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Australian life advisers ‘cheaper than direct distribution’

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Life insurance sold through advisers is cheaper than direct distribution, a new survey has found.

The survey commissioned by ClearView and undertaken by RGA Reinsurance has found the adviser channel cost is seven pricing points compared to eight for direct distribution.

The survey ranked insurance costs based on a rising pricing scale of one to 31.

Australia was the second-cheapest country for life insurance sold through advisers after the UK. The most expensive was Japan.

It is a similar situation with direct distribution, with Australia providing the second-cheapest cover after the UK.

Australia also has the cheapest group life cover compared to a number of other global markets. The nearest rival to Australia was the UK followed by Italy.

Australia achieved a pricing point of one followed by the UK at two and Italy at six pricing points. The most expensive group insurance was in South Africa at 24 pricing points.

ClearView MD Simon Swanson says the results suggest Australian life insurers are offering competitive premium rates compared to their global peers.

“We were pleased to see the price of Australian life insurance is competitive on a global basis, particularly through the adviser and direct channels where ClearView sells its products.”

Mr Swanson says the surprising fact discovered by the survey was direct insurance was more expensive than using an adviser in many of the countries surveyed.

“Life insurance sold by advisers in Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa and the UK provided cheaper premiums than the direct channel,” he said. 

“The UK market appears to have evolved to a point where small sums insured are sold via direct channels with limited underwriting and large sums insured are sold via advisers with detailed underwriting.”

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