Media release 16 February 2024 New Zealand’s largest locally owned life insurer Fidelity Life has secured the services of one of New Zealand’s top technology executives, with Angela Henderson set to take on the role of Chief Information...
Here at Fidelity Life we’re all about protecting your way of life.
Our aim is to minimise disruption to customer and adviser service levels as a result of COVID-19.
Check back here regularly for updates on our response and any impacts on you and our customers.
If you have any questions please contact your Business Manager.
For customers concerned about paying premiums, our retention team can be reached on 0800 203 750 or email@example.com
We’ve also set up a special webpage for customers to help answer their questions and take the pressure off you.
Our response to COVID-19.
We’re committed to the safety and wellbeing of our people, customers and communities.
Our offices are open to our people and visitors as usual, and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test aren’t required for entry.
However, we ask that you do wear a mask in common areas such as lifts, and where 1 metre social distancing is challenging.
We’ll continue to assess the risk of COVID-19 transmission and review our approach in response to the evolving situation and Government guidance.
Are customers covered for coronavirus?
None of our current policies have an exclusion for COVID-19. This means existing customers’ coverage isn’t impacted by COVID-19.
Here’s some general information for each main cover type:
Provided customers meet the terms and conditions of their policy, they’ll be able to make a claim.
While COVID-19 isn’t listed as a specified condition, some customers’ policies may provide cover if they have ongoing complications resulting from COVID-19. If as a result of COVID-19 they meet the terms and conditions of their policy, they’ll be able to claim.
Customers will only be able to claim if they’re medically certified as unfit to work, for example if they’ve contracted COVID-19 and are not well enough to work, and otherwise meet the terms and conditions of their policy.
They won’t be able to claim if they’re put in quarantine, for example, or unable to attend their place of work, or can’t work because they’re looking after someone else who has contracted COVID-19.
The definition of ‘totally disabled’ will be specific to the type of TPD cover they have but can include: unable to ever do their own occupation, or any occupation; or unable to complete activities of daily living.
In general, if as a result of COVID-19 customers meet the TPD definition and the terms and conditions of their policy, they’ll be able to claim.
Underwriting update - November 2020.
We’re committed to helping customers get cover.
We’re continuing to apply underwriting guidelines to ensure we’re consistent, particularly with disability cover and with individuals, occupations and industries impacted by COVID-19.
The good news is at this time there’s still no need to put any broad, mandatory policy exclusions in place. And to be clear we’re still taking a case-by-case underwriting approach.
We’re not sure how long we’ll need to keep these guidelines in place but we’ll continuously review our position and let you know as soon as anything changes.
If you have any questions please get in touch with your Business Manager, Business Account Manager, Key Account Manager or underwriter - we’re here to help.
Fidelity Life Underwriting Guide
Underwriting FAQs.Read FAQs.
What is considered variable remuneration and why would bonuses not be included for a customer whose role may not be in a vulnerable occupation or business?
Variable remuneration / income has been removed from income calculations due to its fluctuating nature. When including variable remuneration, we look at a historical record but with the current situation this doesn’t provide a good benchmark for future performance. Variable remuneration includes commission payments, bonuses and any other income dependent on company or individuals’ performance.
If I have a customer restricted to a 2 year benefit period, when can they have this extended, and what will be required to get them to a 5 year or age 65 benefit?
We’ll be reviewing our guidelines regularly. Our underwriters should be able to advise when your customer may be eligible for a longer benefit period.
Our application forms are valid for 12 months from the date they’re completed. That means you can request to increase the cover or make adjustments that increase the risk on a policy anytime within those 12 months by providing a declaration of good health. If it’s outside of those 12 months, a new application will be required.
How and when can my customer change to an agreed value contract if they’ve been offered indemnity value?
To change from an indemnity value contract to an agreed value contract, we’ll need to financially underwrite. There may be some additional questions we’ll need in line with the current guidelines and we’ll require up-to-date financial proof. It may take at least 12 months for an individual to be in a position to provide us with financial proof that enables us to accurately determine their current financial position.
Things can change quickly so our approach to risk management must also be fluid. These guidelines will be reviewed regularly and we’ll keep you informed along the way. For now, these are the guidelines we’re working to.
Why the change of definition of pre-disability income for indemnity contracts, from best of 3 years to the 12 months immediately prior to claim?
Indemnity value contracts policy wording bases “pre-disability income” on the best 12 months out of the last 3 years of financial performance.
As Covid-19 impacts the economy, the previous 3 years don’t provide a good measure for financial viability. By limiting it to 12 months, we're helping to protect existing customers by ensuring income calculations are current as things could have changed over the last 3 years.
This will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and an endorsement may need to be applied.
Why might Monthly Mortgage Repayment Cover have restrictions when the benefit calculation is based on mortgage repayments rather than income?
MMR Cover based on mortgage is still an agreed value benefit. Many customers may be financially impacted to an extent that their MMR benefit (at 110% of mortgage) covers them for more than an income protection product might.
What does this mean for existing customers that I have quoted in the last week, or business that hasn’t been finalised yet?
