Australia

October 13, 2022

How Applying an Ethical Mindset is Becoming Instrumental in Developing an Effective Insurance Framework

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In our last article, we discussed the importance of placing ethics at the forefront of an effective insurance strategy in a post-COVID era and within the new APRA income protection framework. It also outlined the need for Advisers to refer to the ethical values of Trust, Honesty, and Fairness when making recommendations, interacting with clients, and giving advice.

To expand on this further, this article dives deeper into the application of ethics in insurance advice, looking at the overlay of this ethical decision-making framework in reference to the replacement of insurance policies: old vs new using a case study as an example.

As we discuss in the video, in order to ensure the recommendations place a client in a better position and a more favourable outcome, it requires an in-depth understanding of their situation, values, and priorities to ensure that the recommendations maximise benefit over harm and set positive precedence.

In order to make appropriate recommendations, an Adviser will need to gain an understanding of the following aspects of a client’s situation (at a minimum), as each may have a direct impact on not just the product choice but the outcome of that potential claim should it happen down the track:

  • Their health and family health history.
  • The nature of their employment.
  • Their sick leave and work tenure.
  • Their income situation.
  • Their current and future affordability of premiums.
  • Their pursuits and past times.
  • Their travel plans.

It will also require in-depth product research beyond product rating and comparative software. As well as an understanding of how to apply the research that is available with respect to the nature of industry claims. This key insight and claims research with particular relevance to a client’s occupation, age, health, travel and past times, can assist an adviser to make better decisions and having more engaging conversations with their clients to discuss the potential impact and outcomes of their advice.

Providing advice in this new environment requires three levels of consideration to help ascertain the right outcome for a client as follows:

  • Key Strategic Considerations
  • Key Product Considerations
  • Key Ethical Considerations

Some of these considerations may include the following:

  • Whether to retain or replace the policy
  • If retaining the policy, what changes, if any, would be appropriate or inappropriate, for example:
    • Retain agreed value/switch to Indemnity
    • Retain or cancel additional features such as specified injury, trauma advancement etc
    • Alter the waiting period / Alter the benefit period
    • Increase or Decrease the sum insured
  • If replacing the policy, what changes would be appropriate or inappropriate, for example:
    • Articulating which features and benefits will be lost
    • Ensuring any existing cover is retained until the replacement policy is in force
  • Changes to the existing policy will impact/cancel additional features and options?
  • If part of any premium saving can be channelled to other areas (savings, trauma insurance etc)
  • Whether the recommended changes maximise benefit over harm
  • Whether the recommendations set a positive precedence

Summary

The nature of ethics means that what is fair for one may not be fair for all. As outlined, there are many considerations that advisers must investigate (beyond cost and affordability) and discuss with clients to be able to develop an insurance strategy and product recommendations that leave the client in a better situation.

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This article is Part 2 of a 2-part series, Exploring Ethical Principles and the Role in Insurance Advice, a presentation by Zurich’s Risk Specialist Adam Crabbe at the XY All Licensee PD Day.

 

This general information does not take into account the personal circumstances, financial situation or needs of any person. This article is intended for the general information of licensed financial advisers only and is dated September 2022. The information collected is given in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be accurate as at this date, which may be subject to change. It should not be considered to be a comprehensive statement on any matter and should not be relied on as such. You should consider these factors, the appropriateness of the information and the relevant Product Disclosure Statements (PDS) and Target Market Determinations (TMD), if applicable, before making any decisions or recommendations. You can find these on our website at zurich.com.au

Zurich Australia Limited (Zurich), ABN 92 000 010 195, AFSL 232510

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