Is there hope for positive change when it comes to our insurance industry?
This post picks up from the previous where we looked at the Reserve Bank's (RBNZ) report on the life insurance industry in New Zealand - "Skeletons of New Zealand's life insurance industry".
Here are a few quick facts on the New Zealand insurance industry:
Kiwis spent approximately $10B dollars last year on insurance.
New Zealand insurance companies spend about $3B a year on sales and commissions cost. A staggering amount of money that could perhaps be used to lower our insurance premiums each year rather than it going up?
To recap RBNZ's key findings on New Zealand life insurance companies when compared against their peers in the OECD: (1) NZ life insurance companies are more profitable (2) NZ life insurance companies pay out less in claims (3) NZ life insurance companies pay out more in sales and commissions cost, and spend more on their operating expenses i.e. less efficient.
Here are a couple of ways Kiwis can make a stand and bring about positive change to the insurance industry.
There is nothing more powerful than customers making a point with their wallets. Where we choose to spend our money holds influence over the future of any company and ultimately the industry. However, the only thing between us and the future of a company is the action we choose to take, or not take.
A good example of taking action against insurance is looking at YOUI in New Zealand. The general insurance company was punished for deceptive and aggressive sales tactics. The end result was a $320,000 fine in 2016 by our Courts in addition to the $100,000 fine (the maximum penalty) imposed by the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ), not forgetting bad press.
Our actions count.
As with most things we buy, shopping around can make a difference when it comes to how much we pay. Insurance is no different. Insurance premiums can vary widely, even though the policy benefits may not. Shopping around rather than buying insurance from the first company that comes to mind or the one that paid the most money to appear first on google search can pay off in the hundreds if not thousands when you add it up across all your insurance covers.
There are many more insurance companies on the market than most people know or have heard of. Some are well established while others are newer to the market, but the companies are regulated by the same body and have minimum requirements to meet in order to operate in New Zealand.
For example, did you know there are at least five insurance companies providing health insurance in New Zealand? They include Accuro, AIA, nib, Partners Life and Southern Cross. Similarly with pet insurance, there are five providers in New Zealand. AA, dotsure, Petplan, Pet-n-Sur and Southern Cross. Most Kiwis may only be familiar with one or two names.
Insurance is a way to protect us financially when it comes to our lives, lifestyle, loved ones and valuables. Like our finances, it changes over time. As our lifestyle and life-stage changes over the years, it is important that the way we protect ourselves financially keeps up. If it has been a year, or years, since you've had a look at your insurance, chances are it no longer suitable. Take a moment to check-in, not just for you but your loved ones too.
What is Quashed doing to help improve New Zealand's insurance industry?
Quashed was founded on four simple principles to propel it towards its vision where all Kiwis are financially protected:
To give Kiwis a much better and simpler online experience
To improve transparency for customers when it comes to their protection
To bring trust back to the insurance industry
To remove inefficiencies by connecting customers and insurance providers seamlessly
The more Kiwis we have on our platform, the faster we can achieve change. We need your help.
Insurance companies are giant behemoths that earn billions of dollars from Kiwis each year. Many of us feel powerless when it comes to taking them on even when we have been taken for a ride. However, with Kiwis rising up to the challenge, aided by the power of technology and social media, the tide finally seems to be turning.
Come make waves with us today. Join Quashed today.