The AFA and Plan for Life hosted the 2013 Life Company of the Year awards at a black-tie event at Sydney’s Westin Hotel, acknowledging the challenges, achievements and value the sector brings to the wider industry, as well as the importance of its collaborative relationship with advisers
In business, necessity is the mother of invention and so not surprisingly, life insurance is an industry on the move. While undergoing radical shifts in recent times, the sector has continued its efforts to produce risk products that meet the evolving needs of Australians – and the financial advisers who service them.
This theme was at the heart of the AFA/PFL 2013 Life Insurance Company of the Year awards, held on March 12 at Sydney’s Westin Hotel, which recognised the evolution of those leading the industry in an environment which is itself changing.
The awards rank life insurance companies in Australia across two areas: product awards, based on data provided by companies to Plan for Life, and service quality awards, based on adviser responses which were analysed by the Beddoes Institute.
The Commonwealth Bank’s insurance arm – CommInsure – was the overall winner of the awards, taking out the Platinum award of Life Insurance Company of the Year, after achieving the highest combined score across all metrics. CommInsure acting executive general manager Tim Browne said the award win had been three years in the making.
“We are delighted to receive this accolade and we will continue to strive to be the best at what we do,” Mr Browne said.
“I see this win as being a combination of the results produced by our overall strategy, which prioritised claims, service and underwriting. It is the cumulative result of three years of hard work completing some major projects for the business. Our plans for the future include a substantial investment to re-engineer our online servicing, and we are halfway through a $30 million program to improve our claims capacity.”
BT Financial Group and TAL were the runners up for the Platinum award.
Macquarie Life won all three of the client service team categories, winning awards in underwriting, claims and business support services.
Macquarie Life’s head of underwriting and claims, Sally Phillips, said the awards were particularly significant given that they were decided by advisers.
“Advisers tell us they value the additional support we give to their clients during claims time, including services like counselling and information packs on a range of health events,” Ms Phillips said.
“We take the approach that every case is unique. We understand they also appreciate our high-contact service model and our efforts to guide advisers and clients through the underwriting and claims process. We’re all focused on the same thing: the best outcomes for our clients.”
Challenger took out all of the annuity and income stream awards: Overall Annuity Provider of the Year, Long-Term Income Stream and the Annuity and Income Stream innovation Award.
Zurich won the Service Quality award, AMP Elevate took out the Term/TPD award and AIA won the Risk Product Innovation award.
AFA chief executive Brad Fox singled out AIA for special recognition, given that the AFA’s theme for 2014 is ‘Innovate: think, create, act’.
“We’re excited to see how the AIA Vitality initiative has challenged the fundamental way insurance connects with consumers,” Mr Fox said.
“It’s a new conversation.”
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