossible to compare the claims’ performance of one insurer against another. Pricing, product design, underwriting and claims policy and distribution management are some of the most significant variables that impact claims experience.” 

 

This article will make you stop and think when next gazing over comparative claims statistics. What are your thoughts about it? Does the UK style of claims reporting take place in Australia or New Zealand?  Can claims reporting improve in either country? Be the first to write a comment.

 

For the July edition, I am reaching out to all CMOs for an article of their chosen interest, trend or bugbear. 

 

Thank you to all of our contributors. I hope you really enjoy this Autumn edition of ReB. 

Michael Reid
ReB Editor

Michael.Reid@aia.com 
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