We are super proud that we are a finalist in the 'Innovation of the Year' category in the New Zealand Insurance Industry awards sponsored by ANZIIF. This award recognises how 'insurers have successfully addressed issues by implementing innovative change.' It's a competitive award and a competitive category in which to be recognised. Hence our excitement.
Our entry was based on our product bundling offer, which we launched early this year. Product bundling enables our customers to buy Income Protection on the same policy as Life Insurance. What this means in practicality is that for you to get two different policies, you only need one set of underwriting, one price and one policy. Additionally, the product is available online, with no need for an adviser, so our customers can apply anytime that suits them, rather than needing an appointment. At this time, no one else has a similar product offer.
At Pinnacle Life, we believe that Life Insurance should be accessible and straightforward to understand. We think that complicated and multiple application forms asking similar questions make it hard for consumers to understand and fulfil their insurance needs. It is just one of the reasons that many New Zealanders are underinsured. It's just too hard and too complicated to get cover.
Our purpose in developing a single product was to:
·improve the accessibility of insurance for customers by removing a barrier to getting insurance. Multiple applications add time and complexity, creating confusion about what can, and should, be a straightforward process. Complexity also means people aren't clear about what they are covered for and what they're not, which undermines trust and increases reluctance to get cover.
·reduce the time it takes for customers to get covered. The longer something takes to do; the more likely someone will drop out of the process. We want more Kiwi's to have the right amount of cover for their situation. If we can make this quick and easy, we believe more people will get their insurance sorted.
When we were preparing our application, we also noted that during 2020, while Pinnacle Life was working to make it easier for consumers to purchase Income Protection, the industry was moving the other way. Last year, Chatswood reported a tightening of qualifying criteria combined with price increases by several insurers due to changes in the Australian market and COVID-19. Both moves make it harder, more expensive, and therefore less likely for consumers to take out life insurance or income protection. This is the opposite of what the Financial Markets Authority is trying to achieve in dealing with NZ's underinsurance problem.
Making things as simple and easy for regular kiwis to get life insurance is important to us. In fact, it's the reason we exist. It's the very reason Noel Vaughan started Pinnacle Life in 1988. Back then, it was an 0800 number and getting covered over the phone rather than an adviser having to come and see you. Then the internet happened, and we were the first in the world to offer online life insurance. That meant you could get life insurance without talking to anyone if you didn't want to.
We also try to make Life Insurance easy by keeping everything in 'plain' English. This does not mean a one-page policy document. It means a policy document that doesn't read like a lawyer's textbook.
We will continue to work to innovate life insurance in such a way that consumers benefit. We will keep looking for what we can do to make life insurance more accessible, easier to understand and simple to get. This award means the industry recognises we are on the right track, and we hope that it inspires other providers to make the same kind of progress.
And finally, as well as this award, Amy Cavanaugh, our General Manager Operations, is one of just 7 (!) finalists for Young Insurance Professional of the Year. For her submission, she had to comment on her experience to date, how she contributes to the industry, her career goals and milestones and what challenges she sees facing the industry. We are so proud to have her on our team and will be cheering her on at awards night.