Who Are We?
The Founders, Board of Directors, and Executive Management Team of Partners Life bring many years of experience in the financial services industry, both domestically and internationally and have come together to create an entirely unique business model that not only values but also tangibly rewards customer loyalty as well as the support of financial advisers.
- Why are we here?
- What does the name Partners Life mean?
- What is the Partners Life product philosophy?
- What is the Partners Life claims philosophy?
- How does Partners Life distribute its products?
- How financially strong is Partners Life?
- What is our Health and Safety Vision?
- Who are our business partners?
Why are we here?
Research consistently identifies chronic underinsurance within the New Zealand market which creates an opportunity for significant growth given the right products, distribution and communication strategies. Roy Morgan 2013 figures show that although 83.9% of New Zealanders over 14 years of age have some type of insurance, only 39% have life and/or risk protection. Additionally, many who do have some life insurance do not have enough. Partners Life is confident it has the right products and the best distribution channels to reach the underinsured businesses and families in New Zealand.
The current regulatory environment introduced in 2010 places increased responsibility and accountability on the shoulders of advisers to prove they have given their clients the ‘best advice’ specific to their requirements. By providing advisers with access to market leading products at competitive prices Partners Life gives them the confidence that they can deliver the best results for their customers.
The recent GFC resulted in increased awareness and concern amongst New Zealanders about the long-term financial security of their families and businesses. This increased consumer focus on financial protection created an opportunity for substantial growth for Partners Life as we met the needs of these customers.
In addition to these unique market circumstances, historically the market has been heavily focused on new customer acquisition with enticing introductory offers whilst existing customers have seldom been rewarded for their loyalty. Partners Life delivers a fresh approach to appreciating and rewarding customers for their long term business – for becoming partners for life.
Partners Life has an exceptional management team, proven product development and marketing capabilities, modern systems and effective processes. Coupled with the company’s philosophy of sharing its rewards with customers and advisers, Partners Life is well on its way to achieving its goal of becoming New Zealand’s leading life insurer.
What does the name Partners Life mean?
The Partners Life name highlights our philosophy to share the value we create with all stakeholders, essentially building a partnership together. We deliver unique value propositions to our customers, distributors, staff and shareholders to ensure everyone benefits from the success of the company. As a life insurance company the relationships we form with our stakeholders are by default long-term – Partners Life rewards those relationships for their duration – hence the by-line ‘Rewarding partnership – for life.’
This business model is unique in its approach as it focuses on rewarding adviser expertise as well as customer loyalty. Essentially advisers are rewarded for identifying when Partners Life products deliver the best solution for their clients and customers are rewarded for their loyalty through increasing premium discounts over time.
The design of the Partners Life logo reflects this unique partnership philosophy. The concept comes from the idea that the sum of all parts is greater than each on their own in other words ‘we’ is better than ‘me’. It depicts our fresh approach of collaboration.
What is the Partners Life product philosophy?
The Partners Life approach to providing best-in-class life and risk coverage for New Zealanders at competitive prices is underpinned by our commitment to regular, independent market research of policy wordings and to our process of inviting input from advisers on what they believe New Zealand families and businesses really need.
With the regulatory environment requiring advisers to justify their advice and product recommendations, an insurer’s product development capability is now significantly more important than ever before. For Partners Life, innovative and comprehensive product development is the cornerstone of the company’s focus; we know we have exceptional, proven product development capability meaning product is a key competitive advantage. Our approach is to develop products that deliver the strongest combination of coverage and value for money available in the market.
What is the Partners Life claims philosophy?
We understand how difficult and stressful it can be when it comes time to submit a claim and at Partners Life there are no surprises or shocks. We have a philosophy embedded into the fabric of the company that all genuine claims are paid as quickly and with as much empathy as possible. On the other hand for the protection of all of our clients we will simply not pay any claims that are clearly not genuine, based on the available evidence.
In circumstances where it is not clear from the available evidence whether a claim is genuine or not, our philosophy is to support the client and pay the claim i.e. if it’s grey, we will pay – we believe this is the fairest approach even though it is not necessarily followed by the wider market.
During the claims process an insurer can sometimes discover that a client failed to disclose or misstated a material fact about their health when they completed their application for cover. The penalties available to insurers in these circumstances are wide-ranging and, in our opinion, often extremely punitive to the client. While the law may allow the total avoidance of cover in these circumstances and most insurers rely on this to avoid paying the claim, the Partners Life approach is different.
We would re-assess whether that cover would have been offered and on what terms, had that material information been available at application time. Any decision whether a claim can be paid or not will then depend on this reassessment. Again we believe this is the fairest approach.
