Life Company of the Year crowned

Two major insurance providers have cleaned up at the Association of Financial Advisers' Life Company of the Year and Consumer Choice Awards.

Taking home the coveted namesake award, TAL was named Life Company of the Year for the third consecutive year.

TAL also took home the award for trauma and critical illness protection.

In the Life Company of the Year Awards MLC won for income protection, Challenger took home the annuity provider of the year, AIA won for term life and total and permanent disability cover and Zurich was recognised for service quality and best BDM team.

BT Financial Group cleaned up in the Consumer Choice categories, with head of claims Neil Borthwick accepting six awards in total.

BT won overall Consumer Choice Awards, value for money, most satisfied customer, best application process, best claims staff and focus on early intervention.

Zurich took home a Consumer Choice Award for best turnaround time and OnePath won the return to health and wellness award.

Amid the congratulations, speeches from AFA chief executive Philip Kewin and president Marc Bineham hinted at the trials and tribulations of the year for the association and its members.

Having recently returned to work following open heart surgery, Bineham told the audience that he had received an insurance payment during his healthcare.

He said that money helped ease the stress on his whole family - but there was another thing he wanted to thank the industry for, its support of advisers in studying for the FASEA exam.

Bineham said he is booked in for his own FASEA exam in one month's time.

"I don't want my legacy to be that I failed this exam and so I can no longer offer financial advice," Bineham said.

"I empathise with all the advisers thinking about their own legacy."

Bineham offered a frank reflection on the year for the industry.

"This year, like few others, has just been bloody tough," he said.

"I don't mind doing exams, I don't mind doing CPD courses. But, the FASEA exam is three and a half hours long and if you fail you are out of a career. As an adviser this worries me more than anything else."

Kewin too had some criticism for FASEA, saying: "We're all about raising ethical standards if we can understand them."

He revealed the AFA has made 47 submissions to government in the past year and has had 63 meetings with government.

Kewin said: "There's a lot going through the head of the average adviser right now."

Read more: Consumer ChoiceLife Company ofFASEATALAFAAssociation of Financial AdvisersZurichMarc BinehamPhilip KewinBT Financial GroupAIAAwards MLCChallengerNeil BorthwickOnePath
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