*UPDATE* This article has been updated with details on AIA Sovereign’s product enhancements below.
AIA Sovereign has announced a range of enhancements to its income protection, life, health, and total permanent disablement products.
Chief Product and Vitality Officer, Len Elikhis, says they are bringing together the best of AIA and Sovereign’s product ranges, systems, and processes to deliver great outcomes for customers.
“We are committed to making a positive difference to the lives of many Kiwis, championing New Zealand to be one of the healthiest and most protected nations in the world,” he said.
“This involves developing a new competitive AIA branded product offering through comprehensive coverage, access to timely treatment options, and value for money. We will achieve this by broadly aligning our existing AIA and Sovereign products with each other.”
The insurer recently announced over 45 enhancements to the existing AIA and Sovereign trauma products.
It has announced 66 further enhancements to its remaining products – income protection, life, health, and total permanent disablement.
The insurer confirmed all product enhancements were passed-back to existing AIA and Sovereign customers in line with the existing pass-back approach (i.e. customers with AIA REAL products since January 2003 and Sovereign TotalCareMax products since February 2001).
It added future enhancements to the new product range will continue to be passed-back to existing customers holding these products.
“We’re proud of our continued commitment to make a difference in people’s lives and to display our expertise and innovation at the forefront of the insurance industry.”
A description of product enhancement details provided by AIA Sovereign are as follows:
Rare or obscure medical conditions and major injuries can have a significant impact on customers. We have created a new Severe Illness or Injury Benefit – a market first innovation that aims to protect customers should they suffer a serious illness or injury that isn’t specifically listed in the policy wording.
Medical technology is moving fast and techniques used to diagnose medical conditions can change quickly. To provide customers with greater peace of mind, we added a new Medical Advancements Provision. This provision ensures that if any diagnostic techniques or investigations featuring in our trauma definitions are superseded by medical advancements, then we will take account of these advancements when assessing a claim.
Income protection, life, total permanent disability and health enhancements
The second set of enhancements are for our income protection, life, total permanent disablement, and health products. The new enhancements to our existing products have been introduced to ensure that our customers are able to access the best of our Sovereign and AIA product ranges as we develop a new AIA branded product with AIA Vitality.
We have introduced a ‘Childcare Support Benefit’. Customers who suffer a total or partial disability may need to arrange additional child care for younger dependent children while they recover and get back to full health. Family support is not always an option and additional childcare can be costly. Introducing this benefit provides parents and legal guardians greater financial support for up to 6 months to assist with the family’s additional childcare while they are on claim.
A new eligibility clause has been introduced under the ‘Partial Disability Income Benefit’. We have removed the requirement for a period of total disablement, which enables customers who are able to work part-time hours to commence on claim. For example, if a customer suffers an injury that reduces their ability to work to three days per week, then the customer will be able to access a partial claim payment.
We have introduced a ‘Counselling Benefit’ to our life products for those customers affected by a death or terminal illness diagnosis. This benefit provides psychological and psychiatric assistance for the customer, or their support network, to help manage the emotional impacts following a claim.
We have broadened the ‘Financial Advice Benefit’ to include advice provided by a legal professional and changed the name of this benefit to: ‘Financial and Advice Benefit’. Navigating legal matters and managing short, medium or long term finances following a claim can be challenging. Access to professional advice can be a great help for customers who need assistance with day-to-day budgeting, investment advice or legal services at their time of need.
We have enhanced and provided increased cover under the ‘Parents Grieving Benefit’ should the unthinkable happen and a customer’s child dies. Losing a child is probably the singular most devastating event a parent could be asked to endure during their lifetime, regardless of the age of the child. In crisis, many families may find funding for a child’s funeral is a challenge, and financial resources may not be quickly available to help support in this process. This benefit provides support for parents who suffer the loss of a child to assist them with the costs associated with the loss of a child.
Total permanent disability
We have increased the ‘Partial Permanent Disability Benefit’ to 25% of the sum assured or $100,000. This recognises the severity these conditions have for a customer and ensures that customers receive a payment in line with the expected impact. The increase in the benefit amount provides greater financial support which may be used to assist with additional support for customers while they adjust to their condition.
We have introduced an ‘Assistance Benefit’ to go towards the costs of purchasing specialist equipment, completing home alterations or modifications to a vehicle following a TPD benefit claim. When fit and healthy, independence, comfort and safety are three of the main things we all take for granted. Unfortunately life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan. Regardless of age, anyone can be at risk of a permanent disability through injury, accident or illness that could leave them bed-bound, in chronic pain, or otherwise unable to work again. Introduction of this benefit assists customers to purchase the necessary specialised equipment and make modifications to their home to make life easier, regain some of their independence and assist them to have a better lifestyle.
Key health enhancements
We have introduced a ‘Mental Health Support Benefit’ to cover the costs of psychiatric or psychological consultation or counselling for those customers requiring support with their mental health following surgery or cancer treatment. This benefit provides assistance for the life assured to help them deal with the emotional impacts following major surgery, or following cancer diagnosis/treatment, and enables them to work through personal challenges and changes that are impacting in their lives with a fully trained Psychiatrist or Psychologist.
We have increased the limit to the ‘Cancer Care Benefit’ as well as introduced a ‘Public Hospital Cancer Treatment Cash Benefit’ providing a lump sum payment for customers if their treatment for cancer is performed in a public hospital, which would otherwise been covered by the Cancer Treatment Benefit under their policy. Increasing the maximum benefit amount offers our customers added peace of mind that the costs associated with their required care or treatment are covered when they need it and allows for future medical advancements which may impact on treatment costs.