It comes as no surprise that we’re preparing our last State Manager newsletter for 2021! It’s absolutely incredible how fast these last few months have flown by for all of us in this industry.
It’s been a busy time from a personal point of view for me (Mel). It feels like just yesterday that I was getting ready to go on maternity leave and now our little pink munchkin has turned one. She’s very quickly showing us who’s in charge and has her older brothers wrapped around her little finger. My husband and I also became the owners of our very first Australian home. We’ll be renovating over the next few months and can’t wait to finally move in next year.
October saw the commencement of our training for the Pedal for Possibilities Tour. This is an initiative we’ve put together with the aim of raising funds for the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
We have a number of advisers who’ve signed up to ride from Albany to Freemantle. This is to raise both awareness and vital funds to aid Garvan’s research into finding cures and causes of a multitude of diseases. See our latest pic above of some of the WA contingent of riders. Standing we have Paul Holly (Evolve WM), Neil Cleaver (Westpac), AC Bosch (Precept FS), and Michael Scolt (Empire FG). Seated from left are Tristan O’Dowd (friend of our industry), Reon Botha (NEOS), and Neil Costly (Stable Wealth). So, if possible, please sponsor our ride when you see our email – it’d be hugely appreciated! 😊
As we move through November, our WA and SA sales team are focusing on making sure you’re across our Income Support Cover offer. We’re always more than happy to spend time going through its features and how it may fit into your client offering. At the moment, our discussions seem to be revolving more around the various offers in the market and less about affordability. However, I think that once the market matures, the conversation may revert back to affordability and pricing. NEOS is very well positioned in that regard, and we trust this will resonate well with our advisers. Please reach out to any of your NEOS BDMs if you need further assistance with NEOS’s Income Support product whether it be quoting assistance, submission or SOA wording guidance. We’re here to help!
Till next time, have a wonderful Christmas and happy new year too.
INCOME SUPPORT COVER IS HERE
NEOS supports the efforts of APRA and the Actuaries Institute to bring sustainability and stability to the income protection market, ensuring that this quality product remains available and affordable.
Over the past few months, we’ve been busy building a new offering that addresses APRA’s concerns about the sustainability of income protection products. Last month, we launched Income Support Cover. This is a product that replaces up to 70% of the insured person’s income if they’re unable to work due to illness or injury (up to 60% after two years on claim). This can help cover day-to-day expenses such as school fees and mortgage and car repayments.
Income Support Cover replaces our previous Income Protection Cover. Clients with existing Income Protection Cover weren’t impacted by the change and can continue to make alterations on existing plans.
You can view more information about this product on our website here.
If you missed out on our recent IP webinar series or need a refresher, you can watch the recordings.
We’ve refreshed our website to put vital information front and centre, to create a cleaner layout, and to be more functional overall. We want our site to reflect who we are as a business – straightforward, clear, and easy to deal with! We’ve also made some backend updates to ensure we can always get information to you as quickly as possible.
All forms, documents and information you need is available in the one place – including new Product Disclosure Statements. There’s also a new search function to help you find what you need easily.
We’ll always have the latest versions of our forms and documents on our website. Here are some links you can bookmark to make accessing these quick and easy.
We hope you find the new website easy to use, interesting and useful. As always, we value your feedback so please let us know what you think!
DDO IS HERE
On 5 October 2021, ASIC’s Design and Distribution Obligations (DDO) came into effect.
DDO requires product issuers and distributors to have a customer-focused approach when designing and distributing products.
Under these obligations, issuers of financial products must make a Target Market Determination (TMD) for their products, ensure these are publicly available, and take steps to ensure that distribution is aligned to the TMD. You can find copies of our TMDs on our website.
Distributors also have a number of obligations, such as keeping records of complaints and providing these to product issuers every six months.
You can find more information about DDO here.
