Southern Cross news

Everything you need to know about the Southern Cross group

Statistics (year to June 2018)

Health Insurance:

  • 867,593 members
  • $987.8 million premium income
  • 62% of New Zealand’s health insurance market
  • 3.4 million claims paid

Private hospitals:

  • 78,000 patients
  • 20 facilities (10 wholly owned, 10 joint ventures)

Travel Insurance:

  • 320,000 policies sold
  • 41,000 claims

Pet Insurance

  • 27,000 pets covered

About Southern Cross
Southern Cross Health Society was established in 1961, when it introduced health insurance to the New Zealand market and “laid the foundations for one of New Zealand’s most enduring, best known and trusted brands.” While New Zealand has a public healthcare system, Southern Cross Health Society was founded on the belief that New Zealanders should have ongoing access to private healthcare options.

Almost 60 years down the line, the Southern Cross group has a number of health and financial services brands under its umbrella. The group plays “a unique and significant role” in the New Zealand health sector given its range of products and services, its experience in the market and its not-for-profit focus.

Southern Cross encompasses a number of businesses under its brand, which include life, health, travel and pet insurance categories, as well as private hospitals.

Southern Cross Health Society
New Zealand’s largest health insurance provider. There are seven key plans, ranging from a basic day-to-day plan covering GP consultations, dentist visits and other specialist health services, to its ‘UltraCare’ plan covering unlimited surgical procedures, diagnostic imaging and other tests, including cancer care.

Southern Cross Health Society paid out a total of $906.6 million in claims in 2018, with CEO Nick Astwick commenting that it was seeing “excellent growth” in membership and its premium pool. Southern Cross group Chairman Greg Gent noted that the Health Society returned 92 cents in claims for every dollar received in premiums, while the average return rate among other health insurers was 65 cents to the dollar, with some returning approximately 59 cents.

“A key indicator [of performance] has been the outstanding value for money delivered by your Society in the last financial year,” Gent stated in the annual report. “If we applied a 59 cents rate of return to your premium pool, you would have received $320 million dollars less than the $906.6 million your Society returned in claims.

“It’s easy to see, then, how the Society paid for 74% of all health insurance claims costs by value in New Zealand, despite Health Society members representing only 62% of health insurance policyholders in the country.”

Southern Cross Hospitals
A private elective surgery provider with 20 wholly-owned and joint venture facilities across New Zealand, with around 1,000 surgeons and anaesthetists. The organisation does not employ the medical specialists directly but works with independent doctors to complete a credentialing process.

Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI)
Established in 1982 and with over 35 years’ experience as a specialist travel insurer. It is a separate legal entity to the Southern Cross Health Society and is owned by Southern Cross Benefits, which is owned by the Southern Cross Health Trust. SCTI has a team of experts sitting in its Auckland office and offers customers a 24/7 emergency phone line, which customers can call internationally if any travel issues arise. It distributes its travel insurance directly to customers, and also sells its Working Overseas, International Student and Visiting New Zealand products via its website and through its broker network.

Southern Cross Pet Insurance
A provider offering insurance options for cats and dogs. Customers choose between two plans; PetCare, which provides comprehensive cover for sickness, accidental injury, vaccinations and check-ups, and AcciPet, which only covers accidental injuries.

Southern Cross Life Insurance
Launched in 2016, it offers premiums starting at $13 per month and can provide cover of up to $1 million. The insurer can also provide early payouts for terminal illness, and can increase cover by up to 25% for life events such as marriage, a baby or a mortgage.

Not-for-profit activities
Southern Cross Health Trust is a charitable trust aiming to make healthcare more accessible to more New Zealanders. The Trust’s activities include providing hospital facilities, staff and medical supplies for charitable surgeries, and it also provides funding for a number of initiatives including:

  • Revive a Smile, a mobile dental clinic offering free services to disadvantaged adults
  • Sweet Louise, a charity offering free support to New Zealanders with secondary breast cancer
  • Smile NZ Free Dental Day, a New Zealand Dental Association initiative offering dental care to low-income adults
  • Dove Hospice’s Restoring Wellness course, which offers treatment to survivors of life-threatening illnesses
  • Auckland City Mission, which offers primary healthcare to high-needs patients in Auckland.