Editor’s Note – Spring 2017

WELCOME to the Spring Edition of ReB

It’s a nice time of the year. The sun is up in the morning but the woollen trench coat will be around for another few weeks here in Melbourne.  Spring is also the business end of the life insurance year or “the premiership quarter” in the words of my CEO.

Here are our feature articles and updates for this edition ….

Technology – “Insurers who have the ability to move quickly and embrace the emerging technologies will be well placed for future growth. Those who do not are likely to find it increasingly challenging to remain competitive.” Scor’s Richard Millington delves into the meteoric rise and disruption of high tech insurance (or insurtech) start-ups.  According to one US research house, at the start of 2015 there were approximately 300 start-ups worldwide engaging in disruptive technology. Now, there are well over 1,000.  Australia is taking a while to catch on and proving to be “a land of opportunity and hurdles” – the reasons behind this may surprise you.

Raising the bar on TPD – in 2016 our own ALUCA Rehabilitation Sub Group Chair, Lena Kesoglou, lead a TPD Working Group to review and recommend best practice guidelines for Employability Assessments (EA) in TPD and other life insurance claims. On the back of this, a series of training sessions were rolled out in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne specifically tailored to external rehabilitation providers. The EA guidelines developed by the TPD Working Group provide a framework for both insurance claims staff and external rehabilitation consultants. The detail of this paper makes top draw reference material and a must read for all ALUCA claims professionals!

Survey Results published – you may recall that Margaret Black of the University of Sydney ran a survey late last year to gather claims feedback on employability assessments of TPD claims. It was your chance to have your say. There was a great response and I am pleased to unveil the overview of the main research findings. As an independent university inquiry into one aspect of TPD, the survey provides baseline data for evidence-based research into TPD – the first of its kind.

Claims on Wheels – as an industry we invest a great deal of our time, energy and capital exploring technology and product design innovation – and rightly so. But what about client service innovation? AIA’s Michelle D’Souza explains how this industry-first, personalised, mobile assistance program came to fruition. Initially targeting crisis claimants, the primary objective of this program is to make the worst time of a client’s life that little bit easier. Claims on Wheels launched in mid-August and has already received amazing feedback. After two years in the making, I have observed my colleagues work so passionately on this project and I’m really proud that the pilot is enjoying early success. From an industry perspective it’s a positive news story and a next level service that I believe will be considered by more insurers in the near future.

North American update – a comprehensive insurance statistical breakdown on tobacco, alcohol, drugs, GGT and more, overlaid by opinion and philosophy from our regular contributor and underwriting guru, Hank George. As always a very insightful read. Interestingly, 70% of insurers in the US use carbohydrate deficient transferrin (CDT) screening for some alcohol history profiles. What is CDT? And how can CDT assist our underwriters in determining excess alcohol risk?

Exciting Medical Advances – Dr Goran Lazic has written ReB another intriguing article on truly amazing medical breakthroughs that are within reach. Just to mention a couple…. our stomach bacteria, otherwise known as Microbiome may play a crucial role in preventing, diagnosing and treating disease. And the HIV virus has been removed from mice. After speaking to Goran about this his view is that removal of the HIV virus in humans could be as little as five years away. That would be massive! There are many more in the article.

Suicide – these statistics are nothing short of chilling. Andres Webersinke of GenRe lays out the context behind the data. Regretfully, it is no surprise that suicide remains the leading cause of death in Australian males between the ages of 15 to 44 – the highest rate among Generation X (born 1976-1985). I was stunned to learn that women have a 5-1 greater suicidal prevalence (not actual) to men. Andres confirms that sadly, suicide continues to rise irrespective of national suicide prevention strategies since 1995.

To finish on a cheerier note, I attended the ALUCA CMG financial workshop “Getting the Maths Right” in mid-Jul ran by Jo Hetherington. More details of the session are covered in the CMG Sub Group report but for my two cents…… this was an extremely well run professional development event, a full house, and Jo/Hashim (as MC) were on point.

We welcome your comments, feedback and ideas for future editions. Leave a reply below the article or join in the discussion in our ALUCA Linked-In group.

Thank you as always to our contributors and I really hope you enjoy this Spring Edition of ReB.

Michael Reid
ReB Editor


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