A total of 92,000 New Zealanders purchased life insurance in 2021, bringing the number of policies to 4.2 million, according to a data snapshot by the Financial Services Council (FSC).
Life insurers paid out $308 million in claims in the last quarter of 2021, and 96% of claims made over the same period were paid, the FSC said.
“As we saw in the FSC health insurance data released last week, COVID-19 looks to be having a similar impact on families looking to protect their financial wellbeing and better manage their risk with insurance products through these uncertain times,” said Richard Klipin, FSC chief executive officer.
The FSC noted customers and their advisers are actively considering their changing cover needs. One such pattern it pointed out was the shift from total and permanent disability cover to broader and more comprehensive trauma products.
Nick Stanhope, co-chair of the FSC Life Forum, said the growth in group insurance cover is of particular interest to the sector.
“This is a similar trend we have seen in other data, where employers are looking to dodge the ‘Great Resignation’ trend across the world and mitigate recruitment issues caused by New Zealand’s tight labour market, by offering added incentives to retain their teams,” Stanhope said.
Naomi Ballantyne, co-chair of the FSC Life Forum, said FSC members’ 96% claim payout rate in the last quarter of 2021 demonstrates the industry’s commitment to support customers in difficult times.
“I would like to thank all the FSC members and their teams that have continued to support changing customers’ needs, whilst themselves adapting to different working patterns and the uncertainty of the pandemic,” Ballantyne said.