nib New Zealand today announced an improved operating performance for the 12 months to 30 June 2020 (FY20) lifting membership, revenue and earnings.

nib New Zealand premium revenue grew 10.2% to NZ$253.1 million while underwriting result[1] was NZ$25.9 million, up 11.2%. The FY20 underwriting result includes a NZ$9.0 million COVID-19 deferred claims provision for an expected claims catch-up in healthcare treatment deferred during the peak of the COVID-19 that is expected to occur in FY21.

nib New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Rob Hennin, said nib performed well in FY20, reporting good financial results alongside its strong focus on supporting members and the community throughout COVID-19.

“Helping our Kiwi members stay safe and healthy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been a priority, which is why we moved quickly to implement an extensive support package,” Mr Hennin said.

“To date, we’ve provided more than 2,000 Kiwis members with access to financial hardship support, including premium relief and suspension options, postponed premium increases for over 50,000 members and extended coverage for COVID-19 related treatment across all levels of hospital cover, at no extra cost.

“In addition, we expanded cover for consultations with GPs and specialists through telehealth, ensuring members could continue to see their medical practitioner during severe lockdown restrictions. We also extended treatment pre-approval from three to six months, meaning over 1,000 members did not have to reapply for surgery approval if they experienced delays in accessing hospital treatment.

“Further, we made a $1 million donation, together with nib foundation, to Lifeline Aotearoa and Clearhead, helping support our communities and the ongoing mental health needs of New Zealanders,” he said.

Mr Hennin added the pandemic appeared to have heightened consumer awareness of the importance of health.

“In the face of almost unheralded economic headwinds, we’ve seen very strong net policyholder growth of 7.4% during FY20. This reflects the sound investment we’re making to grow our membership particularly the corporate group and whitelabel channel, which includes leading brand, the New Zealand Automobile Association,” Mr Hennin said.

nib New Zealand Chairman, Tony Ryall said that the FY20 result showed good earnings momentum, with the business looking to further benefit from the capability of the nib Group.

“We do see opportunity to play a more active role in the better health of our members and help manage the risk of disease as well as reduce healthcare costs,” Mr Ryall said.

“One of the more exciting initiatives is a joint venture recently established by our parent entity, nib Group and large US-based healthcare company Cigna, to form Honeysuckle Health. Through the creation of Honeysuckle Health, our New Zealand members can look forward to a future in which health related behaviour and choices are more reliably informed by personalised data science and insight, leading to better health outcomes.

“Through these initiatives we’re looking to shift from being a ‘healthcare payer’ to ‘healthcare partner’, with the opportunity for nib to play an expanded role in our nation’s healthcare,” he added.