nib New Zealand today announced strong net policyholder growth for the 12 months to 30 June 2019 (FY19) up 7.2% on the previous financial year. Premium revenue also grew by 6.9% to NZ$229.6 million.

The underwriting result was NZ$23.3 million (FY18: NZ$27.4 million) due to increasing claims expense, however the full year result demonstrated ongoing good commercial performance.

In its annual results statement issued to the ASX this morning, nib holdings limited (ASX: NHF) announced solid growth across all business segments and an increase in underlying operating profit of 9.2% to AU$201.8 million (statutory operating profit1 of AU$184.6 million) with earnings per share (statutory) up 11.9% to 32.9 cents per share.

nib New Zealand CEO, Mr Rob Hennin, said the New Zealand result reflected a focus on delivering more value to members which saw claims increase 8.9% for the year.

“We exist to help fund our member’s healthcare needs and while it’s great to see our members using their health cover, we’re doing more than just providing them financial protection and security.

“We continue to make good progress in helping our members make better healthcare decisions, though initiatives like Whitecoat, which allows consumers to go online to search and compare healthcare professionals. In just the past 12 months we’ve seen more than 300,000 Kiwis visit the site which includes about 9,000 healthcare providers,” Mr Hennin said.

“We’re also working hard to reduce what our members pay when they do seek treatment or hospitalisation. Our recently expanded First Choice network guarantees zero out-of-pocket costs when our members are treated by an in-network provider. The network has delivered more than $1 million in claims savings in its first year of operation,” he said.

nib New Zealand Chairman, Mr Tony Ryall, said there was also a bigger role for private health insurance to play in supporting the healthcare needs of all Kiwis in the future.

“We are all are faced with the same challenge – we’re living longer, which is a good thing, but the cost of keeping ourselves healthy while we age is growing rapidly,” Mr Ryall said.

“It’s an inconvenient truth, but the reality is we’re simply running out of working age taxpayers to fund our nation’s more than $16 billion2 annual healthcare costs, with Government footing almost 80% of the bill3. And with Treasury estimates4 showing that by 2036 there will be 2.6 working taxpayers to every retired age person, compared to 5:1 in 2011, our current funding model is just not sustainable.

“Private health insurance is part of the solution to this challenge,” he added.

nib declared a full year dividend of 23.0 cents per share, fully franked (FY18: 20.0 cents per share) which includes a final dividend of 13.0 cents per share.