If you’ve received final terms for a submitted application, they’re valid up until the date indicated in the provision of terms.
If you’ve recently quoted a new customer, or if you have customers with pending applications, we’ll ask a few more questions in light of COVID-19 and the terms may change before their application is finalised.
These decisions should now be viewed as stage 1 of the assessment process. Stage 2 will then be a further assessment from an underwriter to ask the appropriate COVID-19 questions and assess with COVID-19 in mind. We acknowledge that this is not ideal, and we are working on a solution that provides clarity and streamlines the process further.
Sorry if this is confusing. Apollo hasn’t been updated to reflect these changes as we expect them to be temporary.
We’ll work with you and our reinsurers to get the best terms for your customers. These guidelines are designed to address the current situation, so please give us a call if you’ve got a potential customer to discuss – we’re happy to help.
Customers will be impacted by COVID-19 in different ways. We encourage you to continue to reach out to customers to understand whether they’re concerned about paying premiums. Here are some options available to help them keep their policies in place:
We’ll take this into account when considering their request. For example, if a customer is already 60 days in arrears, we can only offer them 30 days’ premium deferral.
Premium deferral is available for all Fidelity Life policies except:
- Tower Funeral Plan / Funeral Cover
- Investment policies e.g. Gold Medal Plan
- Some older IP income protection policies with premium payback option
You’ll need to contact customers with these polices to discuss their options.
Your recent overview of hardship provisions refers to you allowing three months before the policy lapses. How is the 90-day premium deferral different?
Where a customer has stopped paying premiums, we currently allow 90 days from the last premium paid before their policy lapses. But outside of the premium deferral option the policy is in arrears, meaning the customer will receive arrears notices and there will be attempts to collect the outstanding premiums.
With the premium deferral option, the payment of premiums is deferred until the future.
They should be considered together in order to achieve the best outcome for the customer.
In terms of existing provisions, some of our covers have built-in premium holiday and leave without pay options which allow customers to stop paying premiums, but there is no cover during that time.
However the relevant criteria are redundancy and bankruptcy, as opposed to financial hardship. Please click here for more information and check the policy wordings for details.
Customers can access the built-in premium holiday and leave without pay options at any time, including after they’ve been on premium deferral.
For more information please talk to our retention team on 0800 203 750 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We'll keep you in the loop with our communications with the customer as per usual practise.
No, all we need is a request – a phone call or email to 0800 203 750 or email@example.com is fine. We’ll ask a few questions and confirm all the details back to the customer via return email, and copy you in.
No, we only need one policy owner to make a request on behalf of all other owners. All policy owners will receive our email confirmation.
In the spirit of making premium deferral accessible to those who genuinely need it, and keeping things simple, we’ll just ask a few questions.
We’ll arrange that for them except where they pay via Automatic Payment or internet banking - the customer will need to stop those payments. If paying via direct debit or credit card, they’ll need to contact us at least 48 hours in advance so we can stop the payments.
If a policy lapses after premium deferral and it’s still within the commission responsibility period will I receive a clawback on initial commission?
Yes. A clawback will apply if the policy lapses during or after the premium deferral period. It will be back dated to prior to the start of the premium deferral, to when the last premium payment was received.
No, we won’t extend the responsibility period, it will remain as 24 months from the start of the policy as usual.
No, you’ll still be paid full renewal commission.
Can premium deferral be applied to individual covers under a policy e.g. suspend IP cover but maintain Life and Trauma as normal?
Unfortunately not. In the spirit of making premium deferral accessible to those who genuinely need it, and keeping things simple, it applies at a policy level.
Unfortunately not. In the spirit of making premium deferral accessible to those who genuinely need it, and keeping things simple, it applies at a policy level.
We want premium deferral to be accessible for all our customers facing genuine financial hardship due to the lockdown. However we reserve the right to withdraw it from the market at our discretion. If we decide to withdraw it any customers on premium deferral at the time will be able to continue with it up to the 90-day period.
Our retention team can be reached on 0800 203 750 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please get in touch with your Business Manager if you have any other questions.
Built-in hardship provisions.
Some of our covers have built-in provisions to support customers dealing with hardship:
- Premium holiday option – up to 12 months on select Life, Survivor’s Income and TPD covers
- Leave without pay option- up to 12 months on select Income Protection and Monthly Mortgage Repayment covers
Retention tools – on a case by case basis our Retention team can help customers with making up missed payments, reinstating cover or a premium freeze or temporary hold
For more details please read our overview of hardship provisions.
It’s important you check these details or the policy wording as some of the options stop cover for the period that the premiums aren’t paid.
If you have any questions about supporting customers facing hardship please touch base with your Business Manager or our Professional Development team. Our Retention team can be reached directly on 0800 203 750.
If you’ve got customers with nib policies click here to find out about support available in the event of financial hardship.
New business: how to arrange electronic signatures.
To make processing your new business applications even easier during this time we’ve introduced a new electronic signature service for declaration and consent (D&C) and direct debit (DD) forms.
