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Nib braces for rush of treatments next year

Nib New Zealand has reported an increase in membership numbers, revenue and earnings in the year to June 30.

Monday, August 24th 2020, 11:05AM

Rob Hennin

The health insurer’s premium revenue lifted 10.2% to $253 million while its underwriting result was up 11.2% to $25.9 million.

It said that included provision for an expected claims catch-up in healthcare treatment that was deferred during the Covid-19 lockdown but would now happen in the next financial year.

Chief executive Rob Hennin said it was a good result.

“Helping our Kiwi members stay safe and healthy throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has been a priority, which is why we moved quickly to implement an extensive support package,” he said.

“To date, we’ve provided more than 2,000 Kiwi members with access to financial hardship support, including premium relief and suspension options, postponed premium increases for over 50,000 members and extended coverage for Covid-19 related treatment across all levels of hospital cover, at no extra cost.

“In addition, we expanded cover for consultations with GPs and specialists through telehealth, ensuring members could continue to see their medical practitioner during severe lockdown restrictions. We also extended treatment pre-approval from three to six months, meaning over 1,000 members did not have to reapply for surgery approval if they experienced delays in accessing hospital treatment.

“Further, we made a $1 million donation, together with nib foundation, to Lifeline Aotearoa and Clearhead, helping support our communities and the ongoing mental health needs of New Zealanders,” he said.

Hennin said the pandemic appeared to have heightened consumer awareness of the importance of health.

“In the face of almost unheralded economic headwinds, we’ve seen very strong net policyholder growth of 7.4% during FY20. This reflects the sound investment we’re making to grow our membership particularly the corporate group and white-label channel, which includes leading brand, the New Zealand Automobile Association,” he said.

Nib New Zealand chairman Tony Ryall said that the FY20 result showed good earnings momentum, with the business looking to further benefit from the capability of the nib group.

“We do see opportunity to play a more active role in the better health of our members and help manage the risk of disease as well as reduce healthcare costs,” Ryall said.

“One of the more exciting initiatives is a joint venture recently established by our parent entity, nib Group and large US-based healthcare company Cigna, to form Honeysuckle Health. Through the creation of Honeysuckle Health, our New Zealand members can look forward to a future in which health related behaviour and choices are more reliably informed by personalised data, science and insight, leading to better health outcomes.

“Through these initiatives we’re looking to shift from being a ‘healthcare payer’ to ‘healthcare partner’, with the opportunity for nib to play an expanded role in our nation’s healthcare.”

Tags: health insurance insurance nib

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