Insurer Asteron Life says it welcomes an ongoing conversation on how life insurance brokers are remunerated, the rewards (such as offshore incentives) brokers are offered and how life insurance is sold in New Zealand.
This year, Asteron Life will be taking qualifying life insurance brokers to Dubai and Morocco.
In the marketing material for the trip, Asteron Life says attending advisers will ‘learn from the best innovators in the Middle East’ while in Dubai, and in Morocco they will ‘bargain with artisans in Marrakesh’ and experience that ‘nothing is more breath-taking than the stars in the vast Saharan sky.’
The qualification period runs from July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018 – advisers need to write $90,000 for ‘one ticket’ or $130,000 for ‘two tickets’ in base annual premium. Asteron Life did not disclose how many qualifying brokers and their partners would be attending the trip. Nor did the life insurer disclosure the cost of the trip to Dubai and Morocco.
Asteron Life said in a statement attributed to Suncorp’s (which owns Asteron Life) executive general manager of distribution Cris Knell that Asteron’s annual programme for its top performing advisers was an opportunity for professional development, as well as a chance for the insurer to reward and recognise its brokers.
“The activity represents a small fraction of Asteron’s general operating expenses and has no direct impact on premium levels, or our ability to service our customers,” Knell said. “While we support reasonable compensation and recognition for advisers, we are also committed to sustainable and affordable life insurance for our customers.
“We rely on advisers to act in the best interest of their customers at all times, and we also offer incentives for advisers who adopt sustainable business practices.”
This week the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) released its Conduct Outcomes Report. In it the FMA notes that there are concerns about some Authorised Financial Advisers’ (AFAs) disclosure statements not complying with regulations, and an absence of signed client acknowledgement on client files.
The FMA conducted 72 authorised monitoring visits of AFAs in 2017 for the report, which is the largest group the regulator supervises. The regulator monitors how AFAs provide advice and how they comply with legislation and the AFA code of conduct.
Insurance Business has covered the offshore incentives programmes for life insurance brokers of Sovereign, Partners Life and Fidelity Life. All, including Asteron Life, declined interviews, preferring to supply written statements.