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One association says yes to Partners

Health Funds Association (HFANZ) has gone where the Investment Savings & Insurance Association (ISI) feared to tread and admitted Partners Life as its newest member.

Sunday, December 18th 2011, 8:05PM

by Benn Bathgate

HFANZ chief executive Roger Styles said the inclusion of Partners Life took the association to 11 members covering about 99% of health insurance policyholders in New Zealand.

He also said their inclusion would enable HFANZ to accumulate better industry statistics.

“It means we can get some very accurate pictures of trends in the industry, what’s happening, that interplay with the public health sector, it’s pretty good when it comes to engaging on broader health matters too.”

Partners Life managing director Naomi Ballantyne said that while it was too soon for company data to figure in HFANZ statistics, she said they had issued $292,000 of medical API for the quarter ending June 2011, and then $975,000 issued medical API for the quarter ending September 2011.

She also welcomed the opportunity HFANZ membership would allow to help lobbying efforts on behalf of the whole industry, something she believes has been lacking.

“I think the industry has done a really bad job of selling the industry to the consumer,” she said.

“We’ve all done a really good job at attacking each other – some are worse than others – and everybody goes oh, but I don’t want to pay for other people to get customers, but that’s a very short sighted view.

“Maybe an organisation like HFANZ can bang some heads together and gives you an opportunity to talk about how we might be able to do that.”

Styles also welcomed the enlargement of HFANZ at a time when he said the broader health sector faces a number of challenging issues.

“As health costs rise and public finances are stretched, HFANZ has a key role in promoting public debate and engagement with policymakers on the choices we face as a nation,” he said.

Benn Bathgate is a business reporter for ASSET and Good Returns, email story ideas to benn@goodreturns.co.nz

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