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Nib NZ's earnings +3.8% as it focuses on innovation but NZ, Aus outlook muted

Monday 20th August 2018

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Nib Holdings New Zealand reported a 3.8 percent lift in earnings as it stepped up its focus on innovation and customer experience but the outlook for both New Zealand and Australia was guarded. 

The ASX-listed company said underlying operating profit in New Zealand rose to $27.4 million in the year to June 30 from $26.4 million in the prior year. It increased its number of policyholders by 2.8 percent to 102,696, while its premium revenues were up 1.9 percent to $214.9 million. Claims, meanwhile, were down 3.1 percent to $117.2 million.  

Nib New Zealand is part of one of Australia's largest health insurers - Nib Holdings -  which today reported a 20 percent gain in underlying annual operating profit to A$184.8 million. Its net profit was up 11 percent to A$133.5 million. 

According to Nib Holdings, "more than ever communities across Australia and New Zealand need private health insurance in order to cope with burgeoning healthcare spending and already stressed public systems." 

Despite this, market conditions in both Australia and New Zealand "continue to be difficult with modest growth prospects" and that is due to macroeconomic factors including affordability and negligible growth in discretionary spending, it said. 

Nib NZ chief executive Rob Hennin said the annual result reflects an effort to enhance member experience and focus on service and product innovation. 

"We've made greater progress over the past year or so with initiatives like our First Choice Network to reduce member co-payments for hospital medical treatment and the launch of Whitecoat to help people search, rate, review and compare local healthcare providers," he said.  The Whitecoat service has around 10,000 participating healthcare providers. 

It has also recently launched a product range specifically tailored for millennials, new families and migrant families, which also includes offering bilingual services to members. 

According to Hennin, the company has more in the pipeline to help people make informed choices and improve their outcomes. 

Nib's ASX-listed shares last traded at A$6.59. 

(BusinessDesk)

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