As we draw stumps for 2021, it’s natural that we may feel in some way compelled to look back and reflect on the year we’ve, at times, had to struggle to get through.
Whether it’s been spending the winter and better part of spring hibernating at home streaming those tv shows and movies, having the plans we’ve looked forward to being upended and chucked out the window or the home schooling that never seemed to end.
We might have also remembered the things we are grateful for and to take stock of the people and relationships in our lives that truly matter. We can be proud in the fact that we’ve banded together as families, social circles, workplaces, and communities to get through these difficult times together. In many ways, these values reflect the ethos of life insurance. Not convinced? Well, take a read.
Let’s start with asking ourselves what is life insurance really?
Well, like all financial products, life insurance is about addressing our human need to protect our financial wellbeing. The need comes from accepting that life just happens. And life is risky! When life exacts its toll on our physical or mental wellbeing, the financial consequences quickly follow.
Life insurance emerged as a way for us to maximise the financial wellbeing of the collective. It protects an individual’s financial wellbeing even when life gets them down, which in turn enables them to get back up so that they can continue to live productively and meaningfully.
If that all seems a bit fuzzy, well perhaps it is. Like that elusive north star, following the bearings of life insurance’s fundamental value might offer some clues that its value could be thought of not as a product to claim from, but as a service trusted to give peace of mind.
This trust is sacred; it must be earned and maintained. It is earned when insurers do the right thing and act with the highest standards of commercial decency as outlined in the Life Insurance industry’s Code of Practice.
It is maintained when a customer sees life insurers keeping their promises to pay any valid claims; not just theirs but the claims of others in similar positions. What life insurers pay out in claims is significant. As an industry, life insurers pay out, on average, $125,000 to 242 Australians and their families every single day, 365 days a year.
It is right for the value of life insurance to be tested if it is to remain fit for purpose for the changing needs and expectations of customers and the community at large. This year was certainly no exception as the industry was challenged to implement a large number of legislative reforms to improve customer protections and address ongoing issues with product unsustainability on income protection.
As an industry, we must not forget that our purpose is to serve and that our customers entrust us with their financial wellbeing. This means we must always aspire to do better for our customers. The value of life insurance will endure for as long as the industry earns and maintains the trust of the community it serves.
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