Macquarie, Westpac Life and AIA get top spots for overheads product

A history of innovation was responsible for Macquarie getting the top spot in the business overheads product category of the Adviser Choice Risk Awards.

Like their nomination for second place in the disability income category, a history of innovation was responsible for Macquarie getting named for top spot in this year’s business overheads product category, according to Justin Delaney, head of insurance at Macquarie Adviser Services.

One particularly strong feature of Macquarie’s FutureWise Business Expenses product is the offering of up to $60,000 per month of insurance available to people who work 20 hours per week, Delaney said.

“We certainly spend a lot of our time looking at where we can add value to our clients, without increasing the expense of the product,” Delaney said.

Like Macquarie’s Futurewise disability income product, there is no requirement for the policy holder to be totally disabled before making a partial claim on business expenses while the monthly benefit cover can also be increased without the need for extra medical underwriting.

The business expenses product also allows for benefits to be paid from the start of the 30-day waiting period if the disability is the result of an accident and leaves the policyholder totally disabled for at least four consecutive days, Delaney said. This feature is also available on Macquarie’s disability income product.

The product can be underwritten online as part of the FutureWise suite of insurance products.

Many of the changes and updates to the Futurewise insurance product range, which includes Macquarie’s business overhead product, came about because of the traction caused by the release of the Super Optimiser solution early last year, Delaney said.

BT Financial Group, which won silver with their business overheads product, has been spending a lot of time with their advisers in the marketplace seeking input and comments on possible improvements to the product and their service experience, according to Andrea Brown, senior product manager, retail product, life insurance.

BT recently introduced a loyalty benefit to reward customers that have maintained their policies, consisting of an additional $50,000 should the insured person die while the policy is in force, for no extra cost, Brown said.

This feature is automatically applied for any customer who has remained with Westpac for three years.

The product also has no cap on the amount that can be paid out for an individual’s business expenses, Brown said.

“A lot of providers cap that amount, but we actually will pay any available business expense on our product, and I think that’s still very important to business owners,” she said.

“They value the service and experience they have with us. If you don’t back up a good product with service and support, then your product will be challenged, because it’s part of a whole process for an adviser,” she said.

Head of product management at AIA, Tim Tez, put their third place pick down to the incorporated element of the business expenses product, allowing the product to be owned by the company rather than the sole trader.

The first 12 months of the insurance are also agreed value, which was rare in the business expenses space, Tez said.

The agreed value clause means AIA will cover the company policy holder for the expenses they had at the time of underwriting, rather than the indemnity basis followed by most of the industry in which, the company is covered for the expenses they incur during the month they are on claim, Tez said.

The product has a two-year benefit period, he added.

“Quality product is the ticket to the game, so we update our products to be at the top, the forefront, of advisers’ choice. It’s really, really important to us that we provide really good quality service and value for money,” Tez said.

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