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4 Jun 2019

Insurance and Care NSW (icare) says rising medical costs will be a key focus as an auditor's report for the state’s workers' compensation scheme shows a significant increase in payments to private hospital services.

The payments per active claim for the first 12 months of an accident increased to $5000 in September compared to $3000 four years earlier, data from the Finity Quarterly Monitoring report shows. Smaller rises were reported for surgical operations, anaesthesia and public hospitals.

Workers' compensation nominal insurer (NI) arrangements covered in the report are managed by icare, which has published insights from the actuarial data on its webs...

3 Jun 2019

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) is engaging with insurers and reinsurers to better understand premium changes in high-risk areas such as Wellington.

The changes are expected to make prices materially higher for a small proportion of customers, but precise effects are uncertain given limited information on reinsurance costs and insurers’ strategies, the central bank says in its Financial Stability Report.

“We are working with industry to understand the impacts this will have on insurance provision more broadly, but for now insurance appears to be available for all but the riskiest properties,” Governor Adrian Orr said.

Risk-based pricing leads to a...

28 May 2019

Allianz has axed three major commercial insurance lines from its New Zealand operations after a strategic review.

The insurer will exit property, commercial motor & fleet, and public & product liability – all currently underwritten and distributed by the Allianz Broker & Agency division.

New business will not be accepted after May 31, while renewals will be offered until July 12.

Allianz says it is not leaving the New Zealand market altogether, with the affected broker and agency business outweighed by “a range of commercial and corporate insurance products” remaining.

Allianz Broker & Agency has a small market share – believed to be less than 1% a...

27 May 2019

The industry’s underwriting profit fell 32.4% to $2.8 billion in the year to March 31 as earnings took a severe hit from the Townsville floods and Sydney hailstorm, latest Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) figures show.

A strengthening of claims reserves in professional indemnity and mortgage classes hurt insurers too, the regulator says.

After-tax profit fell 4.7% to $3.6 billion and the net loss ratio deteriorated 5 percentage points to 67%.

While insurers achieved a 6.1% rise in gross earned premium to $48 billion, gross incurred claims recorded a much bigger increase of 24.1% to $36.9 billion.

Investment income grew 42.2% to $3.1 billio...

26 May 2019

More customers are comparing providers before renewing their insurance policies, but fewer are deciding to switch after looking at the alternatives, according to Roy Morgan Research.

In the past year, 9.4 million general insurance policies, or 19%, were considered for change, up from 8.3 million five years ago. But the number of policies actually changed to a different insurer was only 2.1 million, down from 2.7 million five years ago.

“It appears more people are looking around at renewal time but fewer are actually switching,” Roy Morgan spokesman Norman Morris told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

The latest quarterly update of Roy Morgan’s General Insurance Curre...

22 May 2019

A London-based JLT Re broker has been sacked after a lineslip facility insuring Australian policyholders was exposed as a sham.

The incident is said to impact “a significant book of business”, and has led to crisis talks and a hastily arranged trip to London by a delegation of senior Australian insurance executives.

Sources associated with the matter have confirmed details to insuranceNEWS.com.au, but as the issue could yet be subject to legal action those directly affected in Australia have declined to comment.

insuranceNEWS.com.au understands that Perth-based Core Underwriting, acting as a wholesale broker, placed business for several clients in the Llo...

9 May 2019

Taxes will account for more than 50% of the cost of NSW home and contents policies from July, as sharp increases to the state’s Emergency Services Levy (ESL) kick in.

As revealed by insuranceNEWS.com.au earlier this year, the levy is rising by about 15% to improve firefighter access to workers’ compensation.

It continues to be funded primarily through insurance premiums, after the Berejiklian Government dropped a planned switch to a property-based council charge in 2017.

Is it time to remove state-based taxes from insurance? Post a comment at the bottom of this article.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says the “unfortunate” levy increase will shor...

8 May 2019

Formal forums should be held so brokers and underwriting agencies can better understand each other’s needs as the local market hardens, a Victorian broker says.

Damian Petruccelli, account manager at Melbourne suburban brokerage Arrowsmith & Petruccelli, says brokers are often in the dark about agencies’ appetite and access to capacity, and suggests a regular forum to “address issues and create harmony”.

His comments follow Underwriting Agencies Council (UAC) Deputy Chairman and Lion Underwriting MD Kurt Nilsen’s recent online message criticising brokers for the poor standard of submissions and a “scattergun approach”.

Mr Petruccelli says brokers often se...

7 May 2019

Suncorp could consider the potential for a banking division spin-off as the financial services giant examines its current operations and structure.

According to the Australian Financial Review today, the company has undertaken some preliminary work looking at a possible banking spin-off, with investment bank UBS taking an informal role.

A spokeswoman for Suncorp declined to comment when contacted by insuranceNEWS.com.au.

Suncorp has a market capitalisation of $17.6 billion. In the most recent half-year results banking and wealth contributed a net profit of $183 million, while Australian insurance reported earnings of $133 million and New Zealand contribut...

5 May 2019

A “raft of regulatory change” will sweep through financial services following the Hayne royal commission, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) warns.

Reforms will be “game-changing”, but implementing them will be challenging due to a lack of clarity and understanding, CEO Rob Whelan told last night’s ICA Annual Dinner in Sydney.

“In some respects the recommendations are less than clear in their intent,” he said.

“And there are the interaction effects between recommendations, existing law and prospective legislation – not all of which are fully understood.

“Nevertheless we must adapt to these changes and implement in a way that ensures the industry rema...

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