NZ chief on nib’s results: “The numbers tell a story”

CEO says full-year performance points to a strategy that works

NZ chief on nib’s results: “The numbers tell a story”

Life & Health

By Terry Gangcuangco

For the year ended June 30 (FY23), health insurer nib New Zealand posted a pre-tax profit of $30.4 million, of which $1.1 million came from the company’s most recent acquisition, OrbitProtect. Meanwhile life & living business nib nz insurance (formerly Kiwi Insurance), which was snapped up in April 2022, contributed $2.4 million in underwriting result.

For nib NZ chief executive Rob Hennin (pictured), the FY23 figures point to a strategy that works.

Speaking with Insurance Business, Hennin said: “The numbers tell a story, but I think the most important thing about the results is our strategy. And our profitable growth in nib New Zealand – a decade now of really, really strong consistent growth – I think that demonstrates that we are sustainably delivering strong value to our members.

“So, I think the indicators, whether you look at revenue or whether you look at margins, or profits, or member numbers, they’re all indications of whether your strategy is working. And I think the most important thing that you get from yet another good result is that our strategy is working.”

Part of that strategy is M&A (mergers and acquisitions), with the businesses recently added to the enterprise already contributing to nib New Zealand’s bottom line.

“We’ve acquired four businesses in the last decade: Tower Medical, OnePath NZ portfolio, the Kiwi Insurance business, and most recently OrbitProtect,” Hennin noted. “So, the good thing is we’re growing organically, and you see that in the results. But we are always looking for opportunities, whether it be partnerships – and we’ve got some very strong partnerships – or M&A.

“We’re always interested in looking at where we can create solutions that improve our members’ health. We’re interested in organic growth, and we’ve got a very strong track record of that. We are very interested in where we can partner and then also in M&A where it’s appropriate.”

A health insurance company at its core, nib New Zealand has expanded into areas where Hennin said they can offer similar value. OrbitProtect, for instance, specialises in coverage for international students and workers, as well as inbound travellers visiting NZ. The swoop was first announced last November.

Opportunity to innovate and help

As for the life & living proposition, Hennin considers the area “really interesting,” as nib NZ has the opportunity to develop a fully featured product for the adviser channel. As previously reported, the life insurance offering is currently in its original bancassurance product form, with the goal of transitioning into a comprehensive proposition for advisers.

Lifting the lid on the transition, Hennin told Insurance Business: “We are doing well in terms of our development. We still have a very important and successful bancassurance relationship with Kiwibank, and that’s going well.

“We have taken our existing product suite and offering that direct to consumer and through advisers. And, in parallel with that, we’re closely consulting with advisers on the development of a fully featured adviser product.

“We’re not at all resting on our laurels. We’re taking the very successful current product and marketing it through multiple channels, and we’re actively pursuing product development as a strategy.”

In May and June, the company held a roadshow for advisers as part of its foray into the intermediated life & living insurance sector.

“There’s always an opportunity to innovate, and particularly in the adviser space,” Hennin said. “It’s such a large and very successful part of the market, and advice is very, very important.

“So, we look at the current products in market and they’re good, but there are areas where we think we can innovate. And so we’ve been working with a group of very successful advisers. We’ve been taking their input on how we can do that, and I think that’s going to be an exciting process.”

For the CEO, it’s all part of the insurer’s purpose of advancing “your better health and wellbeing” for members amid the broad challenge of getting access to good health solutions.

Hennin told Insurance Business: “Health spend is one of the biggest categories of government spend, and also New Zealanders are putting their hands in their pockets to fund a lot of their own healthcare. Getting access at the right time to the right quality of care is one of the biggest priorities for New Zealand.

“But that also gives us a major opportunity, because our purpose is all about the better health and wellbeing of our members. And so it’s a major opportunity for us to help people get the health outcomes that they want. The way I look at it is here’s an opportunity. Insurance is part of the solution.

“What we are doing is we’re helping our members connect into a wide ecosystem of relevant high-quality products and services. So, the financial services products are absolutely part of the solution, but it’s also what we do with our health management programmes. It’s also what we do with our partnerships. And it’s also what we’re doing in terms of expanding our product range.”

The chief executive believes “there’s a lot of opportunities ahead of us” that are centred around nib New Zealand’s purpose.

In FY23, the insurer’s underwriting result grew to $36.1 million while policyholder growth across its businesses stood at 3.2%.

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