TAL and Zurich lead inflows, CommInsure lags: Strategic Insights

Latest figures from research group Strategic Insights show mixed results for the country's largest insurers.

Overall, the life insurance sector grew steadily by 1.7% year-on-year and reached $16.5 billion. However, it was a mixed result for the country's major insurers.

CommInsure experienced the largest decline in customers leaving as the sixth round of the Royal Commission unfolded in September 2018.

Strategic Insights found that only two life insurers posted outflows in individual lump sum premiums: CommInsure (-4.1%) and AMP (-0.7%).

CommInsure said in the Royal Commission round examining life insurance that it misled the Financial Ombudsman Service that was helping resolve a claimant's dispute by deliberately withholding medical information and delaying the process.

CommInsure and the executive general manager of its subsidiary Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Helen Troup accepted it misled FOS in the case of one claimant who suffered from a heart attack.

It also made inappropriate challenges to its jurisdiction and failed to provide information requested that breached FOS' terms of reference, counsel assisting Rowena Orr said.

Meanwhile, other life insurers reported positive inflows. TAL (4.9%), Zurich (3.7%), Suncorp (2%) and BT/Westpac (2%) were the life insurers that recorded the highest inflows of individual lump sum premiums.

After being slammed for its controversial sales tactics at the same round of the Royal Commission, ClearView registered a high 12.4% growth over the period.

For the group insurance segment, MetLife (14.5%) and OnePath (5.7%) recorded well above-average percentage increases in annual inflows, Strategic Insights said.

AIA Australia ($1.9bn), TAL ($1.7bn) and MetLife ($721bn) hold the biggest market share of the group insurance sector.

Strategic Insights provides research on the managed funds, retirement and life insurance market, founded by Simon Solomon in 1988 as Plan For Life.

The group grew from an actuarial consultancy to a research house and in 2010 was acquired by Asset International. In September 2016, Asset International rebranded Strategic Insight.

Read more: Strategic InsightStrategic InsightsCommInsureRoyal CommissionTALMetLifeZurichAIA AustraliaClearViewRowena OrrSimon SolomonSuncorp
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