nib New Zealand charges ahead in insurance expansion

Adviser distribution head offers upfront insights prior to rollout

nib New Zealand charges ahead in insurance expansion

Life & Health

By Terry Gangcuangco

It was in March 2023 that nib New Zealand completed the separation of Kiwi Insurance – the life insurance business acquired by the health insurer in 2022 that is now known as nib nz insurance – from the customer systems of Kiwibank. Insurance Business sat down with adviser distribution head Chris Carnall (pictured) to hear about where nib is now in terms of its life & living insurance expansion.

“June 1 is the date that advisers will be able to start selling our life & living solution set from, but prior to that we’ve got the roadshows that start on May 22,” Carnall said. “They run for two weeks, and we effectively go to 15 locations throughout the country.

“At the roadshow we’ll be talking about some of the service enhancements that we’ve made that hopefully deliver better service outcomes for advisers and launching our first foray, our first footsteps into the life & living insurance space for advisers.”

The new seminar series consists of the following dates and locations:

  • May 22 – New Plymouth (morning) and Palmerston North (afternoon)
  • May 23 – Napier
  • May 24 – Wellington and Nelson
  • May 25 – Auckland (Central) and Hamilton
  • May 26 – Tauranga
  • May 29 – Queenstown and Invercargill
  • May 30 – Dunedin and Timaru
  • May 31 – Christchurch
  • June 1 – Whangarei
  • June 2 – Auckland (North Shore)

According to Carnall, they have received 750 registrations for the seminars.

From bancassurance to full-featured

With nib nz insurance now separated from Kiwibank’s systems, the new owner is now able to charge ahead with its expansion. For now, however, the offering remains in its original bancassurance product form, which is essentially a less-featured proposition.

“We can now actually go forward with a completely separate platform for administering the life & living policies,” Carnall told Insurance Business. “That’s essentially what has enabled us to go to the adviser channel with an offer that they could then use.

“In some respects, it’s as quick as we can actually get something to market, given that we only completed system separation in March this year. Here we are a couple of months later and we’re going to make available the solution set, but very much on the basis that it’s interim… it is using the insurance solution set that we essentially inherited when we took over the Kiwi Insurance business.”

Based on nib’s approximation, the full-featured version for advisers will only be available after at least another year.

“It is a bancassurance product [for now],” the adviser distribution head said. “We’re going to market with it because we are going to be having a direct-to-consumer advertising for the solution set that starts about the same time, and we need to make sure that advisers have access to the same sort of products that anyone can buy if they did go through direct channels with us, given that advisers are the cornerstone of our business.

“Our fully featured adviser channel solution set will be probably another 12, 18 months away. We recognise that there are half a dozen players in the market that deliver some very comprehensive life & living insurance solutions that advisers tend to have traditionally used.

“We’re not pretending that this interim solution will necessarily change the dial in terms of the providers that advisers use, but it will give them an option that is more affordable, lesser-featured, and a lower commission solution set to use for clients in certain circumstances [such as those with] affordability issues or those who just want core basic covers.”

Carnall conceded that, from a feature perspective, the current form of nib’s life & living insurance offering isn’t likely to compete against the contemporary solution sets that are available to advisers in the market. From a premium perspective, however, he sees a lot of opportunity.

“It’s very much an entry to the market that is measured, and it gives advisers an option,” he said. “We are wanting to be a serious player in the adviser channel space, but the point-of-arrival solution set [isn’t here yet]. When that arrives, we’ll go to market with a much bigger fanfare, because that’s when we will be wanting to compete with the main players in the life & living insurance space on more of a level playing field basis…

“It’d be wrong to say, though, that the solution set that we’re putting in the market isn’t great value for the needs that people have, because it most certainly is. It’s just that in terms of the adviser channel where it’s evolved over many years such that the product feature sets are very rich, then clearly what we’re putting out on the first of June isn’t going to match those from a product richness point of view.”

Carnall’s camp, nonetheless, is excited to add life & living insurance to nib’s portfolio at this point.

“It’s a momentous time in nib’s history,” Carnall told Insurance Business. “We are a health insurer, and our overall purpose is ‘your better health’. We think that life & living products complement that overall purpose very nicely.”

Interested advisers who wish to attend the nib seminars can register here.


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