16 November 2005
Macquarie Adviser Services today said it was well advanced with an extensive nationwide pilot program which aims to simplify life insurance for all Australians.
The new risk platform pilot project, which was launched on 24 October, is being tested by 12 adviser groups in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane.
The Head of Macquarie Adviser Services, Neil Roderick, said advisers had reported an overwhelmingly positive response to the pilot project which is being supported and reinsured by the world's largest reinsurance company, Munich Re.
"This is one of the first straight-through insurance processing systems in the world and answers the needs of advisers who are looking to simplify the entire insurance process for their clients," Mr Roderick said.
"It is also fully integrated with Macquarie's existing wrap investment and superannuation platforms providing a seamless customer experience and a choice of funding options.
"The platform has been designed to help advisers address the serious underinsurance problem that exists in Australia today.
"A recent study commissioned by the Investment and Financial Services Association (IFSA) showed that only four per cent of Australian parents have enough life insurance cover tosustain their family's lifestyle if either parent were to die, with 60 per cent - or 5.4 million families - unable to sustain their loved ones through even the first year after their death.
"Regular consultation with our adviser clients in Australia has highlighted two things.
"Firstly that advisers want to make insurance easier and quicker for their clients and secondly that advisers want to save time and make their whole business more efficient by finding an insurance solution that has straight-through processing with a minimum wait for policy approval.
"By conducting this pilot we will be able to confirm whether the straight-through processing and simplified system gives advisers the tools they need to reinforce the importance of insurance with their clients," Mr Roderick said.
Mr Roderick said that advisers were pleased that that their clients' expectations were being managed immediately and the system was giving advisers the tools to put in place the policies that will protect their clients and their families.
He said valuable feedback from the adviser pilot project would allow Macquarie Adviser Services to refine the life insurance offering and expand the service beyond use via investment and superannuation platforms.
"Financial advisers are well placed to talk to their clients about their insurance needs, but until now the paper-based process, that typically took several weeks to complete, meant that they were often unable to engage their clients in this important conversation," Mr Roderick said.
"Macquarie Adviser Services recognised this problem and has committed significant resources to build an online life insurance service that will simplify the life insurance process and meet the needs of advisers."
Munich Re spokesman, General Manager - Life, Roger Garrett, said: "Munich Re has developed a comprehensive set of underwriting rules that are incorporated in Macquarie's straight-through processing system. These rules have been used successfully by an established United Kingdom life insurance company for two years and have been adaptedfor Macquarie to meet their particular needs and also the requirements of the Australian life insurance market.
"We believe this is a major step forward in the market and a big advantage for all parties. It allows many clients and their advisers to complete the application and gain immediate cover in a single step and it reduces much of the administrative burden on Macquarie Life."
For further information, please telephone:
Head of PR & Communication
Macquarie Financial Services Group
Macquarie Funds Management Group
Tel: (612) 8232 3241
Mobile: (61) 417 260 309