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Accuro policyholders to vote on merger with UniMed

Special meetings of Accuro Health Insurance Society's policyholders scheduled for Oct 30 and Nov 20 will vote on it merging with the larger Union Medical Benefits Society, known as UniMed, to form New Zealand's third largest health insurer.

Monday, October 30th 2023, 6:00AM

by Jenny Ruth

The combined organisation, which will continue to operate both brands, will claim nearly 10% of the health insurance market with more than 140,000 member customers, behind Southern Cross and nib.

Both not-for-profit organisations have their roots in the union movement, Accuro being founded in Wellington in 1971 to serve workers in health boards and UniMed in Christchurch in 1979, although UniMed is now the larger organisation.

When the merger was announced, Accuro chair Marion Guy said the decision was driven “by a desire to create greater value and better health outcomes for members.

“We believe combining the resources and capabilities of the two societies creates a more sustainable and resilient health insurance offering than Accuro could offer alone.”

Like Accuro, UniMed is a long-standing mutual society “and shares our values and ethos,” Guy said. Accuro's board has unanimously recommended the merger.

UniMed chair Peter Tynan said the additional scale “will ensure UniMed is in the best possible position to meet the challenges of increasing member expectations, the rising cost of health services and the new regulatory environment.”

The prudential regulator, the Reserve Bank, is in the process of reviewing capital requirements for insurance companies and is likely to decide they need more capital – RBNZ has already raised the capital requirements for banks.

Accuro policyholders are required to vote twice on the transfer of the portfolio to UniMed and 75% of members need to vote in favour at each meeting for the merger to proceed.

Accuro's rules and the Industrial and Provident Societies Act require the double vote.

The merger will then be subject to RBNZ approval.

UniMed has traditionally been strong in the mid-to-large employer market segments while Accuro has focused on the individual and smaller employer markets.

Tags: Accuro

« [Opinion] Why did Southern Cross cancel an interview with its CEO?Accuro policyholders to retain non-Pharmac-funded drug benefit »

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