A Hectic Year Is Ahead

Three significant events will occur in the fiscal year that began in July 2022, according to Southern Cross Health Society Group. (FY23). Insurance Business spoke with CEO Nick Astwick about the company’s future plans.

“I believe this year will be more typical for our members’ access to health care,” said the CEO, whose camp’s claims numbers were lower than projected in FY22 due to lockdowns and sickness among nurses and clinicians. “The private system is already operational, and we anticipate a busy year… Because of the postponement or delay, the majority of claims will be received this year.

“The second point is that we believe it will be more difficult for companies and members, therefore we are still focusing on how reasonable our offer is. The third element is that you’ll hear more from us on wellness proposals, like we did with “Better ’22.” These are things like goods and services that assist New Zealanders in living the healthiest lifestyles possible.

Southern Cross Health Society, a health insurance firm, and subsidiaries such as Southern Cross Pet Insurance and Southern Cross Travel Insurance comprise the group, which posted a $90 million surplus for FY22.

READ NEXT  Swiss Re's Cio Retires After 25 Years

According to Astwick, “The Society Group has just purchased both the pet and travel businesses from the corporation that formerly owned them, the Southern Cross Healthcare Group. The core business of Southern Cross Health Society Group is health insurance, although it also has money invested in pet, life, and travel insurance.

“That’s how we’ve invested part of our savings and resources, and the profits from those ventures will be used to reduce premium inflation even more. Members’ earnings from these firms will thereby assist to limit the growth in premiums.”

The CEO stated that health insurance prices would rise, but the only issue is “by how much?” Astwick, on the other hand, has said that they will do all necessary to reduce the price rise to a minimum.

“We’re attempting to utilize our reserves or excess money from last year to keep the rate as low as possible,” Astwick told Insurance Business.”

According to our projections, it will continue to rise, although not as dramatically, since we are utilising the excess.

“We, like individuals and companies, are hit by inflation, therefore we’ll utilize part of the excess to cushion the blow… That is exactly what a non-profit does: it considers how to best assist its members. We’ll do it with part of the additional cash.”

READ NEXT  New Research Exposes Top Cyber Incidents

“If you look over the past five years, 86 cents of every dollar of premiums went to spend for healthcare,” Southern Cross’ CEO said. Without us, the market is worth 65 cents (NZ industry average excluding Southern Cross). So, we’re truly there to pay for our members’ health care. That is what distinguishes Southern Cross.”

According to Astwick, the most noteworthy aspect of the Society’s FY22 statistics is that the number of members increased by a record amount.

“A lot of changes have occurred in the way the market views health insurance,” he said. “I believe there are three things going on in the market. The first is that the labor market is tight, therefore firms are investing heavily in employee perks, with health insurance being one of the greatest. So there has undoubtedly been a shift. Last year, 209 new organizations joined us, more than any prior year.

“Second, with good cause, health has been on everyone’s attention for the previous two or three years. The third argument is that health care is essential. More of our clients are maintaining their health insurance for extended periods of time because they want to be certain. So, these three events are taking place in the market.”

READ NEXT  Swiss Re's Cio Retires After 25 Years

The number of members of the Society is at 908,176, which is the largest since 1992.

“Our ‘Better ’22’ campaign has also helped with that, particularly for young people,” Astwick added. “Our members received free virtual GP (general practitioner) visits, mental health consultations with Raise, and flu immunizations regardless of the product they purchased.

“So becoming a member of the Society is worthwhile. Many young individuals aspire to this. They don’t anticipate the need for surgery in the near future, so these initiatives have been really effective in persuading some of the younger members to say, “Yes, I want to continue with Southern Cross.”

In fiscal year 22 (FY22), the health insurance paid out three million claims, including 631,739 visits to a general practitioner (GP) and 520,021 visits to a specialist. This excludes the tourism and pet industries.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *