Health funds fear surge in fire claims

Original article by Jared Lynch
The Australian – Page: 15 & 16 : 15-Jan-20

Private health insurers expect the bushfire crisis to result in a sharp increase in insurance claims, particularly from customers who have been affected by the smoke haze. However, they say it is too soon to determine the exact impact of the fires. Latrobe Health Services CEO Ian Whitehead anticipates a big increase in claims related to mental health issues arising from the bushfires, as well as physical health problems. Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone says the longer-term effects of inhaling hazardous smoke will not be known for some time.

CORPORATES
LATROBE HEALTH SERVICES, AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION LIMITED, BUPA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, MEDIBANK PRIVATE LIMITED – ASX MPL, AUSTRALIAN UNITY LIMITED

Call to regulate medical devices

Original article by Natasha Robinson
The Australian – Page: 3 : 2-Jan-20

Sheena Jack, the CEO of health insurance company HCF, has called for the creation of an independent regulator of medical devices. Jack says there should be a review of the ‘clinical efficacy’ of items that are on the prostheses list, similar to what is done for items on the pharmaceuticals list. Research conducted by Private Healthcare Australia indicates big price differences between medical devices in Australia and comparable products provided in other countries, while Jack claims public hospitals often have to pay much less for medical devices than private ones.

CORPORATES
THE HOSPITAL CONTRIBUTIONS FUND OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED

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

ASIC bans life and consumer credit insurance cold calls

Original article by James Fernyhough
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 16 : 5-Dec-19

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission will crack down on the practice of hawking in the financial services sector. Insurers will not be allowed to sell life and consumer credit insurance products via unsolicited telephone calls from 13 January. ASIC says no insurer had objected to the proposed ban during a consultation period. The Hayne royal commission had recommended a total ban on cold calling for all insurance and superannuation products.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, COMMINSURE, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, SELECT AFSL

Private health insurance satisfaction up slightly

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

New research from Roy Morgan shows that customer satisfaction among Australians aged +14 who have private health insurance was 72.2% in August 2019, compared with 70.9% in August 2018. However, it is still lower than satisfaction rates in August 2016 (74.5%) and August 2015 (76.3%). Customer satisfaction with private health insurance reached its lowest point in June 2018, when it hit 70.5%. Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says Tasmanian not-for-profit fund St Lukes Health is performing far above average, with a satisfaction rating of 86%. These findings come from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, which is based on in-depth face-to-face interviews with over 50,000 Australians each year in their homes.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, ST LUKE’S HEALTH INSURANCE

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

Book of death bid to keep default life insurance

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 12-Aug-19

Parliament is due to vote on legislation in September that would see people under 25 and those with low account balances no longer automatically receive life insurance through their superannuation. It has been estimated the measure could reduce the premiums that life insurance companies receive by almost $3 billion. It is believed lobbyists for life insurer TAL have circulated a document featuring examples of dead and injured workers who have received insurance payouts but who would not have done so under the proposed changes. The document has been dubbed ‘the book of death’ by some MPs.

CORPORATES
TAL LIMITED

Health insurance exodus continues at alarming rate

Original article by James Fernyhough
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 20 : 26-Jul-19

The percentage of Australians aged between 20 and 28 with private health insurance cover for hospitals fell by 6.9 per cent in 2018, according to data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. The overall percentage of Australians with hospital cover at the end of 2018 was 44.6 per cent, the lowest level since December 2006. The latest data follow a recent report from the Grattan Institute which claimed that the private health insurance sector is in a "death spiral" because of the continued decline of people with cover.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, GRATTAN INSTITUTE, NIB HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NHF, MEDIBANK PRIVATE LIMITED – ASX MPL

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