These are the commitments we make to our clients and to the advisers who service them, giving them the confidence that we will always do the right thing at claim time. To prove this is not just lip service – we have formally documented these philosophies into our policy contracts committing ourselves for the life of those contracts.
How does Partners Life distribute its products?
In today’s market, customers like to buy financial services products in a variety of different ways, often via different channels. At Partners Life we want to make it as easy for clients to interact with us in a way that is comfortable and familiar to them. That flexibility will lead us to develop multiple distribution options as our customers’ preferences became clear. Our desire is for clients to interact with us in ways that are easy for them and via the channels they prefer.
However, we also strongly believe that the best outcome for each individual customer requires the careful analysis of their unique circumstances, needs and preferences and the careful selection of the products and product providers that are best going to meet those needs and preferences. This level of individual tailoring requires robust systems and processes along with in-depth market research, the combination of which are generally only available from impartial advisers. For this reason Partners Life is strongly supportive of the unaligned advice market.
How financially strong is Partners Life?
Financial Strength & Solvency
Partners Group has a wide shareholder base, which includes a number of NZ and offshore institutions, management, and staff. We believe having employees as shareholders creates an energy and commitment that may otherwise be difficult to achieve.
In September 2016 the Group secured a $200m investment commitment from the Tactical Opportunities Fund managed by Blackstone. The New York-headquartered Blackstone is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is one of the world’s largest asset managers with more than $500 billion (US$360 billion) in assets under management. Its substantial capital investment in Partners Life will give it a significant minority shareholding. The $200 million is all new capital, meaning existing shareholders will remain co-invested alongside Blackstone.
Reinsurance for Partners Life is predominantly provided by the SCOR Group. SCOR ranks as the 4th largest life reinsurer in the world with €8.2b gross written premium in 2016, has 30 offices worldwide, and is the leading life reinsurer in the USA. For SCOR’s current ratings see www.scor.com/en/group-ratings
Like all licensed insurers, Partners Life is required to meet a Solvency Standard which is determined by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ).
Partners Life continually meets solvency standards through a mixture of shareholder capital and reinsurance quota share arrangements, which not only reinsure a significant percentage of the claims risk, but also helps fund new business expenses.
As at 30 September 2017, Partners Life's Actual solvency capital was $312.1m, which represented a margin of $126.9m over the Minimum solvency capital requirement. This was made up of:
The Minimum solvency capital is the amount of capital required to be held according to the RBNZ Solvency standard.
The Solvency margin is the amount of capital held by Partners Life that is surplus to (i.e. over and above) the Minimum solvency capital.
As a licensed insurer, Partners Life is subject to the requirements of the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act 2010. The purposes of this Act are to:
(a) promote the maintenance of a sound and efficient insurance sector; and
(b) promote public confidence in the insurance sector.
In accordance with the requirements of the Act, Partners Life has established a Statutory fund. A statutory fund is a fund that:
(a) is established in the records of a life insurer; and
(b) relates solely to the life insurance business of the life insurer.
The assets of a statutory fund are ring-fenced from other business assets, to ensure they cannot be used for purposes other than the business of the statutory fund i.e. paying customers’ claims. The Act prescribes a number of other requirements in order to protect the interests of policy holders.
As of 22 March 2018 Partners Life’s financial strength rating was affirmed as "Secure” B++ (Good) with Positive Outlook by A.M. Best, an approved RBNZ rating agency. This means that in A.M. Best’s opinion Partners Life has a good ability to meet its on-going insurance obligations. Positive Outlook indicates that Partners Life is experiencing favourable financial and market trends, relative to its current Best’s Credit Rating. If these trends continue, Partners Life has a good possibility of having its Best’s Credit Rating upgraded. For the latest rating or further details around the latest rating, please visit www.ambest.com
The combination of strong reinsurance, committed shareholders and a secure credit rating, means you can be confident that Partners Life will be there when you need us to be.
What is our Health and Safety Vision?
"We will all have a safe workplace"
We believe that:
- No business objective will take priority over health and safety and wellbeing of Partners Life employees, our contractors and visitors.
- All incidents, accidents and hazards are preventable.
- Whilst management have ultimate accountability, we all have responsibilty for health and safety.
- All personnel have the responsibilty to stop work where they believe duties can not be continued in a safe manner.
To achieve this we will:
- Comply with relevant legislation, regulations and codes of practice.
- Maintain and continually improve our Health and Safety Management Systems.
- Proactively identify hazards and unsafe behaviours and take all steps to manage these to the lowest level as reasonably practical.
- Consult and actively promote health, safety and personal wellbeing at all levels by providing training and resource to recognise hazards in our workplace.
- Accurately report and learn from incidents, accidents and hazards.
- Maintain and operate our assets so they safeguard people and property.
- Support the safe and early return to work of injured employees.