IAG faces action over sales tactics

Original article by James Fernyhough
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 30 : 12-Apr-19

Law firms Johnson Winter & Slattery and Bannister Law have filed a class action against Insurance Australia Group. The lawsuit will allege that IAG subsidiary Swann Insurance engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct with regard to the sale of add-on car insurance, which IAG has ceased offering. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission questioned the value of add-on insurance in 2017, while such policies also attracted scrutiny by the Hayne royal commission.

CORPORATES
INSURANCE AUSTRALIA GROUP LIMITED – ASX IAG, SWANN INSURANCE (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD, JOHNSON WINTER AND SLATTERY, BANNISTER LAW, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY

Private Health Insurance will change April 1 – but most Australians have no idea

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 1-Apr-19

Roy Morgan’s 2019 Private Health Insurance Survey shows that 57.3% of Australians aged 18+ are unaware of changes to private health insurance that take effect on 1 April. Some 53.8% of Australians with private health insurance are aware of the changes, which will categorise health insurance products according to tiers of cover, while 80.6% of Australians without health insurance are largely unaware of the changes. Meanwhile, 31.4% of Australians who are aware of the upcoming changes believe that the reforms will be of benefit to them, 29.3% do not think they will benefit them at all, and a further 39.3% are unsure if the changes will be of any benefit. The survey is based on a representative sample of 1,036 Australians aged 18+.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED

Declining importance of private health insurance to fund members

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 26-Mar-19

A Roy Morgan Single Source survey, which was carried out in the year to December 2018, shows that 55.4% of Australians aged 14+ with private health insurance agree that ‘it is essential to have private health insurance’. This continues a declining trend seen each year since December 2014, when it was 65.0%. The survey also shows that 67.5% of people with private health insurance agree that ‘it gives me peace of mind’, down from 73.6% in 2014; meanwhile, some 55.4% agree that ‘it’s essential to have’, down from 65.0% in 2014. The survey is based on in-depth personal interviews conducted face-to-face with over 50,000 Australians per annum in their own homes, including over 8,000 interviews with members of private health insurance funds.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED

Health insurers call for workplace FBT break

Original article by Sarah-Jane Tasker
The Australian – Page: 21 : 7-Mar-19

Private health insurance industry executives have urged the federal government to exempt employer-sponsored health insurance from the fringe benefits tax regime. Medicare CEO Craig Drummond argues that such a move would help reduce the strain on the health system, a view shared by HBF CEO John Van Der Wielen. Members Health Fund Alliance CEO Matthew Koce questions why salary packaging can include cars but not health insurance policies.

CORPORATES
MEDIBANK PRIVATE LIMITED – ASX MPL, HBF HEALTH LIMITED, MEMBERS HEALTH FUND ALLIANCE, NIB HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NHF, BUPA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

S&P cuts AMP rating, more action to come

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 5-Mar-19

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has downgraded AMP’s credit rating from ‘A’ to ‘A-‘ in the wake of the wealth manager’s decision to sell its life insurance arm. S&P has flagged the potential for a further downgrade once the sale is completed, noting that the deal will affect AMP’s creditworthiness. Rival ratings agency Moody’s Investor Services recently downgraded the credit rating of AMP Life after it posted a 2018 operating loss of $176m.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP LIFE LIMITED, STANDARD AND POOR’S FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, AMP BANK LIMITED, RESOLUTION LIFE GROUP LIMITED, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED

Declining intentions to take out health insurance

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 29-Jan-19

The latest Roy Morgan ‘Private Health Insurance Intender Profile Report’ September 2018 shows that 1.31 million Australians who currently do not have private health insurance intend to take it out over the next 12 months. This represents the lowest number over the last five years and is down by 17.1% (from 1.58 million) from the intention level over the same period 12 months ago. In order to improve the chances of converting health insurance intenders to fund members there is a need to understand in-depth who they are and what drives them. Intenders are dominated by the under-35 age groups with 55.4%. The 14-to-24 segment is the largest group with 28.4%, followed by the 25-to-34 year olds with 27.0%. Both of these age groups are well over-represented compared to their overall population share.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED

Why have private health insurance?

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 29-Jan-19

New research by Roy Morgan shows that 70.9% of Australians aged 14+ with health insurance agree that ‘above all else, private health insurance is about knowing that you will be able to cover the cost of big medical expenses if they arise’. This has declined from 77.5% over the past four years, but it remains the top priority for fund members. The number of people who agree that ‘health insurance gives me peace of mind’ has fallen from 74.5% to 68.1% over the last four years. The biggest drop in agreement over the last four years was for ‘it is essential to have private health insurance’, which has declined by 10.0% points to 56.2%. Roy Morgan’s Single Source Survey is based on in-depth personal interviews conducted face-to-face with over 50,000 Australians per annum in their own homes, including detailed questioning of over 8,000 with members of health insurance funds.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED

Health insurers’ poor prognosis

Original article by Sarah-Jane Tasker
The Australian – Page: 17 & 19 : 15-Jan-19

HBF CEO John Van Der Wielen says that affordability concerns remain an issue for the health insurance sector. Members Own Health Fund CEO Matthew Koce warns that even a small fall in private health insurance membership could have a big impact on the public hospital system, given that 40 per cent of medical procedures are carried out in private hospitals. Dwayne Crombie of Bupa notes that not everyone understands the community-rated health system under which health insurers operate; the system means that costs are spread across all fund members.

CORPORATES
HBF HEALTH LIMITED, MEMBERS OWN HEALTH FUNDS LIMITED, BUPA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, MEDIBANK PRIVATE LIMITED – ASX MPL, THE HOSPITAL CONTRIBUTIONS FUND OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, NIB HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NHF

Insurers urge caution over hail sales

Original article by Lucas Baird
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 10-Jan-19

Cars that were damaged by a hailstorm that struck Sydney in late December are now being offered by sale by car dealers. However, Youi and Suncorp are among the insurers that have advised consumers to exercise caution when buying hail-damaged cars. They say bargain-hunters should consider factors such as the cost of repairing such vehicles, the likely resale value and whether they will be able to obtain insurance. Both companies have ruled out offering comprehensive insurance for cars that were damaged in the storm.

CORPORATES
SUNCORP GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUN, YOUI PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED MOTOR INSURERS LIMITED, GIO AUSTRALIA LIMITED, BINGLE.COM PTY LTD

AMP CEO De Ferrari won’t get a new life insurance deal

Original article by Misa Han
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 : 6-Dec-18

Merlon Capital is among the AMP shareholders that oppose the sale of its life insurance business. However, AMP CEO Francesco De Ferrari says the $3.3bn deal will proceed, arguing that the wealth manager lacks the global scale to compete with much larger international rivals in the life insurance sector. De Ferrari has also expressed support for AMP’s vertically integrated business model, but says this will be unwound if the final report of the financial services commission recommends it.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, CREDIT SUISSE AG, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, MERLON CAPITAL PARTNERS PTY LTD