So if you submit an application via eApp where these forms are missing, here’s how the service works:
Step 1 – we'll contact you for instructions
- You need to confirm you want us to arrange electronic signatures
Step 2 – you can email us the details
- Put “Electronic Signature Required” in the subject line
- Detail which forms the electronic signature is required for e.g. D&C and/or DD
- Provide email addresses for each life insured, payer, policy owner etc – it's really important to get this right!
Step 3 – we email each signatory and obtain their digital signature
- Our New Business team will email the D&C and/or DD page to each signatory as required
- We'll give them clear instructions on how to sign - they can use any touch screen device or their mouse
- The signed page will be saved automatically and sent back to Fidelity Life so we can continue with the application
- The service is also available with pending paper-based pplications – you just need to email a request to our New Business team
- The underwriting process will continue during this process. However please note medical information requests will be delayed as the signature page is required for these.
- Please be aware the process could be subject to change while we review and refine the process over time - your feedback is welcome
- We’re also looking at introducing electronic signatures to other forms and documents
Our Business Managers are running eApp clinics for anyone who needs training or a refresher, and can also provide more info on electronic signatures.
Redundancy cover closed for new applications.
It’s become clear the impact of COVID-19 on the economy will be significant. In our view this is likely to lead to an increase in redundancy-related claims.
Therefore we won’t be accepting any new applications for redundancy cover under our Mortgage Protector suite effective from 18-March 2020. This also applies to applications to add redundancy cover to existing policies.
Existing customers with redundancy cover are unaffected.
Other updates & questions.
August 2020 - the government has announced further assistance in relation to the current resurgence of COVID-19 in the community.
Extension of the Wage Subsidy (Resurgence Wage Subsidy)
Leave Support Scheme
The government’s announced a number of measures to provide relief for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s some useful links:
Changes to the Companies Act:
This is yet to be signed off, but will be made retrospective.
The government is looking at temporarily changing laws to help tenants who cannot pay their rent, and for Mortgaged Landlords to meet their mortgages payments.
Business Tax support:
Wage subsidy information for employers:
Alert Levels and businesses:
Government’s central resource for COVID-19 business information:
During the earlier lockdown we conducted all medical and provider consultations via tele-health. The quality of medical reports remained high, and customer feedback was overwhelmingly positive. In particular the ability to ‘be seen’ with minimal delay in their own homes was highly valued, especially by those who live in remote areas.
So we’ve decided to continue with tele-health moving forwards, unless its deemed clinically inadvisable by the assessing clinician.
We accept some clinicians don’t have tele-health capability and / or prefer to only undertake face-to-face assessments. In these instances we’ll do our best to limit travel requirements for customers.
If customers have any concerns you can help by asking them to phone their case manager. We’d be happy to discuss other options to ensure we meet their needs.
Covid-19 is having a global impact on countries, economies, companies and individuals.
A large portion of the world is effectively closed. Governments have imposed border restrictions and in some cases have closed borders completely, shut down towns and cities and banned gatherings of large numbers of people.
A large number of businesses have closed temporarily or will be directly affected by the closure of international borders e.g. cafes, restaurants, tourism operators and airlines to name a few.
This will likely lead to a global economic recession. The depth and length of the recession is not known. Market do not like uncertainty and so this has seen a very sharp correction in asset values.
Central banks and Governments are taking steps to provide stimulus through cuts to central bank cash rates and economic packages to support their own domestic economies.
However with no definitive timeline until a resolution to the situation, markets will continue to remain volatile as will the value of your policy.
We’re recommending customers with these policies speak with you for more information.
Premium relief is a simple, accessible solution to help customers facing financial hardship keep their policies in place while they get back on their feet. It’s available on almost all our policies from 7 April 2020 – for all the details see ‘Premium relief’ above.
For info on the built-in hardship provisions available with some of our covers please read our overview of hardship provisions.
Our retention team has a range of other tools available for customers who might have trouble paying their usual premiums. Customers should get in touch with us on 0800 203 750 or email@example.com – we’re here to help.
We’re using Microsoft Teams, a really easy way of audio and / or video conferencing over the web. We’ll email you a normal meeting invitation with a Microsoft Teams link included. All you need to do is click the link to join the Teams meeting – you don’t need to download or install anything at your end. For a quick tutorial check out this user guide.
During times of uncertainty staying in contact with customers is more important than ever. There are plenty of tools to help you stay connected.
Microsoft Teams (see details above) and Zoom are two simple, easy-to-use tools that allow you to connect with customers, each other and us either by video, audio or both.
Both have handy apps that can be downloaded straight to your device and setting up meetings is quick and easy.
If you need help feel free to give your Business Manager, Business Account Manager or the Professional Development team a call.
Quick reminder - record keeping is important, so don’t forget to keep a note of your customer interactions whether over the phone or through video chat.
The government’s Unite Against Covid-19 website provides important information about the four alert levels and what they mean, as well as support available to businesses, families and individuals. Click here.
The Ministry of Health website is the place to go for important information, including the latest updates on hygiene, public gatherings or events, and travel and self-isolation guidelines. Click here.
If you can’t find the general info you’re looking for on this page then please email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take it into account as we add more content to this page over time.
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