Which stories packed the biggest punches for 2016?

Which stories packed the biggest punches for 2016? | Insurance Business

Which stories packed the biggest punches for 2016?
There was no question who took home the prize for Insurance Business most read story in 2016 – with one insurer’s misdeeds clearing all other stories by a considerable margin.

The number one spot was taken by challenger brand Youi as it was investigated for ‘dodgy’ sales tactics and defrauding customers on both sides of the Tasman.

Youi has since apologised to customers in Australia and was slapped with a $300,000 fine in New Zealand after an earlier fine from the Insurance Council of New Zealand.

Next on the list was one major insurer parting ways with its Australian CEO as QBE announced a 46% drop in net profit after tax in August.

Tim Plant, former leader of the firm in Australia and New Zealand, left the business and was replaced by Group CFO, Pat Regan, who has since taken the role full-time.

Sticking with QBE, it was a welcome return to the insurance industry for Mike Wilkins, former CEO and managing director of IAG, which rounded out the podium.

Wilkins, who led IAG for more than seven years, announced his return to the Australian industry with a board position at QBE in October.

When a broker and insurer announce a partnership, it is normally headline grabbing news and that was the case when Willis Towers Watson and CGU announced their ground-breaking deal to help start-up firms.

The pair of powerhouses unveiled StartUpCover exclusively to Insurance Business in June as they looked to combine their knowledge to help fledging firms with their insurance needs.

The insurance industry has copped a fair bit of regulatory flack in 2016 and the next most read story found the life industry in its cross hairs.

It was announced in June that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had instituted proceedings in Federal Court against Medibank Private after “engaging in misleading conduct, making false or misleading representations and engaging in unconscionable conduct.”

Another major insurer, this time IAG, took the next spot on our list when it was revealed that the firm would repay $6.8 million to customers who had been overcharged.

The insurer paid $5.7 million to organisations including the NSW Rural Fire Service, St John’s Ambulance and National Park and Wildlife Services after an internal review found a collection error on ESL.

The industry has undergone a spate of mergers and acquisitions over the last two years, both at home and abroad, and an AUB Group purchase made the top 10.

The broker network announced that its equity partner Altius Group had purchased Western Australia-based injury management and psychological service business, PeopleSense in August.

Willis Towers Watson revealed that it had appointed a new regional head for its business in Australasia in September, with Tony Barber replaced by Andrew Boal.

Since then, Barber has joined rival firm JLT but it was his departure from Willis which made our top 10.

The biggest story from the end of 2016 was undoubtedly the deal between Zurich and Cover-More which saw the Swiss firm acquire the travel insurance provider for approximately $741 million.

The deal will make Zurich one of the biggest providers of travel insurance in the world and signals to the insurance market that the M&A spree should continue into 2017.

Rounding out the top 10, was a story of the darker side of insurance as ASIC suspended the license of life and disability insurance adviser Edwards Benefits Advisors.

Read the next edition to find out which stories got you all talking the most…

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