COLOURING COMPETITION WINNERS
It’s been a difficult time in Australia, with some of us in lockdown for weeks, and many in shorter but still stressful lockdowns. During this challenging time, we wanted to help keep everyone healthy, happy and entertained, so we launched a few initiatives with these goals in mind. They included online fitness classes, “Lunch & Learn” web sessions, and a colouring competition. We hope you joined those of us in long term lockdown and were able to benefit as well!
Mental and physical health
Many of us have been working exclusively from home during the recent outbreak, and all while gyms were closed in New South Wales and Victoria. To make sure everyone could stay fit, we ran some online Pilates and HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes in September and October. We know how important it is to keep moving when we’re venturing out less and sitting in front of our computers all day. And based on your feedback, it seems like these classes helped keep you active!
We also know that mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness, so we made sure we had that covered too. During October, we partnered with Cuppa of Life to offer a weekly “Lunch & Learn” series, which covered a range of topics including overcoming anxiety, understanding emotions and tackling insecurities. During such strange and testing times, it’s more important than ever to employ good self-care techniques, and to be aware of the stressors around us. We hope the series was interesting and useful.
NEOS’ colouring competition
Mindfulness is a great tactic for positive mental health, and one way to achieve this is through colouring. Of course, the simple act of keeping kids entertained is also good for one’s mental health. With both these goals in mind, we launched our colouring competition, and we were thrilled to see all your beautiful work. We had 181 colourful entries across four age categories, and our winners’ entries are featured below. We hope this gave your kids – and you – some welcome distraction and positivity during a tricky time!
Working from home certainly has its perks, but the lack of commute sometimes means you get less exercise. You also spend less time with colleagues, and of course keeping kids occupied while you’re working can be a real challenge. We hope we were able to help a little with these downsides during lockdown. Please reach out to us if you need any help while transitioning back into the office.
UPCOMING EXCLUSIONS UPDATE
On 2 December 2021 we’re implementing an update to some exclusions that are applied at underwriting and noted on your clients’ plan schedules.
- The phrase ‘directly or indirectly’ will be removed from all exclusions. For example:
- from the Lumbar Spine exclusion which currently reads: ‘no claim shall be payable where the condition or event giving rise to the claim results directly or indirectly from any disease, condition or disorder of the lumbar spine’.
- The words ‘acting reasonably’ are being added to the travel exclusions requiring clients to return to Australia in the event of a claim as follows:
- It is hereby understood and agreed between the company and the insured person that a claim shall only be considered for a maximum period of three months in the event that the insured person is residing either temporarily or permanently outside of Australia or New Zealand (unless the insured person is confined in a recognised hospital and according to both the appropriate medical specialist at the hospital and in our opinion [acting reasonably] is unable to travel). Once the insured person returns to Australia or New Zealand, benefits will recommence without a new waiting period.
- It is hereby understood and agreed between the company and the insured person that a claim shall only be considered once the insured person returns to Australia or New Zealand (unless the insured person is confined in a recognised hospital and according to both the appropriate medical specialist at the hospital and in our opinion [acting reasonably] is unable to travel).
We’re aligning the exclusion wording with some of the minor changes to various product terms we made on 5 April 2021 in compliance with Unfair Contract Terms (UCT) legislation.
The new wording will apply, where relevant, to:
- Plans issued on or after 2 December 2021; and
- Plans issued between 5 April 2021 and 1 December 2021, with new wording updated on their Plan Schedules sent at their next plan anniversary.
Claims for these clients will be assessed under this new updated wording.
These changes are in no way detrimental to your clients and neither you nor your clients need to take any action. Please speak to your BDM if you have any questions.
LET US KNOW HOW WE'RE DOING
NEOS is a life insurance business focused solely on the advised channel. This means that our success is dependent on your success. If there’s anything you feel we could be doing better or if you have any suggestions on how we can improve the NEOS Experience, please let us know.
While this edition of our newsletter has highlighted some of the great successes we’ve recently had, we’re not too proud to think that we can’t be better.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me as your State Manager or alternatively your BDM. We’d love to hear from you! And of course, positive feedback is also appreciated.