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Advisers' role to grow: Tynan

Advisers’ role in health insurance is likely to grow over the coming years, Southern Cross Health Society chief executive Peter Tynan says.

Monday, September 15th 2014, 4:16PM

by Susan Edmunds

The society has reported a year-end deficit of $1.1 million, which he said was due to higher-than-expected-claims, predominantly driven by orthopaedic procedures and specialist consultations.

For every $1 of premium, the society returned 90.4 cents in claims. Southern Cross said the rest of the health insurance industry returned an average of only 67.5 cents.

Over the financial year, it earned $738.4 million in premiums, up 5.9% on 2013, and incurred $694.5 million in claims, up 8.7%.

Tynan said the deficit was small and could be absorbed. But he said rising claim costs were a concern. “Our focus is on managing the cost of these claims on behalf of our members, particularly health service cost increases that are unjustifiable or out of line with market rates.”

Tynan said the need for health insurance would grow as the public health system struggled to cope. 

Advisers were already playing a bigger role and that would continue to grow as consumers struggled with the complexity of health insurance products and the range of options, he said. “They’re turning to adivsers to help in making those decisions. It’s our job to ensure they’ve got all the tools and information they need to help customers.”

Southern Cross would deal with all channels, he said. But he said it tried not to pay high commission rates. “As a member-driven organisation we have to keep it at a realistic level. You won’t see us offering some  of the outlier commissions you hear about in the market.”

Interest in the society’s everyday policies was good, he said. The society had seen growth in the 20-35-year age bracket, which was partly attributable to its presence in the corporate market.


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