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Special report on life insurance commissions gets a mixed response...

The Sunday Star Times special report last week entitled “The hidden sales scandal" is getting a mixed response in the insurance industry - see Phil’s Blog. In my view, people are missing the point. Whilst the special report did highlight that commissions in NZ have reached unprecedented new heights, it didn’t conclude that consumers don’t value the advice they get. They do. It also didn’t conclude that advisers don’t add value. They do. As I read it, the report concluded that the large disparity in commissions between insurance companies means that some insurer’s products get ‘pushed’ a lot harder than others - in other words, consumers may not be getting unbiased advice… advice that’s in the consumer’s best interests. Instead, many are getting advice that’s in the insurer’s best interests…. not exactly what consumer’s think they’re paying for. Putting a mechanism in place, such as commission disclosure, will make the continuance of this practice extremely difficult - because consumers will soon figure it out. If a consumer is offered an expensive product that carries a higher commission, it will give them the opportunity to ask… “why?” Let the consumer rule.

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