At the Southern Cross Health Society (SCHS) Annual General Meeting, the insurer reflected on some of its key statistics for the year, and CEO Nick Astwick said there was “no question” that the Society needed to continue to innovate.
Through FY20, the Society paid 85 cents in claims for every dollar paid in premium and paid 72% of all health claims in New Zealand, despite covering only 62% of the market. It also increased its membership by over 8,000, and returned $50 million to its members as premium rebates due to COVID-19.
Commenting on some of SCHS’s key decisions, Astwick said the $50 million rebate reflected the Society’s “leadership position” within the sector, and said the success of its work-from-home operations allowed it to continue assisting clients throughout a difficult and uncertain time.
“Like every business in New Zealand, we had to think about how we could run our business remotely – and we clearly managed to do that very successfully,” Astwick said.
“We also strongly believe that nobody should be turning an excess profit off the back of this pandemic, and we executed that at the time with our givebacks to our members.”
“We took a leadership position there, despite not having perfectly worked through all of the accounts when we did the givebacks,” he said. “We could see at a high level that that money was better off going back to our members than it was staying with us.”
Astwick said that SCHS will continue to think about improvements to its products over the coming year, and will also maintain a focus on keeping its policies affordable.
“We’re considering exploring a number of options where we think enhancements are possible,” he stated.
“What’s important is treatment when you need it quickly, with the best possible health outcome. We want to challenge the way health services are provided to deliver better value and healthcare to members.
“This is the direction in which we need to go to ensure sustainability of the private health sector and to deliver the best value outcomes for our members.”