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Accuro members vote overwhelmingly in favour of UniMed merger

Accuro Health Insurance Society's policyholders have overwhelmingly approved the Wellington-based health insurer's merger with Christchurch-based Union Medical Benefits, known as UniMed, to form New Zealand's third largest health insurer.

Tuesday, November 21st 2023, 3:01PM

by Jenny Ruth

Accuro's rules and the Industrial and Provident Societies Act required two separate meetings and votes and the first one saw 92.8% of those voting in favour while the second garnered 96.1% support.

“Combining the resources and capabilities of the two not-for-profit mutual societies is the best way to meet the challenges in the health insurance market and is in the best interests of Accuro members,” says Accuro chair Marion Guy.

“The board is pleased with the very strong support received from those members.”

The merger now requires the Reserve Bank's approval – RBNZ is the insurance industry's prudential regulator.

Guy says that process will likely take until early next year.

“If that approval is received, Accuro policyholders will continue to receive the same cover and benefits they do now and the Accuro brand will continue with UniMed as the insurer.”

UniMed chair Peter Tynan says if the RBNZ greenlights the merger, the company will represent nearly 10% of the NZ health insurance market with a combined membership of about 140,000 and employing nearly 100 people.

“The larger entity will have the scale and financial strength to better maintain existing services and meet the challenge of rising healthcare costs and premium affordability,” Tynan says.

The merger “is the best way to deliver long-term value to members and will also create opportunities to improve and enhance services in the future.”

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.

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

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