Zurich Income Safeguard and OnePath Life’s Income Secure Protection have introduced two new retail income protection products aimed at providing financial protection which will help support each claimant’s return to work.
The new products offer a 70% monthly insured benefit to support customers financially throughout the entire period.
The firm said that some of the core principles which were considered in developing the products included:
- Meeting Australians’ expectations around the value of life insurance and its role as a community good, which would help people avoid hardship and provide a mid-term support to enable people to reset a path to return to work or restructure their finances;
- A recognition of the health and wellbeing benefits of good work;
- A recognition that returning to health is a unique journey for every claimant, and offering rehabilitation services to support each claimant provides a more holistic customer offering; and
- Removal of product complexity, to improve understanding and administration.
“We want to help our customers achieve the best quality of life possible after an illness or injury, which includes supporting their unique return to work journey when they are ready – recognising that work and being fit for work is an enabler to positive mental and physical wellbeing,” Jacqui Lennon, head of customer and digital at Zurich Life and Investments, said.
“Last year, we paid more than 9,000 income protection claims, or $300 million, to holders of retail advised policies. Our new suite of income protection solutions will help ensure this vital market remains robust so that all Australians continue to have the opportunity to protect their livelihoods.”
From 1 October, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) measures would require income protection products to provide financial protection in a more sustainable framework, which would include new rules around product benefits, contract terms and replacement ratios among other key features.
Zurich and OnePath Life said that, in responding to this, they had removed the complexity around the waiting period requirements, offering a simple definition for all insurable occupations and introducing the additional enhancements to make cover more accessible and affordable.
“By consulting with financial advisers and consumers throughout the design process, we sought to improve simplicity, providing solutions that are clear to understand and easy to administer. A fundamental principle behind our new solutions is they meet community expectations in offering certainty and quality, whilst also balancing the need for value and simplicity,” Kieran Forde, chief distribution officer, Zurich Life & Investments said.