A Swiss Re study has shown that one in three New Zealanders have an increase in health concerns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic - however, this is the lowest reported level of concern among developed markets in the Asia-Pacific region.
The study showed that half of all surveyed New Zealanders were keen to resume domestic and international travel and social activities, and one in two respondents felt that their financial future was positive. Fourteen per cent (14%) felt overwhelmed or anxious about their financial future - the lowest percentage in the surveyed region.
When it comes to insurance, respondents felt the ability to set a fixed premium was the most important policy feature (31%), while monetary payout was the lowest priority (19%).
Leigh Watson, head of life and health in Australia and New Zealand, said that while New Zealanders appear to have less money troubles compared to other APAC countries, issues like mental wellness and price certainty remained a concern.
“While New Zealanders aren’t so worried about the financial impacts of the pandemic, they are worried about the mental wellness impacts, which have been exacerbated by COVID-19,” he said.
“We can see that New Zealanders would also like to see more price certainty in their insurances, and the industry is definitely trying to tackle this through a greater focus on more sustainable products and pricing.”
“Claimants are also looking for faster and easier claims processes,” he continued.
“Our claims team recognises that an innovative and agile response is required to support our insurer clients, and ultimately customers, to help them navigate unforeseen challenges in their time of need.”
Watson said that the insurance sector needs to “draw lessons” from the pandemic and how customers are responding to pressure, and it particularly needs to increase its focus on resilience and mental wellness.
“The insurance industry has a role to play to promote wellbeing, and to support a more proactive management of everyone’s physical and mental health,” Watson said.
“The impacts of COVID-19 on mental health remain a concern, and we are assisting insurers in helping their customers through difficult situations and towards long-term recovery.”
“We are acutely aware that we must draw lessons from a post-COVID society,” he added.
“As such, we are investing in research around topics like long-COVID. There is no better time to focus on resilience than in the unfolding global health crisis.”