Asteron Life result celebrates intermediary support alongside strong sustainable management
09 August 2023
Asteron Life, Suncorp New Zealand’s life insurance business has delivered a profit after tax of $50 million, up $35 million on the pcp.
The life insurer saw 25% growth in new business, contributing to in-force premium growth of 6.7% which also benefitted from CPI and age-related premium growth.
Asteron Life’s Executive General Manager, Grant Willis highlighted the support and increasing engagement from independent financial advisers as the key factor in the new business growth. He also called out the solid performance in the insurer’s direct channel (AA Life), and the entire Asteron Life team for strong and sustainable management of the overall business.
Willis says the ongoing focus on ensuring that good customer outcomes are at the centre of all we do is seen in the market leading retention of existing policies and the strong underlying financial performance.
“We value our relationship with advisers and the partnership they have with us in supporting customers through every part of their life Insurance journey, from new business through to claims”
“We were independently rated number 1 this year for adviser relationships and claims management, with our adviser net promotor score (NPS) rising from 44% to 66%. This has contributed to a new business market share increase from 10.5 % -11.3% (March figures).
“I’m proud of the efforts that our people continue to put into ensuring customers are provided the best level of service and support particularly at claims time where, again, we have very high claims acceptance ratios averaging 94%.”
The company’s strong underlying financial result reflects the solid growth across the portfolio, with margin and net experience performance largely consistent with the prior year. The significant lift in overall net profit benefited from a more stable interest rate environment than the prior year, together with the net positive impacts of higher CPI assumptions on policy valuations.
Beyond the financials, Willis says there’s recognition across all Suncorp New Zealand businesses that it has been a difficult year for many customers, with cost-of-living increases putting pressure on personal finances and extreme weather events having significant impacts on many individuals and families.
“After the North Island floods in January and Cyclone Gabrielle in February, we contacted customers we knew had been badly impacted by the weather events to offer them additional support.
Our advocacy teams reached out to provide customer vulnerability support and connections for customers we thought may need extra care, and we encouraged our adviser networks to help customers manage their premium costs, by accessing premium holidays if needed.”
Willis says the insurer is always looking for opportunities to enhance value for customers – an example this year has been the introduction of an enhanced virtual medical and wellbeing service, Asteron Life Connected Care, offering customers free access to medical advice from medical specialists, dieticians and fitness experts.
The service, offered in partnership with Teladoc Health, is available free of charge to all new and existing Asteron Life customers with eligible Disability Insurance, Trauma Cover and Cancer Cover. The service can also be used by the immediate customer’s partner, children, parents, and parents-in-law. It is a tool to encourage customers to understand and prioritise their physical and mental health and wellbeing, and access tangible benefits beyond just a claim situation.
“The benefits are designed to help Asteron customers and their families to live life to the fullest, with a team of medical specialists, dieticians and fitness experts available to create personalised plans to achieve health, fitness, and nutrition goals. Connected Care helps our customers make medical decisions with confidence when they are going through a tough time. This is what is meant by being Supporters for Life.”