Health insurance crisis looms

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 17 & 18 : 9-Dec-19

Medibank Private’s chief customer officer David Koczkar and NIB Holdings MD Mark Fitzgibbon have stressed the need to reign in rising costs in Australia’s health care system. Private Healthcare Australia CEO Rachel David has warned that smaller private health insurers in particular may not be viable unless reforms are implemented. The federal government has approved a 3.27 per cent increase in Medibank’s premiums for 2020, while NIB and Bupa will lift their premiums by 2.9 per cent and 3.26 per cent respectively.

CORPORATES
MEDIBANK PRIVATE LIMITED – ASX MPL, NIB HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NHF, BUPA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, PRIVATE HEALTHCARE AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HEALTH, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, GRATTAN INSTITUTE

RACT marginally ahead of RAA in general insurance customer satisfaction

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 28-Oct-19

RACT is the winner of Roy Morgan’s General Insurer of the Month Award for September 2019, with a customer satisfaction rating of 93%. The insurance arm of the Tasmanian motoring organisation now has an unbeatable lead in the general insurer category for the annual customer satisfaction award. South Australia-based RAA (92%) was a close second in the category, followed by People’s Choice Credit Union (90%), Shannons (90%) and Western Australia’s RAC (88%). The four leading general insurers improved their satisfaction ratings when compared to a year ago, with Shannons showing the largest gain of 5%. RAC was the only top-five general insurer that slipped in ratings over the same period, although it only declined 1%. These latest customer satisfaction ratings have been drawn from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, derived from in-depth face-to-face interviews with around 50,000 Australians each year in their homes.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, RACT INSURANCE PTY LTD, RAA INSURANCE LIMITED, PEOPLE’S CHOICE CREDIT UNION, SHANNONS, RAC INSURANCE PTY LTD

Watchdog takes aim at Medibank as patients denied payments

Original article by Sarah-Jane Tasker
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 4-Sep-19

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has launched legal action against Medibank Private, accusing the health insurer of making false representations about the benefits covered by its policies. It will be alleged that Medibank had wrongly advised customers that its AHM Lite and Boost policies did not cover medical procedures such as knee reconstructions and spinal surgery. ACCC chairman Rod Sim says this forced many policyholders to delay necessary surgery.

CORPORATES
MEDIBANK PRIVATE LIMITED – ASX MPL, AHM HEALTH INSURANCE, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

S&P gives AMP thumbs down over bad news

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 28-Aug-19

The credit rating of wealth manager AMP has been downgraded from ‘A-‘ to ‘BBB+’ by S&P Global Ratings. The long-term issuer credit rating of AMP Bank and AMP Life have also been downgraded by one notch apiece. S&P has indicated that the ratings downgrade was primarily due to the recent deal to sell AMP Life to Resolution Life, which will have an impact on AMP’s group credit profile. S&P also said it may review AMP’s credit rating if the deal does not proceed, although this may not result in an upgrade.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP LIFE LIMITED, AMP BANK LIMITED, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS, RESOLUTION LIFE GROUP LIMITED

Investors query AMP turnaround

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 & 22 : 9-Aug-19

AMP has announced a loss of $2.3bn for the first half of 2019 and a new strategy to turn around its fortunes. Amongst other things, the wealth manager aims to reduce costs by about $300m a year. AMP has also flagged plans to significantly reduce the number of financial advisers in its network and place more emphasis on so-called roboadvice. AMP will also continue to pursue the sale of its life insurance business to Resolution Life, while it will issue new shares at $1.50 apiece via a $650m capital raising.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, RESOLUTION LIFE GROUP LIMITED, MERLON CAPITAL PARTNERS PTY LTD, ALLAN GRAY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

AMP’s credit ratings still at risk after stalled life sale

Original article by Jonathan Shapiro, James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 16 : 17-Jul-19

S&P Global has advised that AMP’s credit rating will remain on negative watch after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand imposed conditions on the sale of its life insurance business. Nicholas Yap of Nomura believes that AMP is likely to face a credit ratings downgrade at some point, citing factors such as a reduction in the value of its life business and a class action lawsuit over excessive superannuation fees. AMP shares fell 1.6 per cent to $1.78 on 16 July.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP LIFE LIMITED, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS, NOMURA AUSTRALIA LIMITED, RESOLUTION LIFE GROUP LIMITED, RESERVE BANK OF NEW ZEALAND, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, CITIGROUP PTY LTD, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED

AMP rattled as $3.3bn sale breaks down

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd, Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 & 20 : 16-Jul-19

Shares in AMP closed 15.81 per cent lower at $1.81 on 15 July after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand thwarted the proposed sale of its life insurance division. The central bank said it would not support the sale of AMP Life NZ to the UK-based Resolution Life unless the assets underpinning New Zealanders’ policies are ‘ring-fenced’. AMP still hopes to secure a deal, but analysts say any sale now is likely to be at a much lower price than the $3.3bn that Resolution Life had agreed to pay. AMP has also advised that investors will not receive an interim dividend, citing uncertainty regarding the sale of AMP Life.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP LIFE LIMITED, RESOLUTION LIFE GROUP LIMITED, RESERVE BANK OF NEW ZEALAND, ALLAN GRAY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, MORNINGSTAR PTY LTD, REGAL FUNDS MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, SHAW AND PARTNERS LIMITED, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG

No-win, no-fee prevails in AMP class action face-off

Original article by Michael Pelly
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 24-May-19

Five law firms filed class actions against AMP in the wake of ‘the fee for no service’ scandal that was unearthed by the banking royal commission. However, NSW Supreme Court Justice Julie Ward ruled on 23 May that only one action, which is a combined effort between Slater & Gordon and Maurice Blackburn, can proceed. Ward said Maurice Blackburn will have to put up $5 million as security for AMP’s expenses, while AMP advised in a statement that it intend to vigorously defend the class action.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, SUPREME COURT OF NEW SOUTH WALES, SLATER AND GORDON LIMITED – ASX SGH, MAURICE BLACKBURN PTY LTD, QUINN EMANUEL URQUHART AND SULLIVAN LP, SHINE LAWYERS, PHI FINNEY McDONALD PTY LTD

AMP steps up bid to regain lost trust

Original article by Jonathan Shapiro
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 16 : 13-May-19

AMP CEO Francesco De Ferrari has told customers in an open letter that the wealth manager is making significant changes as it seeks to regain their trust. AMP’s reputation took a battering as a result of deficiencies in its operations that were exposed by the Hayne royal commission, with its share price falling from $5.20 to $2.45 during 2018. The letter, which has been reprinted as an advertisement in a number of newspapers, notes that AMP has made fundamental changes to its operations and has bolstered its internal processes.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY

Industry funds to back Murray for AMP chair

Original article by Jonathan Shapiro
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 18 : 23-Apr-19

It is understood that the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors will conditionally back the appointment of David Murray as AMP chairman at its AGM in May. Proxy advisers have recommended that Murray be appointed. However, there is some controversy about private comments supposedly made by Murray. He is understood to have said that if there is a big vote against his appointment as a result of the controversy regarding the sale of AMP’s life business, the other two directors who were on the board when the decision was made would resign.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS INCORPORATED, CGI GLASS LEWIS PTY LTD, INSTITUTIONAL SHAREHOLDER SERVICES INCORPORATED, OWNERSHIP MATTERS PTY LTD