It has been an unparalleled past 12 months of regulatory reviews around insurance and financial services. From the Hayne Royal Commission in Australia to the FMA reviews into the banking and life insurance sectors in New Zealand, and more. In such an environment, it’s important we all reflect on how to achieve good customer outcomes. That’s why for this year’s ICNZ conference, we’re bringing together speakers who can lead a discussion on conduct, culture and resilience in general insurance.

Across the insurance value chain, significant investment is underway re-designing systems, processes and remuneration incentives to achieve better customer outcomes. At the ICNZ conference, we will hear the expectations from those who regulate the sector, experts in the field on how we should be going about the job, and from right across the sector on how far we have come and just how far we have to go.

We’ve coupled this with a deep exploration of resilience - the ability to adapt and thrive in a world of increasing and emerging risks. Ultimately, it’s resilience that keeps insurance affordable and accessible, without which we cannot support good customer outcomes.

The world is changing for insurers. Public trust and confidence right across the insurance sector is fundamental through these changes.

Brokers have an important role to play in this, as advisors and intermediaries between insurers and customers. That’s why we have the chief executive of NZ Brokers, Jo Mason, and the head of the Steadfast Group, Rob Kelly, coming along to give the broker perspective on exactly these issues.

Taking more time to enquire after customers’ needs and ensure that products are appropriate will help support good customer outcomes. Having a better understanding of customers brings the benefit of being able to provide additional services and advice.

Consumer trust is also about being able to see the value of what they are paying for. Poor advice will be weeded out and those who put customers at the heart of what they do will be rewarded. Technology and data analytics will help us all do a much better job of this than in the past.

This will place the onus on all links in the distribution chain, from product designers through to the consumer, to work as one. 

But it isn’t just customer expectations that are changing. The regulatory environment is being reshaped as well. That’s why we have the Minister for Finance, Grant Robertson, and the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Adrian Orr, coming along to talk about exactly how they see those changes materialising.

Against this backdrop, Elizabeth Arzadon, a specialist in cultural risk in the financial sector who developed APRA’s approach to evaluating risk culture in insurers and banks, will take us on a journey about the best way to meet regulatory expectations.

Good consumer outcomes aren’t just about the majority, middle of the road customers either. Vulnerable consumers are an important segment of society and need to be considered in all financial advice and legislative changes. Giving these consumers a voice matters, which is why the Chief Executive of FinCap, Tim Barnett, will be attending to walk us through their experiences and help us understand how to meet their needs.

We’re also going to be looking at resilience. Resilient buildings, resilient communities and a resilient economy are all intertwined with effective insurance. Effective insurance is insurance that is accessible, affordable and quick to respond. A key part of ensuring our insurance landscape meets those criteria is understanding the world we live in and how that is likely to evolve and change in coming years, as well as how international trends in insurance may impact us. Our afternoon speakers will canvas these topics and provide insight into New Zealand’s emerging future.

Finally, we’ll look at two initiatives seeking to provide a way forward to negotiate through the challenges of sustainability and natural hazard risks. Karen Silk, General Manager Commercial, Corporate and Institutional, Westpac and Co-Chair of Aotearoa Circle's Sustainable Finance Forum, a cross-sector group working to develop a sustainable finance roadmap for New Zealand. Then our own chief executive, Tim Grafton, will talk about the Rezealiance initiative, designed to provide a multi-hazard bespoke risk model for New Zealand.

Insurers and brokers work to complement each other. We need to be cognisant of the same issues and aim towards the same good outcomes for customers. We think we’ve designed a programme that achieve this and hope to see the broker community well-represented on the day.

Sept 2019

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